Settlers in Britain
The Romans invaded Britain in AD43. After that, for 400 years southern Britain was part of the Roman world. The last Roman soldiers left Britain in AD 410, and then new people came in ships across the North Sea. Historians call them Anglo-Saxons. The new settlers were a mixture of people from north Germany, Denmark and northern Holland. Most were Saxons, Angles and Jutes. There were some Franks and Frisians too. If we use the modern names for the countries they came from, the Saxons, Franks and Frisians were German-Dutch, the Angles were southern Danish, and Jutes were northern Danish.
Outside Roman rule
Roman Britain or 'Britannia' was part of the Roman Empire. It had Roman roads and Roman cities. Yet only southern Britain accepted Roman ways. The Picts and Scots, who lived north of Hadrian's Wall, remained outside the Roman world.
The tribes of Germany and Scandinavia, such as the Saxons and Angles, were also outside the Roman Empire. The Romans called them 'barbarians'. Some tribes fought the Romans. Other tribes were happy to trade with the Romans, and some of their men joined the Roman army.
How the Anglo-Saxons lived
In their own lands, most Anglo-Saxons were farmers. They lived in family groups in villages, not cities. Since they lived close to the sea and big rivers, many Anglo-Saxons were sailors too. They built wooden ships with oars and sails, for trade and to settle in new lands. Raiders in ships attacked Roman Britain.
Most people in Roman Britain were Christians. Most Anglo-Saxons were not Christians. They worshipped lots of gods and goddesses. Their beliefs were similar to those of the Celts, who lived in Britain before the Romans invaded.
The Romans leave
In the AD400s, towards the end of Roman rule, Britain was being attacked by invaders from the north and from the sea. The Romans had built forts along the coast to fight off the sea-raiders. These forts were called the 'Forts of the Saxon Shore'.
The Roman Empire was very large and under attack in lots of places, so the Roman Army was not able to defend it all. About AD410, the Roman emperor ordered the last Roman soldiers in Britain to leave. The Britons would have to defend themselves as best they could.
Hengist and Horsa
Without Roman soldiers to defend them, the Britons were in danger from raids, so some British leaders paid Anglo-Saxons to fight for them. A history book called the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' describes how in AD449 two Jutes named Hengist and Horsa were invited to Britain by a British king called Vortigern. He paid them and their men to fight the Picts. Instead, the Jutes turned on Vortigern and seized his kingdom. Hengist's son Aesc became king of Kent. No one knows if this is a true story, but it may show how some of the newcomers settled in Britain.