England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Londinium was a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 43. Its bridge over the River Thames turned the city into a road nexus and major port, serving as a major commercial centre in Roman Britain until its abandonment during the 5th century. Following its foundation in the mid-1st century, early Londinium occupied the small area of 1.4 km2 equivalent to the size of present-day Hyde Park, with a fortified garrison on one of its hills. In the year 60 or 61, the rebellion of the Iceni under Boudica forced the garrison to abandon the settlement, razed. Following the Iceni's defeat at the Battle of Watling Street, the city was rebuilt as a planned Roman town and recovered within about a decade. During the decades of the 1st century, Londinium expanded becoming Great Britain's largest city. By the turn of the century, Londinium had grown to 30,000 or 60,000 people certainly replacing Camulodunum as the provincial capital and by the mid-2nd century, Londinium was at its height.
Its forum and basilica were one of the largest structures north of the Alps when the Emperor Hadrian visited Londinium in 122. Excavations have discovered evidence of a major fire that destroyed most of the city shortly thereafter, but the city was again rebuilt. By the second half of the 2nd century, Londinium appears to have shrunk in both population. Although Londinium remained important for the rest of the Roman period, no further expansion resulted. Londinium supported a smaller but stable settlement population as archaeologists have found that much of the city after this date was covered in dark earth—the by-product of urban household waste, ceramic tile, non-farm debris of settlement occupation, which accumulated undisturbed for centuries. Sometime between 190 and 225, the Romans built a defensive wall around the landward side of the city. Along with Hadrian's Wall and the road network, this wall was one of the largest construction projects carried out in Roman Britain; the London Wall survived for another 1,600 years and broadly defined the perimeter of the old City of London.
The etymology of the name Londinium is unknown. Following Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical History of the Kings of Britain, it was long derived from an eponymous founder named Lud, son of Heli. There is no evidence such a figure existed. Instead, the Latin name was based on a native Brittonic placename reconstructed as *Londinion. Morphologically, this points to a structure of two suffixes: -in-jo-. However, the Roman Londinium was not the immediate source of English "London", as i-mutation would have caused the name to have been Lyndon; this suggests an alternative Brittonic form Londonion. The list of the 28 Cities of Britain included in the 9th-century History of the Britons notes London in Old Welsh as Cair Lundem or Lundein; the site guarded the Romans' bridgehead on the north bank of a major road nexus. It centered on Cornhill and the River Walbrook, but expanded west to Ludgate Hill and east to Tower Hill. Just prior to the Roman conquest, the area had been contested by the Catuvellauni based to its west and the Trinovantes based to its east.
The Roman city covered at least the area of the City of London, whose boundaries are defined by its former wall. Londinium's waterfront on the Thames ran from around Ludgate Hill in the west to the present site of the Tower in the east, around 1.5 kilometres. The northern wall reached Bishopsgate and Cripplegate near the Museum of London, a course now marked by the street "London Wall". Cemeteries and suburbs existed outside the city proper. A round temple has been located west of the city. Substantial suburbs existed at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Westminster and around the southern end of the Thames bridge in Southwark, where inscriptions suggest a temple of Isis was located; the status of Londinium is uncertain. It seems to have been founded as a mere vicus and remained as such after its recovery from Boudica's revolt. Ptolemy lists it as one of the cities of the Cantiacs. Starting as a small fort guarding the northern end of the new bridge across the River Thames, Londinium grew to become an important port for trade between Britain and the Roman provinces on the continent.
