Roman Britain | History, England and the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire is frequently shown as dominating Italy and the Mediterranean region. Rome, however, also dominated a large portion of Britain for nearly 400 years. The region was known as Britannia.

Caesar takes over Britain

In 55 BC, Julius Caesar launched the first invasion of Britain. He crossed the ocean in command of two Roman legions and arrived in Kent. This initial invasion didn’t go down well. Before the winter, Caesar visited France once more.

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Caesar made his way back to Britain a year later, in 54 BC, with a bigger force of five Roman legions. This time, he was far more successful, invading all the way to Britain and even crossing the Thames. After the tribes of Britain consented to pay tribute to Rome, he went in peace.

Romans take control of Britain

About 90 years later, in 43 AD, Emperor Claudius made the decision that he needed to establish himself by conquest of a new nation. He made the decision to slay Britain. Four Roman legions invaded Britain under the command of General Plautius. But taking over Britain wasn’t an easy feat. Rome had to wait almost 30 years to seize control of the island’s south.

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian, the Roman emperor, had a wall constructed through the center of England in 122 AD. Northern and southern Britain now share a protected border thanks to this wall. The wall stretched for 73 kilometres. It was between 10 and 20 feet broad and between 10 and 20 feet tall. At one point, the wall was staffed by more than 10,000 soldiers, according to estimates. The wall acted as a barrier against the northern barbarians and a location for import and export taxes.

Roman rule comes to an end

From 43 AD until 410 AD, the Romans dominated Britain for almost 400 years. They departed from Britain to defend their own Italy from barbarians like the Goths and the Vandals. In the year 476 AD, the Western Roman Empire fell.

Lasting Culture

Even though the Roman legions left Britain for their homeland of Italy, their cultural influence endures today. Aqueducts, roads, and concrete construction from the Roman era all left a lasting impression on British society. The Julian calendar, Roman laws and government, and many Latin terms are further characteristics of Roman civilization that have persisted in England.

The London City

Around 50 AD, the Romans founded Londinium, a city that would later become London. Since many of the routes the Romans constructed in England passed through Londinium, the city became a significant trading hub.

In Londinium, the Romans constructed a number of significant buildings, including temples, bathhouses, a basilica for gatherings, and a governor’s mansion. They constructed London Wall, a protective wall around the city, circa 200 AD. Around three miles long, 20 feet high, and eight feet broad, the wall.

Roman history in England: Interesting Facts

North of Hadrian’s Wall, the Romans constructed the Antonine Wall, another wall spanning Scotland.

Camulodunum was the first Roman city in Britain. Colchester is the name of the town today.

The Romans founded several of the modern cities of England, including London, York, Northwich, Dover, Bath, and Canterbury.

The Emperor Claudius outlawed druids, who were Celtic priests. The Romans nearly exterminated them.

A insurrection led by the British tribal queen Boudicca in 60 AD entailed burning down much of London.