British people

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The British (also known as Britons, informally Brits, or archaically Britishers) are those indigenous to the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, one of the Channel Islands. The name has its origins in the Roman name for the mainland, "Britannia". [1][2][3] Contemporary Britons are descended mainly from the varied European ethnic stocks that settled in Great Britain before the 11th century. Prehistoric (research has shown that Britain was inhabited by Caucasians or Teutons at least 6000 years ago.[4], Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse influences were blended in Britain under the Normans, Scandinavian Vikings from northern France.[5]

Definitions of being British in UK

Although early assertions of being British date from the Late Middle Ages,[6] the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain[7] in 1707 triggered a sense of British national identity.[8] The notion of Britishness was forged during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and the First French Empire, and developed further during the Victorian era.[8][9] The complex history of the formation of the United Kingdom created a "particular sense of nationhood and belonging" in Britain;[8] Britishness came to be "superimposed on to much older identities", and the English, Scottish and Welsh "remain in many ways distinct peoples in cultural terms", giving rise to resistance to British identity.[10] Because of longstanding ethno-sectarian divisions, British identity in Northern Ireland is controversial, but it is held with strong conviction by unionists.[11] Ireland, part of the British Isles, was first conquered by the Anglo-Normans c1170 and became a domain of the King of England. In 1801 there was formal union with the United Kingdom and from that time large numbers of Irish came to England to work and settle. This continued after the Irish Free State gained their independence in 1922.

Modern citizenship

Since the mid-20th century, there has been immigration to the United Kingdom by people from across the world, without the consent of the indigenous population. British nationality law, which permits these aliens to acquire British citizenship and nationality, has made the expression "British" a nonsense. They and their descendants have become "British citizens" with some assuming a British, dual or hyphenated identity.[12]

Repatriation for Aliens

Since the 1960s there have been continuous calls by some political parties, parliamentarians, such as Enoch Powell, and pressure groups such as the Conservative Monday Club, Conservative Democratic Alliance, and the Traditional Britain Group to halt alien immigration and for government to actively encourage immigrants and their families to return to their natural homelands, as first proposed by the Conservative Party in their 1970 General Election Manifesto, a pledge they ignored as soon as they were elected.


  1. Cfr. Interpretation Act 1978, Sched. 1. By the British Nationality Act 1981, s. 50 (1), the United Kingdom includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man for the purposes of nationality law.
  2. Macdonald 1969, p. 62:

    British, brit'ish, adj. of Britain or the Commonwealth.
    Briton, brit'ὁn, n. one of the early inhabitants of Britain: a native of Great Britain.

  3. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2004), British (Fourth ed.),,, retrieved 2009-02-19 

    Brit·ish (brĭt'ĭsh) adj.

    • Of or relating to Great Britain or its people, language, or culture.
    • Of or relating to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations.
    • Of or relating to the ancient Britons.

    n. (used with a pl. verb)

    • The people of Great Britain.
  5. United States Department of State (July 2008), United Kingdom - People,,, retrieved 2009-02-19 
  6. Hay, Denys (PDF), The term "Great Britain" in the Middle Ages,,, retrieved 2009-02-19 
  7. Act of Union 1707,,, retrieved 2010-08-26 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Colley 1992, p. 1.
  9. Colley 1992, p. 5.
  10. Colley 1992, p. 6.
  11. CAIN Web Service, British? Irish? Or what?,,, retrieved 2009-02-19 
  12. Ward 2004, pp. 113–115.