How Germanic is Great Britain really? Archeologists and geneticists have unveiled surprising revelations about the historical origins of people in the modern United Kingdom -- many of whom have ancestors who once crossed the North Sea.
The fear of a violent conquest of their country is deeply engrained in the English psyche. One of the likely reasons for this fear is that their ancestors committed this misdeed themselves.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, two Germanic tribesmen, Hengist and Horsa, came ashore on the coast of Kent in southeast England in the year 449. They had sailed 600 kilometers (372 miles) down the coast from their native North Frisia, and had then made the crossing to a green and pleasant Britain.
The country they encountered was a cultivated place. Emperor Claudius had declared the island a Roman province in 43 A.D., and had introduced theaters and paved streets. There were 30,000 people living in Londinium in late antiquity.
All of this was destroyed, however, when the adventurers -- who became more and more numerous as families were reunited -- arrived from across the sea.
But how many people came to Britain across the North Sea in total? A thousand? Ten thousand? Or was it an even higher number?