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British history

Roman Britain

The Romans built roads, aqueducts and fine buildings.The Romans built roads, aqueducts and fine buildings. For almost 400 years after AD 43, Britain became part of the Roman Empire. Governed from the capital, Londinium (London), Britain saw many years of peace. Garrisons of Roman soldiers put down rebellions when they did occur. Trading links with the rest of the empire brought wealth: metals such as gold, silver, iron, copper and lead, agricultural products, oysters and salt were exported in return for products like pottery, glassware, olive oil and salted fish. Local people continued to worship their Celtic gods, but also joined in the worship of the Roman gods and emperors. Christianity came to Britain during the 200s AD, but it had few believers at first.

Emperor Claudius (ruled AD 41–54)Emperor Claudius (ruled AD 41–54)

The Roman invasions

In 55 BC, British tribes sent men to fight with the Gauls in France against the invading Roman army of Julius Caesar. In response, Caesar sent a mission to Britain to punish them. The following year, he returned with a large army and defeated the British north of the River Thames before returning to France. Rome then forgot about Britain until Claudius became emperor in AD 41. He wanted a military victory to establish himself in power, so in AD 43 he decided to send a large army to conquer Britain. The Romans landed in Kent, marched north across the Thames and on to Colchester, where they defeated the powerful ancient British kingdom of the Catuvellauni. From then on, the Romans gradually extended their power throughout England and Wales.

The Romans introduced many new foods to Britain, including chicken, apples, grapes, cherries, onions, garlic, leeks, cabbages, peas, celery, turnips, radishes and asparagus.

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