The initial lack of private Roman villas suggests military or Imperial ownership. Tacitus wrote that, at the time of the uprising of Boudica, "Londinium... though undistinguished by the name of'colony', was much frequented by a number of merchants and trading vessels." Depending on the time of its creation, the modesty of Londonium's first forum may have reflected its early elevation to city status or may have reflected an administrative concession to a low-ranking but major Romano-British settlement. It had certainly been granted colony status prior to the complete replanning of the city's street plan attending the erection of the great second forum around the year 120. By this time, Britain's provincial administration had almost been moved to Londinium from Camulodunum; the precise date of this change is unknown and no surviving source explicitly states that Londinium was "the capital of Britain" but there are several strong indications of this status: 2nd-century roofing tiles have been found marked by the "Pro
The Atrebates were a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain before the Roman conquests. However it is possible that the Atrebates were a family of rulers, as there is no evidence for a major migration from Belgium to Britain. Cognate with Old Irish aittrebaid meaning'inhabitant', Atrebates comes from proto-Celtic *ad-treb-a-t-es,'inhabitants'; the Celtic root is treb-'building','home', linked to the root of English thorpe,'village'. Edith Wightman suggested that their name may be intended to mean the people of the earth to contrast with that of the neighbouring coastal Morini, "people of the sea"; the Gaulish Atrebates lived around modern Artois in northern France. Their capital, Nemetocenna, is now the city of Pas-de-Calais; the place-name Arras is the result of a phonetic evolution from Atrebates and replaced the original name in the Late Empire, according to a well-known tradition in Gaul. The name Artois is the result of a different phonetic evolution from Atrebates. In 57 BC, they were part of a Belgic military alliance in response to Julius Caesar's conquests elsewhere in Gaul, contributing 15,000 men.
Caesar took this build-up as a threat and marched against it, but the Belgae had the advantage of position and the result was a stand-off. When no battle was forthcoming, the Belgic alliance broke up, determining to gather to defend whichever tribe Caesar attacked. Caesar subsequently achieved their submission; the Atrebates joined with the Nervii and Viromandui and attacked Caesar at the battle of the Sabis, but were there defeated. After thus conquering the Atrebates, Caesar appointed one of their countrymen, Commius, as their king. Commius was involved in Caesar's two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC and negotiated the surrender of Cassivellaunus. In return for his loyalty, he was given authority over the Morini. However, he turned against the Romans and joined in the revolt led by Vercingetorix in 52 BC. After Vercingetorix's defeat at the Siege of Alesia, Commius had further confrontations with the Romans, negotiated a truce with Mark Antony, ended up fleeing to Britain with a group of followers.
However, he appears to have retained some influence in Gaul: coins of post-conquest date have been found stamped with his name, paired with either Garmanos or Carsicios, who may have been his sons or regents. Ptolemy's 2nd century Geography refers to the "Atribati" living on the coast of Belgic Gaul, near the river Sequana, names Metacum as one of their towns. Commius soon established himself as king of a kingdom he may have founded, their territory comprised modern Hampshire, West Sussex and Berkshire, centred on the capital Calleva Atrebatum. They were bordered to the north by the Catuvellauni; the settlement of the Atrebates in Britain was not a mass population movement. Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe argues that they "seem to have comprised a series of indigenous tribes with some intrusive Belgic element, given initial coherence by Commius", it is possible that the name "Atrebates", as with many "tribal" names in this period, referred only to the ruling house or dynasty and not to an ethnic group.
However, during Caesar's first expedition to Britain in 55 BC, after the Roman cavalry had been unable to cross the Channel, Commius was able to provide a small group of horsemen from his people, suggesting that he may have had kin in Britain at that time. After this time, the Atrebates were recognized as a client kingdom of Rome. Coins stamped with Commius's name were issued from Calleva from ca. 30 BC to 20 BC. Some coins are stamped "COM COMMIOS": interpreting this as "Commius son of Commius", considering the length of his apparent floruit, some have concluded that there were two kings and son, of the same name. Three kings of the British Atrebates name themselves on their coins as sons of Commius: Tincomarus and Verica. Tincomarus seems to have ruled jointly with his father from about 25 BC until Commius's death in about 20 BC. After that, Tincomarus ruled the northern part of the kingdom from Calleva, while Eppillus ruled the southern half from Noviomagus. Numismatic and other archeological evidence suggests that Tincomarus took a more pro-Roman stance than his father, John Creighton argues from the imagery on his coins that he was brought up as an obses in Rome under Augustus.
