In AD 43, the Roman conquest of Britain began. The Romans kept control of their province of Britannia until the early 5th century.
When the Romans left Great Britain, the Anglo-Saxons settled there. Historians often consider this as the origin of England and of the English people. The Anglo-Saxons were a collection of Germanic peoples. They built several kingdoms that became the main powers in present-day England and parts of southern Scotland. They introduced the Old English language and fought over land in Great Britain. After AD 800, Vikings often raided and the Norsemen settled in parts of what is now England. During this period, several rulers tried to unite the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. This led to the Kingdom of England being established by the 10th century.
In 1066, the Normans invaded and conquered England. The Norman Dynasty established by William the Conqueror ruled England for more than 50 years before the time of succession crisis known as the Anarchy (1135-1154). After the Anarchy, England was ruled by the House of Plantagenet, a dynasty that later inherited claims to the Kingdom of France. A succession crisis in France led to the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), a series of conflicts involving the peoples of both nations. After the Hundred Years’ War, England became involved in its own succession wars. The Wars of the Roses put two branches of the House of Plantagenet against one another, the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The Lancastrian Henry Tudor ended the War of the Roses and established the Tudor dynasty in 1485.
Under the Tudors and later the Stuart dynasty, England started to make and rule other colonies around the world. During the rule of the Stuarts, the English Civil War took place between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists. This war resulted in the execution of King Charles I (1649) and the beginning of republican governments. The first was a Parliamentary republic known as the Commonwealth of England (1649-1653). Oliver Cromwell then took over and led a dictatorship known as The Protectorate (1653-1659). In 1660, the Stuarts returned and took back the throne, but England had a hard time deciding which religion (Catholic or Protestant) they wanted to practice.
In 1707, England and Scotland joined to form Great Britain. Over the next 300 years, the decolonization of most of Great Britain’s colonies occurred. This means that many of the colonies that Great Britain ruled became independent countries.