English people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Total population Unknown
Regions with significant populations United Kingdom:[1]

United States:[2]
New Zealand:[5]
South Africa:[6]

Language English
Religion Anglicanism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and other minority faiths. Increasingly secularised (particularly in England) since the 20th century, with many English claiming no religion.

The English are an ethnic group and nation primarily associated with England and the English language. They are native to the country of England. The largest single population of English people reside in England, the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom.[8]


[edit] Origins

Further information: Anglo Saxons, Ancient Britons, Romano-Britons, Vikings, Danelaw, Normans, Sub-Roman Britain, Immigration to the United Kingdom (until 1922)

The English as an ethnic group trace their heritage largely to the Anglo-Saxons[9], the Romano-Britons [10], the Danish-Vikings[11] that formed the Danelaw during the time of Alfred the Great, and the Normans.[12][13] The name of England derives from the Angles. Anglo-Saxon is a collective term usually used to describe the culturally, ethnically and linguistically similar peoples living in the south and east of the island of Great Britain (modern England) from around the mid-5th century AD to the Norman conquest of 1066.[14] It was once generally believed that a mass invasion by various Anglo-Saxon tribes largely displaced the native British populations.[15]

Some archaeologists however see only limited evidence of immigration "in the record". Francis Pryor writes,

I also can't see any evidence for bona fide mass migrations after the Neolithic.
— Francis Pryor, [16]

Germanic immigrants and Roman auxiliary troops may have settled in Britain long before the departure of the legions; indeed German auxiliary troops may even have been involved in the Roman invasion of the island in the 1st century A.D.[17] This same process occurred in many other provinces along the Roman border with the Germani. There is no reason to assume that the process of immigration was any different to other Roman provinces, in which case there may have been a Germanic influence on indigenous culture and language long before Roman legionaries left the island.[17]

Archeological discoveries suggest that North Africans may have had a very limited presence in those parts of Britain that were to become England at the time of the Roman Empire.[18][19]

[edit] Danish - Viking influence

Further information: Danelaw, Treaty of Wedmore, Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum

By the time of the first Viking attacks around 800 CE, the numerous petty kingdoms in south and east Britain had coalesced into what is commonly referred to as the Heptarchy. The most powerful of these at this time were Mercia and Wessex. The increasing pressure of Viking attack led to more cooperation between Wessex and Mercia; most notably, this period saw the rise of Alfred the Great, the only English born King of England to be titled 'the great'.

Alfred defeated a Danish army at the Battle of Edington in 878, coming to terms with the Danish leader Guthrum. After the Battle of Edington, Alfred negotiated the Danelaw with the Danes, resulting in a settlement of Danish-Vikings in northern and eastern England.[20] The influence on the English language by Danes, particularly in the former Danelaw, is most pronounced in places like York, formerly the settlement of Jorvik, although Jorvik is derived from the Old English Eoforwīcthe and in turn possibly from the Brythonic name Eborakon which was a settlement long before the Danes.[21] These groups had a noticeable impact on the English language; for example, the modern meaning of the word dream is of Old Norse origin.[22] Additionally place names that include thwaite and by are Scandinavian in origin.[23]

Southern Great Britain in AD 600 after the Saxon invasion
Southern Great Britain in AD 600 after the Saxon invasion

[edit] Unifying into a people

Following Alfred's victory, his son Edward the Elder, daughter Æthelflæd lady of the Mercians and grandson Athelstan gained significant military success, incorporating much of the Danelaw into the nascent kingdom of England. The nation of England was initially formed in 937 by Athelstan of Wessex after the Battle of Brunanburh.[24][25] Therefore Wessex had grown from a relatively small kingdom in the South West to become the founder of the Kingdom of the English, incorporating all Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and the Danelaw.[26] Over the following century and a half England was for the most part a politically unified entity, and remained permanently so after 959. There were both English and Danish kings during this period, including Aethelraed Unraed (sometimes referred to as Ethelred the Unready) and Canute the Great.

The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought Anglo-Saxon and Danish rule to an end, and began a diminished period, both culturally and socially, for the native inhabitants. The new Norman elite almost universally replaced the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and church leaders. The Anglo-Saxons existed as a subject class for about 300 years with the aristocracy speaking Anglo-Norman until a full assimilation was made by the time of Chaucer, in the late 1300s. By this time a large number of French words had been added to the English language. Although few Normans actually settled in England, they made great impacts on the culture, government, and law of England.[26] However, most of the English nobility and upper classes are descended from the Normans.

