The first Britons (people who live in the United Kingdom) were the Picts, who arrived about 10,000 years ago. In the eighth century B.C., the Celts arrived from Europe and pushed the Picts north into Scotland. In A.D. 43, the Romans invaded and ruled for nearly 400 years. They built roads, bathhouses, sewers, and large villas.
By the sixth century A.D., German peoples known as Angles, Jutes, and Saxons were moving into Britain. The Angles gave their name to England, and English people became known as Anglo-Saxons. From the 900s to the 1400s, England was ruled by Viking, Danish, and Norman invaders.
In 1485 the Welsh noble Henry Tudor claimed the English crown and became Henry VII, the first of five Tudor monarchs. Several important lines of kings and queens followed.
By the 1800s, Britain was one of the most powerful nations in the world. Trade generated immense wealth, and the country built a huge overseas empire. But the early 20th century was a time of setbacks for Britain. Drained by World War I and II, Britain could no longer afford its empire, and most of its colonies became independent.