English people

English people
Flag of England.svg
Total population
c. 80–100 million worldwide[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 United Kingdom 37.6 million in
 England and  Wales[1]
 United States25–50 milliona[2]
 Australia7.2 millionb[3]
 Canada6.6 millionc[4]
 South Africa1.6 milliond[5]
 New Zealand44,000–282,000[6]
Traditionally Anglicanism, but also non-conformists and dissenters (see History of the Church of England), as well as other Protestants; also Roman Catholics (see Catholic Emancipation); Islam (see Islam in England); Judaism and other faiths (see Religion in England). Almost 25% are non-religious.[7]
Related ethnic groups

a English American, b English Australian, c English Canadian, d British diaspora in Africa

The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn ("family of the Angles"). Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD.[8] England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.

Historically, the English population is descended from several peoples – the earlier Celtic Britons (or Brythons) and the Germanic tribes that settled in Britain following the withdrawal of the Romans, including Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians. Collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, they founded what was to become England (from the Old English Englaland) along with the later Danes, Anglo-Normans and other groups. In the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England was succeeded by the Kingdom of Great Britain.[9] Over the years, English customs and identity have become fairly closely aligned with British customs and identity in general.

Today many English people have recent forebears from other parts of the United Kingdom, while some are also descended from more recent immigrants from other European countries and from the Commonwealth.

The English people are the source of the English language, the Westminster system, the common law system and numerous major sports such as cricket, football,[10] rugby union, rugby league and tennis. These and other English cultural characteristics have spread worldwide, in part as a result of the former British Empire.

English nationality

The concept of an 'English nation' (as opposed to a British one) has become increasingly popular after the devolution process in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland resulted in the four nations having semi-independent political and legal systems. Although England itself has no devolved government, the 1990s witnessed a rise in English self-consciousness.[11] This is linked to the expressions of national self-awareness of the other British nations of Wales and Scotland – which take their most solid form in the new devolved political arrangements within the United Kingdom – and the waning of a shared British national identity with the growing distance between the end of the British Empire and the present.[12][13][14]

Many recent immigrants to England have assumed a solely British identity, while others have developed dual or mixed identities.[15][16][17][18][19] Use of the word "English" to describe Britons from ethnic minorities in England is complicated by most non-white people in England identifying as British rather than English. In their 2004 Annual Population Survey, the Office for National Statistics compared the ethnic identities of British people with their perceived national identity. They found that while 58% of white people in England described their nationality as "English", the vast majority of non-white people called themselves "British".[20]

Relationship to Britishness

It is unclear how many British people consider themselves English. In the 2001 UK census, respondents were invited to state their ethnicity, but while there were tick boxes for 'Irish' and for 'Scottish', there were none for 'English', or 'Welsh', who were subsumed into the general heading 'White British'.[21][22] Following complaints about this, the 2011 census was changed to "allow respondents to record their English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, Irish or other identity."[23] Another complication in defining the English is a common tendency for the words "English" and "British" to be used interchangeably, especially overseas. In his study of English identity, Krishan Kumar describes a common slip of the tongue in which people say "English, I mean British". He notes that this slip is normally made only by the English themselves and by foreigners: "Non-English members of the United Kingdom rarely say 'British' when they mean 'English'". Kumar suggests that although this blurring is a sign of England's dominant position with the UK, it is also "problematic for the English [...] when it comes to conceiving of their national identity. It tells of the difficulty that most English people have of distinguishing themselves, in a collective way, from the other inhabitants of the British Isles".[24]

In 1965, the historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote,

"When the Oxford History of England was launched a generation ago, "England" was still an all-embracing word. It meant indiscriminately England and Wales; Great Britain; the United Kingdom; and even the British Empire. Foreigners used it as the name of a Great Power and indeed continue to do so. Bonar Law, by origin a Scotch Canadian, was not ashamed to describe himself as "Prime Minister of England" [...] Now terms have become more rigorous. The use of "England" except for a geographic area brings protests, especially from the Scotch."[25]

However, although Taylor believed this blurring effect was dying out, in his book The Isles (1999), Norman Davies lists numerous examples in history books of "British" still being used to mean "English" and vice versa.[26]

In December 2010, Matthew Parris in The Spectator, analysing the use of "English" over "British", argued that English identity, rather than growing, had existed all along but has recently been unmasked from behind a veneer of Britishness.[27]

Historical origins and identity

There is a debate between historians, geneticists and others about the extent to which historical changes in the culture of the British Isles corresponds to historical migration events of Germanic tribes, and to the extent of these migrations. The traditional view of historians, based on contemporary accounts and linguistic evidence, was that the English are primarily descended from the Anglo-Saxons, the term used to describe the various Germanic tribes that migrated to the island of Great Britain following the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, with assimilation of later migrants such as the Norse Vikings and Normans.