[edit] Recent contributions

Further information: Immigration to the United Kingdom

Since Oliver Cromwell's resettlement of the Jews in 1656, there has been a small but continuous Jewish community in England, which has produced many notable people, including the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.[27]

Irish immigration has also added a significant contribution to the English populace over the past few centuries due to sustained and sometimes mass exodus emigration from Ireland. Current estimates place around 6 million people in the UK with at least one grandparent born in the Irish Republic.[28] Liverpool, Manchester, and London are cities with significant Irish elements present.

There had also been a very small black presence in England since at least the 16th century, due to the slave trade and an Indian presence since the mid 19th century because of the British Raj.[29] Since 1945, this proportion has grown, as immigration from the British Empire and subsequent Commonwealth of Nations was encouraged due to labour shortages during post-war rebuilding.[30]

Today England as a nation is home to a wide variety of ethnic minority communities. A recent survey by the Sun newspaper claimed to have found at least one native of every recognised country in the world, barring the Federated States of Micronesia, who was resident in the UK.[citation needed]

[edit] Geographic distribution

Map showing the population density of United States citizens who claim some English ancestry in the census. Dark red and brown colours indicate a higher density: highest in the northeast as well as Utah and surrounding areas. (see also Maps of American ancestries).
Map showing the population density of United States citizens who claim some English ancestry in the census. Dark red and brown colours indicate a higher density: highest in the northeast as well as Utah and surrounding areas. (see also Maps of American ancestries).
Further information: English Americans,  English-Canadian,  Anglo-African, and Anglo-Australian

English emigrant and descent communities are found across the world, and in some places, settled in significant numbers. Countries with significant numbers of people of English ancestry or ethnic origin/ethnicity include the United States (particularly Utah, New England, New York, California, Virginia and the Southern States), Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. They were classified as a Narodnosti in the First All Union Census of the Soviet Union in 1926.

[edit] Culture

[edit] Contribution to humanity

Further information: List of English people and List of English Americans

The English have played a significant role in the development of the arts and sciences. Prominent individuals have included the scientists and inventors Isaac Newton, Francis Crick, Abraham Darby, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin and Frank Whittle; the poet and playwright William Shakespeare, the novelists Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and George Orwell , the composers Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten, and the explorer James Cook (for a complete list of famous English people see List of English people). English philosophers include Francis Bacon, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Paine, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell.

English common law has also formed a foundation for legal systems throughout the world.[31]

The rules for many modern sports including Football, Rugby, Cricket and Tennis were first formulated in England.

[edit] Language

Further information: English language, English English and British English

English people traditionally speak the English language, a member of the West Germanic language family. The modern English language evolved from Old English, with lexical influence from Norman-French, Latin, and Old Norse. In addition, Welsh is also used by a number of speakers across England, predominantly on the border with Wales and in the London Area.[32] A third language traditionally spoken is Cornish, a Celtic language originating in Cornwall, currently spoken by about 3,500 people. A fourth language also of the Brythonic Celtic group, Cumbric, used to be spoken in Cumbria in northwest England, but it died out in the 11th century although traces of it can still be found in the Cumbrian dialect. Because of the 19th century geopolitical dominance of the British Empire and the post-World War II hegemony of the United States, English has become the international language of business, science, communications, aviation, and diplomacy. English is the native language of roughly 350 million people worldwide, with another 150 million to 1.5 billion people who speak it as a second language.[citation needed]

[edit] Religion

Further information: Religion in the United Kingdom, Medieval Religion in England, Church of England, Anglicanism and English Reformation

Ever since the break with the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, the English have predominantly been members of the Church of England, a branch of the Anglican Communion, a form of Christianity with elements of Protestantism and Catholicism. The Book of Common Prayer is the foundational prayer book of the Church of England and replaced the various Latin rites of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perhaps the moment when the Protestant identity of England began to be questioned most radically was during the ritualist controversies of the nineteenth century[citation needed]. Today, most English people practising organized religion are affiliated to the Church of England or other Christian denominations such as Roman Catholicism and Methodism (itself originally a movement within the Anglican Church). In the 2001 Census, a little over 37 million people in England and Wales professed themselves to be Christian. Jewish immigration since the seventeenth century means that there is an integrated Jewish English population, mainly in urban areas. 252,000 Jews were recorded in England & Wales in the 2001 Census; however this represents a decline of about 50% over the previous 50 years, caused by emigration and intermarriage,[citation needed] and the long-term future of the community is a matter of some concern to community leaders.[citation needed] The gradual integration of migrants from India and Pakistan since the 1950s means that a large number in England practise Islam (818,000), Hinduism (467,000), or Sikhism (301,000). Islam has also been important for Arabic speaking, North African migrants. The 2001 census also revealed that about seven million people, or 15% of the population of England, claim no religion.

