Learn more about English people
|Total population||110 - 120 million|
|Regions with significant populations|| United Kingdom:<ref>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, these data do not take into account non-white people who 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.</ref>|
United States:<ref>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 consider themselves ethnically English. Conversely ancestry and ethnicity are not necessarily synonymous concepts and claiming English ancestry does not necessarily indicate an English ethnic identity. Furthermore, although underreported, 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. The American Community Survey 2004 by the US Census Bureau estimates 28,410,295 people claiming some English origin.</ref>
|Religion|| Christianity.<ref name="census2001">These religions are for England from the 2001 Census from the Office for National Statistics. It is based on numbers of UK citizens or nationals in England only, regardless of ethnic or cultural affiliation. Retrieved 23 August 2006</ref>|
No Religion.<ref name="census2001"/>
Judaism.<ref>The history of the Jews of Britain from European Jewish Press. It is assumede that many Jews living in England identify as English. Examples of English Jews include Herbert Samuel and Rosalind Franklin. Retrieved 25 August 2006.</ref>
The English are an ethnic group or nation primarily associated with England and the English language. The largest single population of English people reside in England, the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom.<ref>Definition of England from thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 14 July 2006.</ref><ref>England Country Guide - Overview from World Travel Guide. Retrieved 14 July 2006.</ref>
- Further information: Anglo Saxons, Ancient Britons, Romano-Britons, Vikings, Danelaw, Normans, Sub-Roman Britain, Immigration to the United Kingdom
The English as an ethnic group trace their heritage to the Romano-Britons,<ref>Roman Britons after 410 by Martin Henig: British Archaeology Retrieved 22 October 2006.</ref> Anglo-Saxons,<ref>Anglo-Saxon Origins: The Reality of the Myth by Malcolm Todd. Retrieved 22 October 2006.</ref> the Danish-Vikings<ref>Legacy of the Vikings By Elaine Treharne, BBC History. Retrieved 22 October 2006.</ref> that formed the Danelaw during the time of Alfred the Great and the Normans.<ref>What Did the Normans Do for Us? By Dr John Hudson, BBC History. Retrieved 22 October 2006.</ref><ref>The Adventure of the English, Melvyn Bragg, 2003. Pg 21</ref> The name of England derives from the Angles.
It was once believed that a mass invasion by various Anglo-Saxon tribes displaced the native Romano-British populations.<ref name="y-census"> 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.</ref> It is now thought that the situation was far more complex. Some archaeologists also 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.<ref> Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans by Francis Pryor, p. 122. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-00-712693-X.</ref>
Anglo-Saxon is a collective term applied to the ethnically similar, but not homogeneous Germanic speaking peoples of the island of Great Britain, regardless of their exact tribal or ethnic heritage.<ref>Anglo-Saxon Origins: The Reality of the Myth by Malcolm Todd. Retrieved 01 October 2006.</ref>
Germanic immigrants and 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.<ref name="germanromans"/>. 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.<ref name="germanromans">Britain and the Rhine provinces: epigraphic evidence for Roman trade by Mark Hassall. Retrieved 01 Oct 2006.</ref>
Archeological discoveries suggest that North Africans may have had a limited presence in those parts of Britain that were to become England at the time of the Roman Empire.<ref>The Black Romans: BBC culture website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.</ref><ref>The archaeology of black Britain: Channel 4 history website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.</ref>
The preponderance of the R1b haplotype on the Y chromosomes of English men (about 70%) indicates that they are descended primarily from the earliest paleolithic peoples thought to have recolonised western Europe after the end of the last major glaciation some 10-12 thousand years ago. There are thought to have been three separated pockets of human habitation in Europe during the last major glaciation (the end of the paleolithic and the Pleistocene), on the Iberian peninsula, in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. The Y chromosome haplotypes from these populations are thought to correspond to R1b (Iberian), I (Balkans) and R1a (Caucasus), these three haplotypes occur all over Europe, but their frequencies are not spread uniformly.<ref>Haplogroup R1b, R1b1 & R1a DNA Results Shirley Association website. Retrieved 12 August 2006.</ref><ref>World Haplogroups Maps. Retrieved 12 August 2006.</ref>
Y chromosome analysis of people from Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Friesland and the Basque Country of Northern Spain and South Western France has revealed that the Germanic (Danish/North German/Frisian) component in the male line of descent is higher in some areas of England than others.<ref name="y-census" /> It is highest in York and Norfolk, where the Germanic Y chromosome occurs in about 60% of men, while indigenous Y chromosomes comprise about 40%.<ref name="y-census" /> The research cannot distinguish between Danish (the presumed source of Danish-Viking settlers to East and Northern England), North German (Schleswig-Holstein, modern era) and Frisian (Anglo-Saxon) Y chromosomes. It concludes these data are consistent with the presence of some indigenous component in all British regions.<ref name="y-census" /> Also, this research cannot make reference to the extent of settlement by Anglo-Saxon/Danish-Viking women. Therefore even in places like York, the total genetic contribution of these peoples would be less than 60% if fewer women than men migrated, and conversely it would be greater if more women than men settled. Computer simulations have shown that it is theoretically possible for a small Anglo-Saxon population that was politically and economically dominant to support larger families, which in turn could have resulted in a faster population growth for the dominant class. This model has been likened to apartheid in South Africa.<ref>Evidence for an Apartheid Like Social Structure in Early Anglo-Saxon England by Mark G. Thomas, Michael P. H. Stumpf and Heinrich Härke: Proceedings of the Royal Society, July 2006. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3627. Retrieved 06 August 2006.</ref> These data assume that there is a 50-100% Anglo-Saxon Y chromosome occurrence throughout England, but this assumption has previously been shown to be questionable.<ref name="y-census" /> In some areas, notably Cornwall (and to a lesser extent Cumbria), some people claim a stronger ethnic connection to the ancient Britons, consequently some historians claim that Cornish people are distinct from English people.<ref>What makes Cornwall unique?: Cornwall24, independent Cornish news and comment. Retrieved 22 July 2006.</ref>
It should be noted though, that in two recently published books, Blood of the Isles, by Brian Sykes and Origins of Britons, By Stephen Oppenheimer, both authors state that according to genetic evidence, the genetic cotribution of Anglo-Saxons and other invaders to the English genetic pool was very limited and that most English people (about 2/3) and most Britons (about 3/4) actually descend from the Iberian Peninsula, as a result of different migrations that took place during the Mesolithic and the Neolithic and which laid the foundations for the present-day populations in the British Isles, indicating an ancient relationship among the populations of Atlantic Europe.