Augustus's Res Gestae mentions two British kings presenting themselves to him as supplicants ca. 7 AD. The passage is damaged, but one is Tincomarus, it appears Tincomarus was ousted by his brother, from this point Epillus's coins are marked "Rex", indicating that he was recognised as king by Rome. In about 15, Eppillus was succeeded by Verica, but Verica's kingdom was being pressed by the expansion of the Catuvellauni under Cunobelinus. Calleva fell to Cunobelinus's brother Epaticcus by about 25. Verica regained some territory following Epaticcus's death in about 35, but Cunobelinus's son Caratacus took over the campaign and by the early 40s the Atrebates
Roman conquest of Britain
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Roman Britain. The Romans forced their way inland through several battles against Celtic tribes, including the Battle of the Medway, the Battle of the Thames, the Battle of Caer Caradoc and the Battle of Mona. Following a general uprising in which the Celts sacked Camulodunum and Londinium, the Romans suppressed the rebellion in the Battle of Watling Street and went on to push as far north as Caledonia in the Battle of Mons Graupius. Tribes in modern-day Scotland and northern England rebelled against Roman rule and two military bases were established in Britain to protect against rebellion and incursions from the north, from which Roman troops built and manned Hadrian's Wall. Great Britain had frequently been the target of invasions and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since Julius Caesar's expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, Roman economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age in the south.
Between 55 BC and the 40s AD, the status quo of tribute and client states without direct military occupation, begun by Caesar's invasions of Britain remained intact. Augustus prepared invasions in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC; the first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms. According to Augustus's Res Gestae, two British kings and Tincomarus, fled to Rome as supplicants during his reign, Strabo's Geography, written during this period, says Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered. By the 40s AD, the political situation within Britain was in ferment; the Catuvellauni had displaced the Trinovantes as the most powerful kingdom in south-eastern Britain, taking over the former Trinovantian capital of Camulodunum, were pressing their neighbours the Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Julius Caesar's former ally Commius. Caligula may have planned a campaign against the Britons in 40, but its execution was unclear: according to Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, he drew up his troops in battle formation facing the English Channel and, once his forces had become quite confused, ordered them to gather seashells, referring to them as "plunder from the ocean due to the Capitol and the Palace".
Alternatively, he may have told them to gather "huts", since the word musculi was soldier's slang for engineer's huts and Caligula himself was familiar with the Empire's soldiers. In any case this readied the troops and facilities that would make Claudius' invasion possible three years later. For example, Caligula built a lighthouse at Bononia, the Tour D'Ordre, that provided a model for the one built soon after at Dubris. In 43 by re-collecting Caligula's troops from 40, Claudius mounted an invasion force to re-instate Verica, an exiled king of the Atrebates. Aulus Plautius, a distinguished senator, was given overall charge of four legions, totalling about 20,000 men, plus about the same number of auxiliaries; the legions were: Legio II Augusta – The Second Augustan Legion Legio IX Hispana – The Ninth Spanish Legion Legio XIV Gemina – The Fourteenth Twin Legion Legio XX Valeria Victrix – The Twentieth Legion Valiant and VictoriousThe II Augusta is known to have been commanded by the future emperor Vespasian.
Three other men of appropriate rank to command legions are known from the sources to have been involved in the invasion. Cassius Dio mentions Gnaeus Hosidius Geta, who led the IX Hispana, Vespasian's brother Titus Flavius Sabinus the Younger, he wrote that Sabinus was Vespasian's lieutenant, but as Sabinus was the older brother and preceded Vespasian into public life, he could hardly have been a military tribune. Eutropius mentions Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus, although as a former consul he may have been too senior, accompanied Claudius later; the main invasion force under Aulus Plautius crossed in three divisions. The port of departure is taken to have been Boulogne, the main landing at Rutupiae. Neither of these locations is certain. Dio does not mention the port of departure, although Suetonius says that the secondary force under Claudius sailed from Boulogne, it does not follow that the entire invasion force did. Richborough has a large natural harbour which would have been suitable, archaeology shows Roman military occupation at about the right time.