Many of the Englishmen who settled in the United States were Puritans, a group that was dissatisfied with the Church of England. Most ultimately joined new churches; today, the Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist and Unitarian denominations include large numbers of people of English ancestry. The American Episcopal Church, a member of the worldwide Anglican communion, counts about 2.5 million members.

[edit] Sports

There are many sports codified by the English, which then spread worldwide due to trading and the British Empire, including football, cricket, croquet, badminton, rugby union, rugby league, table tennis and lawn tennis.

England, like the other nations of the United Kingdom, competes as a separate nation in some international sporting events. The English football, cricket (the England Cricket team represents England and Wales)[33] and rugby union teams have contributed to an increasing sense of English identity. Supporters are more likely to carry the St George's Cross whereas twenty years ago the British Union Jack would have been the more prominent.[34]

[edit] Symbols

Saint George's Cross, the English flag.
Saint George's Cross, the English flag.

The English flag is a red cross on a white background, commonly called the Saint George's Cross, it was adopted after the Crusades. Saint George, famed as a dragon-slayer, is also the patron saint of England. The three golden lions or leopards on a red background was the banner of the kings of England derived from their status as Duke of Normandy and is now used to represent the English national football team and the English national cricket team. The Tudor rose and the English oak are also English symbols.

England has no official anthem; however, the United Kingdom's "God Save The Queen" is widely regarded as England's unofficial national anthem. However, other songs are sometimes used, including "Land of Hope and Glory" (used as England's anthem in the Commonwealth Games), "Jerusalem", "Rule, Britannia", and "I Vow to Thee, My Country." Of these, only Jerusalem specifically mentions England.

[edit] Identity

Wales was annexed by England by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542, which incorporated Wales into the English state. In 1707 England formed a union with Scotland by the passage of the Acts of Union 1707 in both the Scottish and English parliaments, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. This was replaced again by the Act of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland left the United Kingdom in 1922 to form the Irish Free State, and the remainder became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[35] A new British identity began and was subsequently developed when James I expressed the desire to be known as the monarch of Britain (he was James I of England and James VI of Scotland).[36] The English, along with the other peoples of the Britain found their old identities succeeded in favour of a new British identity.[37]

The late 1990s saw the beginning of a gradual renaissance of English national identity, spurred by devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some English people now question what it is to be English and its relationship with being British, and are calling for the creation of a devolved English Parliament, claiming that there is now a discriminative democratic deficit, known as the West Lothian question, against people living in England.[38]

