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Who are the indigenous people in the UK?
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Who are the indigenous people in the UK?

I have seen lots of questions on here that refer to an "indigenous" people living in the UK, mostly in relation to immigration.
Given that people have migrated to and from the UK for thousands of years, who exactly does the word "Indigenous" refer to in relation to people in the UK?
For example, my parents were born in London, my mothers parents were Irish and my father can trace his family back to the Huguenots, so am I "indigenous" to the UK?
Do immigrants become indigenous if they stay here long enough?


Del Piero 10
Technically it's the Welsh and the Cornish who moved West when Julius Caesar and the boys decided to visit. Not to mention the Picts and Scots who one of JC's successors Hadrian built a wall to keep out. After that it was party time with Angles, Saxons, French and whoever coming to say hello.

From what I've have read about the British Isles,the early people were Celt's. There were invasions from the Scandinavian countries,and from the continent of Germanic and Norman tribes. All has been relatively sorted out,and now Mr. Blair's pipe dream of a multicultural Britain by allowing people who are clearly not suited to a liberal world and refuse to integrate has destroyed it,a once great nation all gone. Thanks Tony,feel free to leave anytime!

A Bloke
The first people to inhabit the Island as a whole, were what we would now refer to as the Scottish and Welsh, though they were not Scottish and Welsh then. These tribes were the original inhabitants of this Island, but moved North and West following the rather numerous early Invasions of the Island. It is also suggested that a number of these early tribes also moved to what is now called Brittany in France, also to avoid the invasions. Even before the more recent immigration rush, the population had become so diluted following these invasions that you will not find many true British people any more, though generally, if you can trace your family back to the North or West, you will probably find you are more "British" than a lot of those that claim to be "British" now. Generally, you would not be looking for those people with blonde hair, blue eyes as being True British, as most true British people would be red/dark haired with a pale complexion. As it has been said, the Scots and Welsh are actually more English, than those that currently think of themselves as being English - Therefore, with that little parody in mind, there are not really any indigenous people in Britain any more, as the Original inhabitants have all but disappeared through thousands of Years of invasions/immigration etc. etc.

Personally, I would say that a person who has been born in this Country is British, wherever their family originates from. Those that move to Britain should be prepared to follow our customs and laws and integrate in to our Society and become British. Any one who doesn't wish to do this, should try elsewhere.....

Sky B
Contrary to what is often said by Welsh and Cornish nationalists, the Celts are no more indigenous to Britain than Angles or Saxons.
Celts arrived in Britain from the French/German border, largely displacing the Picts. Of course, the Picts aren't indigenous either as it is believed all humans ultimately come from Africa.
Since all populations have moved and migrated over thousands of years indigenous vs. immigrant is really just a matter of perspective and how long it takes to become established, and that of course depends on is deciding.
At the end of the day, people move around.

No such thing as indigenous UK people! The Scots are descended from the Picts and the rest are from Celtic stock! The English are the biggest mixture of Races as England was invaded more than the rest and so basically its the european mix that is seen as indigenous. As it has been archeologically proved that man first appeared in Africa and then migrated throughout the world I don't see why people even bother with race! We are all the same one! It just depends how far back you want to go!

Mostly Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man.

adrian p
Good question,
How far back should you go??, i have just read in my Caving magazine that they have made some bone discoveries in a cave which may predate any previous remains by upto 200,000 years

We are all mongrels, whether we like it or not. Think about it.... if we go back in our ancestral line just 5 generations (say for arguments sake 100 years before our birth). We already have 62 people who's genes we carry. The chances of one of them being 'non-indigenous' has to be pretty high.
This question reminded me of that programme '100% English'. It was brilliant to see the faces on some barely closeted racists when they found out they were carrying African or Asian genes.

EDIT: Don't know what Des is talking about Saxons joining indigenous Angles. Angles were part of the same wave of migrants from northern Europe.

Surprisingly, the real answer is the Basques who now live at the Western end of the Pyrenees.
DNA tests have proved that around three-quarters of the Welsh, Scots and English can be traced to those who arrived from the Basque country between 7,500 and 15,000 years ago.
So most of us in the British Isles are descended from a common heritage.