However, Dio says the Romans sailed east to west, a journey from Boulogne to Richborough is south to north. Some historians suggest a sailing from Boulogne to the Solent, landing in the vicinity of Noviomagus or Southampton, in territory ruled by Verica. An alternative explanation might be a sailing from the mouth of the Rhine to Richborough, which would be east to west. British resistance was led by Togodumnus and Caratacus, sons of the late king of the Catuvellauni, Cunobeline. A substantial British force met the Romans at a river crossing thought to be near Rochester on the River Medway; the battle raged for two days. Gnaeus Hosidius Geta was captured, but recovered and turned the battle so decisively that he was awarded the "Roman triumph"; the British were pushed back to the Thames. They were pursued by the Romans across the river causing some Roman losses in the marshes of Essex. Whether the Romans made use of an e
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands excluding prehistoric Ireland, which had an independent Iron Age culture of its own. The parallel phase of Irish archaeology is termed the Irish Iron Age; the Iron Age is not an archaeological horizon of common artefacts, but is rather a locally diverse cultural phase. The British Iron Age lasted in theory from the first significant use of iron for tools and weapons in Britain to the Romanisation of the southern half of the island; the Romanised culture is considered to supplant the British Iron Age. The Irish Iron Age was ended by the rise of Christianity; the tribes living in Britain during this time are popularly considered to be part of a broadly Celtic culture, but in recent years this has been disputed. At a minimum, "Celtic" is a linguistic term without an implication of a lasting cultural unity connecting Gaul with the British Isles throughout the Iron Age.
The Brythonic languages spoken in Britain at this time, as well as others including the Goidelic and Gaulish languages of neighbouring Ireland and Gaul certainly belong to the group known as Celtic languages. However it cannot be assumed that particular cultural features found in one Celtic-speaking culture can be extrapolated to the others. At present over 100 large-scale excavations of Iron Age sites have taken place, dating from the 8th century BC to the 1st century AD, overlapping into the Bronze Age in the 8th century BC. Hundreds of radiocarbon dates have been acquired and have been calibrated on four different curves, the most precise being based on tree ring sequences; the following scheme summarises a comparative chart presented in a 2005 book by Barry Cunliffe, but British artefacts were much in adopting Continental styles such as the La Tène style of Celtic art: The end of the Iron Age extends into the early Roman Empire under the theory that Romanisation required some time to take effect.
In parts of Britain that were not Romanised, such as Scotland, the period is extended a little longer, say to the 5th century. The geographer closest to AD 100 is Ptolemy. Pliny and Strabo are a bit older. Attempts to understand the human behaviour of the period have traditionally focused on the geographic position of the islands and their landscape, along with the channels of influence coming from continental Europe. During the Bronze Age there are indications of new ideas influencing land use and settlement. Extensive field systems, now called Celtic fields, were being set out and settlements were becoming more permanent and focused on better exploitation of the land; the central organisation to undertake this had been present since the Neolithic period but it was now targeted at economic and social goals, such as taming the landscape rather than the building of large ceremonial structures like Stonehenge. Long ditches, some many miles in length, were dug with enclosures placed at their ends.
These are thought to indicate a desire to increase control over wide areas. By the 8th century BC, there is increasing evidence of Great Britain becoming tied to continental Europe in Britain's South and East. New weapon types appeared with clear parallels to those on the continent such as the Carp's tongue sword, complex examples of which are found all over Atlantic Europe. Phoenician traders began visiting Great Britain in search of minerals around this time, bringing with them goods from the Mediterranean. At the same time, Northern European artefact types reached Eastern Great Britain in large quantities from across the North Sea. Defensive structures dating from this time are impressive, for example the brochs of Northern Scotland and the hill forts that dotted the rest of the islands; some of the most well-known hill forts include Maiden Castle, Cadbury Castle and Danebury, Hampshire. Hill forts first appeared in Wessex in the Late Bronze Age, but only become common in the period between 550 and 400 BC.