[edit] References

  1. ^ The CIA World Factbook reports that in the 2001 UK census 92.1% of the UK population were in the White ethnic group, and that 83.6% of this group are in the English ethnic group. The UK Office for National Statistics reports a total population in the UK census of 58,789,194. A quick calculation shows this is equivalent to 45,265,093 people in the English ethnic group. However, this number may not represent a self-defined ethnic group and these data do not take into account people of mixed heritage who may be classified as non-white but would also identify as ethnically English. The number who described their ethnic group as English in the 2001 UK census has not been published by the Office for National Statistics.
  2. ^ The 2000 US census shows 24,515,138 people claiming English ancestry. This figure may be an underestimate of the number of people with English ancestry as some people of English descent may not identify with being English or not have chosen this ancestry in the census. Conversely, ancestry and ethnicity may not necessarily be synonymous concepts in some responses and for some claiming English ancestry, it may not necessarily indicate an English ethnic identity or origin. Furthermore, although under-reported, English may actually be the most common ancestry in the United States. According to the 1980 census (the first year that the census asked about ethnicity), English ancestry was the most common ancestry with 50.6 million Americans claiming English ancestry to be their dominant ancestry. The reason why the number of people claiming English ancestry has dwindled to half its number is subject to interpretation. The US census also contains a separate option of 'British' ancestry. According to EuroAmericans.net the greatest population with English origins in a single state was 2,521,355 in California, and the highest percentage was 29.0% in Utah. In addition, millions in the South claimed "American" ancestry, which may actually indicate ethnic English origin given predominantly Anglo-Celtic settlement in that area. The American Community Survey 2004 by the US Census Bureau estimates 28,410,295 people claiming some English origin.
  3. ^ The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports 6,358,880 people of English ancestry in the 2001 Census.[1].
  4. ^ 2001 Canadian Census gives 1,479,520 respondents stating their ethnic origin as English as a single response, and 4,499,355 including multiple responses, giving a combined total of 5,978,875. Many respondents may have misunderstood the question and the numerous responses for "Canadian" does not give an accurate figure for numerous groups, particularly those of British Isles origins.
  5. ^ The 2001 New Zealand census reports 34,074 people stating they belong to the English ethnic group. The 1996 census used a different question to both the 1991 and the 2001 censuses, which had "a tendency for respondents to answer the 1996 question on the basis of ancestry (or descent) rather than 'ethnicity' (or cultural affiliation)" and reported 281,895 people with English origins.
  6. ^ see Anglo-African
  7. ^ Articles in The Guardian and from the BBC about British migration to Spain. Many of these people must be English. [2][3]
  8. ^ Definition of England from thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 14 July 2006.
  9. ^ Anglo-Saxon Origins: The Reality of the Myth by Malcolm Todd. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  10. ^ Roman Britons after 410 by Martin Henig: British Archaeology Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  11. ^ Legacy of the Vikings By Elaine Treharne, BBC History. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  12. ^ What Did the Normans Do for Us? By Dr John Hudson, BBC History. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  13. ^ The Adventure of the English, Melvyn Bragg, 2003. Pg 21
  14. ^ Anglo-Saxon Origins: The Reality of the Myth by Malcolm Todd. Retrieved 01 October 2006.
  15. ^ A Y Chromosome Census of the British Isles; Cristian Capelli, Nicola Redhead, Julia K. Abernethy, Fiona Gratrix, James F. Wilson, Torolf Moen, Tor Hervig, Martin Richards, Michael P. H. Stumpf, Peter A. Underhill, Paul Bradshaw, Alom Shaha, Mark G. Thomas, Neal Bradman, and David B. Goldstein Current Biology, Volume 13, Issue 11, Pages 979-984 (2003). Retrieved 6 December 2005.
  16. ^ Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans by Francis Pryor, p. 122. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-00-712693-X.
  17. ^ a b Britain and the Rhine provinces: epigraphic evidence for Roman trade by Mark Hassall. Retrieved 01 October 2006.
  18. ^ The Black Romans: BBC culture website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
  19. ^ The archaeology of black Britain: Channel 4 history website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
  20. ^ The Age of Athelstan by Paul Hill (2004), Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2566-8
  21. ^ COLONIA (AVRELIA?) EBORACENSIVM / EBVRACVM: roman-britain.org website. Retrieved 10 July 2006.
  22. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary by Douglas Harper (2001), List of sources used. Retrieved 10 July 2006.
  23. ^ The Adventure of English, Melvyn Bragg, 2003. Pg 22
  24. ^ Athelstan (c.895 - 939): Historic Figures: BBC - History. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  25. ^ The Battle of Brunanburh, 937AD by h2g2, BBC website. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  26. ^ a b A. L. Rowse, The Story of Britain, Artus 1979 ISBN 0-297-83311-1
  27. ^ EJP looks back on 350 years of history of Jews in the UK: European Jewish Press. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
  28. ^ More Britons applying for Irish passports by Owen Bowcott The Guardian, 13 September 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2006.
  29. ^ Black Presence, Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850: UK government website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
  30. ^ Postwar immigration The National Archives "When the Second World War ended in 1945, it was quickly recognised that the reconstruction of the British economy required a large influx of immigrant labour." Accessed October 2006
  31. '^ Common Law by Daniel K. Benjamin, A World Connected website. Retrieved 16 September 2006.
  32. ^ http://www.omniglot.com/writing/welsh.htm
  33. ^ England Cricket Team Profile ICC World Cup 2007 website. Retrieved 13 September 2006.
  34. ^ Daily Mirror newspaper (UK) , article by Billy Bragg, 17 September, 2005 - Accessed November 2006. "Watching the crowd in Trafalgar Square celebrating the Ashes win, I couldn't help but be amazed at how quickly the flag of St George has replaced the Union Jack in the affections of England fans. A generation ago, England games looked a lot like Last Night of the Proms, with the red, white and blue firmly to the fore. Now, it seems, the English have begun to remember who they are."
  35. ^ Liberation of Ireland: Ireland on the Net Website. Retrieved 23 June 2006.
  36. ^ A History of Britain: The British Wars 1603-1776 by Simon Schama, BBC Worldwide. ISBN 0-563-53747-7.
  37. ^ The English, Jeremy Paxman 1998
  38. ^ An English Parliament...: Campaign for an English Parliament Website. Retrieved 26 June 2006.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links