Nevertheless, a genetic research on European Population Substructure states:
Using a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel, we observed population structure in a diverse group of Europeans and European Americans. Under a variety of conditions and tests, there is a consistent and reproducible distinction between “northern” and “southern” European population groups: most individual participants with southern European ancestry (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek) have >85% membership in the “southern” population; and most northern, western, eastern, and central Europeans have >90% in the “northern” population group.
English is included in "northern" European population group. <ref>http://genetics.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pgen.0020143</ref>
 Danish - Viking influence
By the time of the first viking attacks 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 receive 'the great' appended to his name.
Alfred defeated a Danish army at the Battle of Edington in 878, coming to terms with the Danish leader Guthrum. The Danelaw was a settlement of Danish-Vikings that occurred as a consequence of treaties between Alfred and Guthrum after Alfred's victory. Settlement was mainly in northern and eastern England.<ref>The Age of Athelstan by Paul Hill (2004), Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2566-8</ref> 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.<ref>COLONIA (AVRELIA?) EBORACENSIVM / EBVRACVM: roman-britain.org website. Retrieved 10 July 2006.</ref> These groups had a noticeable impact on the English language, for example the modern meaning of the word dream is of Old Norse origin.<ref>Online Etymology Dictionary by Douglas Harper (2001), List of sources used. Retrieved 10 July 2006.</ref> Additionally place names that include thwaite and by are Scandinavian in origin.<ref>The Adventure of English, Melvyn Bragg, 2003. Pg 22</ref>
 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.<ref>Athelstan (c.895 - 939): Historic Figures: BBC - History. Retrieved 30 October 2006.</ref><ref>The Battle of Brunanburh, 937AD by h2g2, BBC website. Retrieved 30 October 2006.</ref> 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.<ref name="Rowse"> A. L. Rowse, The Story of Britain, Artus 1979 ISBN 0-297-83311-1 </ref> 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 English 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 English aristocracy and church leaders. The English existed as a subject class for about 300 years with the aristocracy speaking French 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. The impact of the Normans on English government, law and culture was out of all proportion to the small number who settled there.<ref name="Rowse"> A. L. Rowse, The Story of Britain, Artus 1979 ISBN 0-297-83311-1 </ref>
 Recent contributions
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.<ref>EJP looks back on 350 years of history of Jews in the UK: European Jewish Press. Retrieved 21 July 2006.</ref>
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 nineteenth because of the British Raj.<ref>Black Presence, Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850: UK government website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.</ref> 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.<ref>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</ref>
 Contribution to humanity
- Further information: List of English people
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 and George Orwell, the composers Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst, 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, Bertrand Russell, Michael Oakeshott and Roger Scruton.
English people traditionally speak the English language, a member of the West Germanic language family. In addition Welsh is also used by a number of speakers across England, predominantly on the border with wales and in the Greater London Area <ref>http://www.omniglot.com/writing/welsh.htm</ref>. The other language traditionally spoken is Cornish, a Celtic language originating in Cornwall spoken by about 3,500 people. 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 (second only to Mandarin Chinese), with another 150 million to 1.5 billion people who speak it as a second language.
- 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 . 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.
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)<ref>England Cricket Team Profile ICC World Cup 2007 website. Retrieved 13 September 2006.</ref> and Rugby 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. <ref> 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."
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; 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 .
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, although most of Ireland broke away from the union in 1922 to form the Irish Free State and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.<ref>Liberation of Ireland: Ireland on the Net Website. Retrieved 23 June 2006.</ref> 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).<ref>A History of Britain: The British Wars 1603-1776 by Simon Schama, BBC Worldwide. ISBN 0-563-53747-7.</ref> The English, along with the other peoples of the Britain found their old identities succeeded in favour of a new British identity.<ref>The English, Jeremy Paxman 1998 </ref> Effectively the new British identity was a remodelled English identity.
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.<ref>An English Parliament...: Campaign for an English Parliament Website. Retrieved 26 June 2006.</ref>
 See also
- List of English people
- List of Scottish people
- List of Welsh people
- English language
- Old English language
- Culture of England
- Immigration to the United Kingdom
- Population of England — historical estimates
 External links
- BBC Nations Articles on England and the English
- The British Isles Information on England
- Mercator's Atlas Map of England ("Anglia") circa 1564.
- Viking blood still flowing; BBC; 3 December, 2001.
- UK 2001 Census showing 49,138,831 people from all ethnic groups living in England.
- Tory MP leads English protest over census; The Telegraph; 23 April 2001.
- On St. George's Day, What's Become Of England?; CNSNews.com; 23 April, 2001.
- Watching the English — an anthropologist's look at the hidden rules of English behaviour.
- The True-Born Englishman, by Daniel Defoe.
- The Effect of 1066 on the English Language Geoff Boxell
- BBC "English and Welsh are races apart"
- Y Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration
- Origins of Britons
- What does being British mean? Ask the Spanish.
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