This belief is now regarded by many historians as incorrect, on the basis of more recent genetic and archaeological research. Based on a re-estimation of the number of settlers, some have taken the view that it is highly unlikely that the British Celtic-speaking population was substantially displaced by the Anglo-Saxons and that instead a process of acculturation took place, with an Anglo-Saxon ruling elite imposing their culture on the local populations.[28][29] Research into the genetic history of the British Isles, conducted by Stephen Oppenheimer in 2007 appears to support this theory, not showing a clear dividing line between the English and their 'Celtic' neighbours but a gradual clinal change from west coast Britain to east coast Britain, originating from upper palaeolithic and Mesolithic era variations in a pre-Indo-European population, which Oppenheimer argues form the basis of the modern population of the British Isles rather than Germanic tribes or Celts.[30][31] More recent genetic studies of ancient British DNA have refuted the hypothesis that the Anglo-Saxon invaders formed an elite class largely separate from the indigenous population, finding that samples from culturally Anglo-Saxon graveyards contained individuals who were more Celtic, suggesting a high level of intermingling between the Anglo-Saxons and the native Britons.[32]

The 2016 study authored by Stephan Schiffels et al. found the Anglo-Saxons to have significantly impacted the genetic composition of the British Isles, so that on average the contemporary East English population derives 38 percent of its ancestry from Anglo-Saxon migrations, with this proportion varying in other parts of Britain that saw less of the migration or the migration of different Germanic tribes.[33]

The theory that the English people are primarily descended from Anglo-Saxons is based largely on the dramatic cultural changes in Britain following their migration. The Celtic language was almost totally displaced by Old English and there was a complete shift towards North-West German farming methods and pottery styles.[34] The Brythonic languages such as Cornish, Cumbric and Welsh, held on for several centuries in parts of western England such as Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria and a part of Lancashire.[35][36]

Many historians, while making allowance for the limited survival of the Britons in England, hold to the view that there was significant displacement of the indigenous population after the Germanic migrations.[37][38]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Engelse
Ænglisc: Englisc folc
العربية: إنجليز
aragonés: Angleses
asturianu: Pueblu inglés
azərbaycanca: İngilislər
Bân-lâm-gú: Eng-lân-lâng
беларуская: Англічане
български: Англичани
bosanski: Englezi
brezhoneg: Saozon
буряад: Англишууд
català: Anglesos
Чӑвашла: Акăлчансем
čeština: Angličané
Cymraeg: Saeson
eesti: Inglased
español: Pueblo inglés
Esperanto: Angloj
français: Anglais (peuple)
Frysk: Ingelsen
Gaeilge: Sasanaigh
Gàidhlig: Sasannaich
galego: Pobo inglés
한국어: 잉글랜드인
հայերեն: Անգլիացիներ
हिन्दी: अंग्रेज़
hrvatski: Englezi
Bahasa Indonesia: Bangsa Inggris
íslenska: Englendingar
italiano: Inglesi
עברית: אנגלים
ქართული: ინგლისელები
қазақша: Ағылшындар
kurdî: Îngilîz
Кыргызча: Англичандар
latviešu: Angļi
лезги: Ингилисар
lietuvių: Anglai
magyar: Angolok
македонски: Англичани
მარგალური: ინგლისარეფი
Bahasa Melayu: Orang Inggeris
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အင်္ဂလိပ်လူမျိုး
Nederlands: Engelsen (volk)
नेपाली: अङ्ग्रेज
нохчийн: Ингалсхой
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Inglizlar
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼
پنجابی: انگریز
polski: Anglicy
português: Ingleses
română: Englezi
русский: Англичане
саха тыла: Ааҥллар
shqip: Anglezët
Simple English: English people
سنڌي: انگريز
slovenčina: Angličania
slovenščina: Angleži
Soomaaliga: Ingiriis (Dad)
српски / srpski: Енглези
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Englezi
svenska: Engelsmän
татарча/tatarça: Инглизләр
тоҷикӣ: Англисон
Türkçe: İngilizler
Türkmençe: Iňlisler
українська: Англійці
اردو: انگریز
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئەنگلىيىلىكلەر
Tiếng Việt: Người Anh
粵語: 英倫人
Zazaki: İngılız
žemaitėška: Onglā
中文: 英格蘭人