The earliest were of a simple univallate form, connected with earlier enclosures attached to the long ditch systems. Few hill forts have been excavated in the modern era, Danebury being a notable exception, with 49% of its total surface area studied. However, it appears that these "forts" were used for domestic purposes, with examples of food storage and occupation being found within their earthworks. On the other hand, they may have been only occupied intermittently as it is difficult to reconcile permanently occupied hill forts with the lowland farmsteads and their roundhouses found during the 20th century, such as at Little Woodbury and Rispain Camp. Many hill forts are not in fact "forts" at all, demonstrate little or no evidence of occupation; the development of hill forts may have occurred due to greater tensions that arose between the better structured and more populous social groups. Alternatively, there are suggestions that, in the latter phases of the Iron Age, these structures indicate a greater accumulation of wealth and a higher standard of living, although any such shift is invisible in the archaeological record for the Middle Iron Age, when hill forts come into their own.
In this regard, they may have served as wider centres used for social contact. Either way, during the Roman occupation the evidence suggests that, as defensive structures, they proved to be of little use against concerted Roman attack. Suetonius comments that Vespasian captured more than twenty "towns" during a campaign in the
An oppidum is a large fortified Iron Age settlement. Oppida are associated with the Celtic late La Tène culture, emerging during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, spread across Europe, stretching from Britain and Iberia in the west to the edge of the Hungarian plain in the east, they continued to be used until the Romans conquered Western Europe. In regions north of the rivers Danube and Rhine, such as most of Germania, where the populations remained independent from Rome, oppida continued to be used into the 1st century AD. Oppidum is a Latin word meaning the main settlement in any administrative area of ancient Rome, applied more in Latin to smaller urban settlements than cities, equating to "town" in English; the word is derived from the earlier Latin ob-pedum, "enclosed space" from the Proto-Indo-European *pedóm-, "occupied space" or "footprint". In his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Julius Caesar described the larger Celtic Iron Age settlements he encountered in Gaul during the Gallic Wars in 58 to 52 BC as oppida.
Although he did not explicitly define what features qualified a settlement to be called an oppidum, the main requirements emerge. They were important economic sites, places where goods were produced and traded, sometimes Roman merchants had settled and the Roman legions could obtain supplies, they were political centres, the seat of authorities who made decisions that affected large numbers of people, such as the appointment of Vercingetorix as head of the Gallic revolt in 52 BC. Caesar named 28 oppida. By 2011, only 21 of these had been positively identified by historians and archaeologists: either there was a traceable similarity between the Latin and the modern name of the locality, or excavations had provided the necessary evidence. Most of the places that Caesar called oppida were city-sized fortified settlements. However, for example, was referred to as an oppidum, but no fortifications dating to this period have yet been discovered there. Caesar refers to 20 oppida of the Bituriges and 12 of the Helvetii, twice the number of fortified settlements of these groups known today.
That implies that Caesar counted some unfortified settlements as oppida. A similar ambiguity is in evidence in writing by the Roman historian Livy, who used the word for both fortified and unfortified settlements. In his work Geographia, Ptolemy listed the coordinates of many Celtic settlements. However, research has shown many of the localisations of Ptolemy to be erroneous, making the identification of any modern location with the names he listed uncertain and speculative. An exception to, the oppidum of Brenodurum at Bern, confirmed by an archaeological discovery. In archaeology and prehistory, the term oppida now refers to a category of settlement. In particular, Dehn suggested defining an oppidum by four criteria: Size: The settlement has to have a minimum size, defined by Dehn as 30 hectares. Topography: Most oppida are situated on heights, but some are located on flat areas of land. Fortification: The settlement is surrounded by a wall consisting of three elements: a facade of stone, a wooden construction and an earthen rampart at the back.
Gates are pincer gates. Chronology: The settlement dates from the late Iron Age: the last two centuries BC. In current usage, most definitions of oppida emphasise the presence of fortifications so they are different from undefended farms or settlements and from urban characteristics, marking them as separate from hill forts, they could be referred to as "the first cities north of the Alps". The period of 2nd and 1st centuries BC places them in the period known as La Tène. A notional minimum size of 15 to 25 hectares has been suggested, but, flexible and fortified sites as small as 2 hectares have been described as oppida. However, the term is not always rigorously used, it has been used to refer to any hill fort or circular rampart dating from the La Tène period. One of the effects of the inconsistency in definitions is that it is uncertain how many oppida were built. In European archaeology, the term'oppida' is used more to characterize any fortified prehistoric settlement. For example older hill-top structures like the one at Glauberg have been called oppida.