Holly O
I would think Indigenous would be the first tribes of people to inhabit anywhere. At some point there were no humans in the British Isles. Who were the first to populate them? Celts, Angles, Cornish? Don't know that answer as I'm not from there.

In North, Central and South America "native americans" or "indians" first populated the continent by walking over from Russia into Alaska and migrated down. Their descendants are indigenous. Same thing with the Polynesians who came over and populated those islands via boats from elsewhere, etc.

It would have been a collection of various ancient briton tribes whom pre-date the celtic tribes, the celts themselves had started closer to modern Italy and had been pushed further and further north by the romans.

I would doubt very much that there are many people within the UK who have any ancient Briton DNA within them as we have been integrated with so many other nations (celts, goths, huns, angles, saxons, normans, romans, vikings, asians, africans etc). Having said that, my personal opinion would be that to be classed as indigenous one would be able to prove their blood line (at least one side of it) comes from that particular region for at least 500 years and having integrated within the localised society rather than having just lived in the area. Having lived in an area for a long period of time doesn't (in my mind) quantify you as being indigenous.

We are from everywhere. Look how many times we were invaded, the Vikings, Normans, Romans. Then you have the Celts in Wales Scotland and Ireland, ooh and Cornwall. I have traced my family back to 1560, in Gloucester, so I do think of myself as being indigenous by now! I'm Welsh and one side of my family have Welsh surnames, so I hope I've got some Celtic blood in me. Britain has always been a land of immigrants and I don't see much of a problem with it happening now. Look at how many Indian doctors are in the NHS, it would come to a standstill if they all left.

As has already been answered, the indigenous people of England turn out to be the Welsh and Cornish people who once populated most of the southern part of England but retreated to the west due to the invasion of armies..........if you visit Cornwall many of the names of villages there have a similarity to Welsh names thus showing that the same peoples moved westward ...........

According to my source: the Welsh race were here first - Welsh from the Frisian for slaves.

There could not possibly be an 'indigenous' people living in the U.K. anymore - we're a mix of Anlges/Saxons/Jutes from Germanic races, Roman settlers, Viking invaders (mainly Dane

there was an indigenous race in England, Scotland Wales and Ireland, but there is no such thing as indigenous people in the UK as the UK is a relavtively new country in terms of how old the peoples of each of its four nations have inhabited it..

It's generally taken to be those of Anglo-Saxon heritage. I don't really know how or why people decided on this people/era.
Really though it should be those with purly celt heritage but then there'd be no one left in the country except for 3 odd looking men and a goat.
even then the celtic peoples migrated to the britsh isles from central europe.

I would say the white Anglo Saxons would be considered indegenous to England.

The beaker people.
They arrived here about 4700 years ago.
Before that, neolithic hunter gatherers.
They were followed by later waves of immigrants, the Celts, the Romans, the Belgae.
About 1600 years ago the Scotti arrived from Ireland, to help defend from the Norse.
Then the Angles, Saxons and Jutes arrived.
In 1066 the Normans were the last invaders. Since then waves of immigration have been peaceful and Britain has continued to grow by absorbing those who want to come.
Who are indigenous Britains? All of us!

this is a great question. its hard to answer without some idea of how far back you want to go in time but as with other people id have to go with the welsh and Cornish. they both still retain and use there own language that they were speaking long before Anglo-Saxons arrived but the majority of modern "Englishmen" can only trace their bloodlines back to the roman invasion or the migration of the Irish.

The first people to live in Britain were neanderthals, they hunted animals here 40,000 years ago (see link) and everyone else are filthy immigrants. I am descended (at least partly) prom 10th century Viking immigrants and I am sure most people here are descended (at least to some extent) from Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans or Irish ancestors. We are almost all of immigrant decent at some point in the past.

The evolution of mankind originates from Africa, this has been theorised for decades and proven of late by DNA. I am Cornish and therefore of Celtic decent. There is a romantic notion of the Celts being the oldest surviving "nationality" in the UK, however, what people fail to remember is that the Celts themselves were largely nomadic/expanding group of peoples; a melting pot of a number of pan European and eastern Asian "nationalities" hence the swarthy complexions for starters. The Celts came to the "UK" and returned to the continent on numerous occasions and were finally driven to the extremities (Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, Isle of Man, Scotland, Brittany etc) by the Romans. The Scots similarly were subject to many visits from our Scandinavian neighbours.