Such wider use of the term is, for example, common in the Iberian archaeology. The Spanish word'castro' used in English, means a walled settlement or hill fort, this word is used interchangeably with'oppidum' by archaeologists. According to prehistorian John Collis oppida extend as far east as the Hungarian plain where other settlement types take over. Central Spain has sites similar to oppida, but while they share features such as size and defensive ramparts the interior was arranged differently. Oppida feature a wide variety of internal structures, from continuous rows of dwellings to more spaced individual estates; some oppida had internal layouts resembling the insulae of Roman cities. Little is known, about the purpose of any public buildings; the main features of the oppida are the walls and gates, the spacious layout, a commanding view of the surrounding area. The major difference with earlier structures was their much larger size. Earlier hill forts were just a few hectares in
Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles east of Bristol, 24 miles south of Oxford, 40 miles west of London, 14 miles north of Basingstoke, 12 miles south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles east of Newbury as the crow flies; the first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. It was an important trading and ecclesiastical centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, one of the richest monasteries of medieval England with strong royal connections, of which the 12th century abbey gateway and significant ruins remain. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth; the town was affected by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town.
The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing and seed growing businesses. During that period, the town grew as a manufacturing centre. Today, Reading is a major commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow, it is ranked the UK's top economic area for economic success and wellbeing, according to factors such as employment, health and skills. Reading is a major regional retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, is home to the University of Reading; every year it hosts one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon. In the 2011 census, the urban area around Reading had an estimated population of 318,014, making it one of the largest towns in the UK without city status.
The Borough of Reading has a population of 163,100. It is represented in Parliament by two members, has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867 sharing this status with Abingdon-on-Thames. Reading may date back to the Roman occupation of Britain as a trading port for Calleva Atrebatum. However, the first clear evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, when the town came to be known as Readingum; the name comes from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means Reada's People in Old English, or less the Celtic Rhydd-Inge, meaning Ford over the River. In late 870, an army of Danes set up camp at Reading. On 4 January 871, in the first Battle of Reading, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred the Great attempted unsuccessfully to breach the Danes' defences; the battle is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, that account provides the earliest known written record of the existence of Reading.
The Danes remained in Reading until late in 871, when they retreated to their winter quarters in London. After the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror gave land in and around Reading to his foundation of Battle Abbey. In its 1086 Domesday Book listing, the town was explicitly described as a borough; the presence of six mills is recorded: four on land belonging to the king and two on the land given to Battle Abbey. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 by Henry I, buried within the Abbey grounds; as part of his endowments, he gave the abbey his lands in Reading, along with land at Cholsey. It is not known how badly Reading was affected by the Black Death that swept through England in the 14th century, but it is known that the abbot of Reading Abbey, Henry of Appleford, was one of its victims in 1361, that nearby Henley lost 60% of its population; the Abbey was destroyed in 1538 during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. The last abbot, Hugh Cook Faringdon, was subsequently tried and convicted of high treason and hanged and quartered in front of the Abbey Church.
By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. By 1611, it had a population of over 5000 and had grown rich on its trade in cloth, as instanced by the fortune made by local merchant John Kendrick. Reading played an important role during the English Civil War. Despite its fortifications, it had a Royalist garrison imposed on it in 1642; the subsequent Siege of Reading by Parliamentary forces succeeded in April 1643. The town's cloth trade was badly damaged, the town's economy did not recover until the 20th century. Reading played a significant role during the Revolution of 1688: the second Battle of Reading was the only substantial military action of the campaign; the 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. Reading's trade benefited from better designed turnpike roads which helped it establish its location on the major coaching routes from London to Oxford and the West Country.
In 1723, despite considerable local opposition, the Kennet Navigation opened the River Kennet to boats as far as Newbury. O