Ultimately for as longs as human kind has had the ability to migrate, we have done so. Always moving on in search of richer hunting/fishing/gathering grounds and later farm land, either by peaceful means or forcefully. Neanderthal are currently believed to be the starting of point man kind, for a while co-existing with and eventually superseded by Cro-Magnon. Both made it into Europe, and so may well have made it to the UK, if this is the case I guess they are the true indigenous people.

A thought that has just occured to me, a mile up the road from me (Carn Brea, Cornwall) is the site of what has been archaeologically proven to to date the first village in the whole of Europe. It is a settlement of a series of round houses dated approximately 3700 BC (stone age), so I guess in terms of civilised and organised peoples, this must make them Cornish at least!

there are no indigenous people in the uk,cos they were invaded and settled by many other countries i.e danish, romans, and saxons,most of them settled and at this stage any pockets of the indigenous population would have been bred out.by the way im irish and im not indigenous 2 my country and i couldnt be arsed and by the way an immigrant can never become indigenous!

The Fat Controller
the nearest we have will be the pics of wales and cornwall followed by the scots and then the saxons

Hi There's an awful lot of misinformation here in some of the answers I've read to this question. Some one even suggested the true English were the Scots and Irish this is complete rubbish.
I have a book called the Celtic Empire which is the history of the CELTS. The book states that the original Celtic homeland was in Central Europe covering the areas Belgium, France and yet once again Germany. From there a gradual migration into Britain and Ireland and other parts of Europe took place. Even then there were two distinct groups of Celts in Britain speaking different forms of the Celtic Language. 'Brythonic' basically Welsh and Cornish. 'Goidelic' Irish, Gaelic and Manx. Prior to the Celts ( I believe) were the Beaker people so called because of the type of pottery they left behind. Though I'm not certain if these were also of Celtic origin or a different people entirely

It is impossible to say. The word is relatively meaningless in this case. As you say, people have lived on the British Isles for thousands of years. The Cheddar man, found in Somerset was dated to 7150BCE. The territory was easily accessible because of the land bridge that connected us to mainland Europe. People would have moved around as weather and availability of resources changed over time. They would not have put down roots (excuse the pun) until the establishment of farming in the Bronze age.

Traditionally, the Brythons are considered the indigenous peoples of the British Isles. These were the pre-Roman Celtic people whose languages gave rise to Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Cornish and Breton. However, these people would have immigrated to Britain themselves so though their descendants would be one of the oldest groups to inhabit the isles, it is impossible to relate them to the modern Britons.

I would say being "British" is highly subjective given the amount of immigration that has occurred across history. I can trace my ancestry back to the early 1600's but I would say anyone who was born in this country and contributes to it has as much right to call themselves British as me.

I was always told it was the Welsh and the Cornish When the Romans etc invaded the locals moved quickly to the West in the hope that the mountains/valley's of the local areas would hide them and make them difficult to reach.

as far as i can tell with some people it's all got to do with being white and from the british isles...
funny tho how people who are against immigration would not necessarily consider you an immigrant if you were from what they consider to be a "civilised" country... (france, spain, germany, netherlands, US...)
it seems to only apply to coloured people or those from eastern europe...

I am indigenous to Britain so get off my land.

Family traced back 4 to 5 generations are all English, and fought for this country, does that not make me British?

The Y-chromosomes of populations of the so called Celtic countries have been found in several studies to primarily belong to haplogroup R1b, which makes them descendants partially of the first people to migrate into north-western Europe after the last major ice age. According to the most recently published studies of European haplogroups, around half of the current male population of that portion of Eurasia is a descendant of the R1b haplogroup. Haplotype R1b exceeds 90% of Y-chromosomes in parts of Wales, Ireland and Spain.


I don't know enough about this but if the Celtic gene only partially makes up these early settlers then presumably the 'rest' is made up of a mix....meaning we are all mongrels (as proven by that recent TV programme in the UK 'Who do you think you are') so there is no such thing as an indigenous Brit.....I think the debate you are referring to is citizenship: when/how/why do we have the right to call ourselves British?

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