5th century 400-499 CE

The 5th Century, when the Western Roman Empire is under threat.

The threat came from the Vandals, Alans, Visigoths and many other tribes within Europes more northern and western reaches.

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In Britain, Roman usurpers have muscled in and taken over. Constantine III withdrew troops from Britain and what remained was seen off by native Britons. After four hundred years of rule all was set to change in Britain.

The ‘barbarians’ saw points of weakness all over Europe as the mighty Roman Empire faltered. The Romans who were kept busy on mainland Europe, had little appetite to retake Britain for Rome and it soon became evident that without a Roman army to protect it, Britain would be subject to invasion from barbarians themselves.

So it was that Angle, Saxon and Jutish raiders trumped up on the shores of Britain and set about occupying the land.

Small kingdoms were established but were vulnerable to raiders. In about 449, King Vortigern, a British king, invited the Saxons into Britain, hoping they would help keep further raiders at bay. They in turn sought to dominate and set up their own kingdom in Kent. Further splinters occurred including the Kingdom of Wessex under Cerdic.

The Saxons exerted their power in Britain.

The period of Anglo Saxon history in Britain had begun and the next six hundred years saw the kingdoms of England form themselves into one nation.

Our 5th century chronology and timelines are being created and curated but already via each century page you can quickly locate our collections for each 100 years of history. These evolve as we explore topical themes, but if you are looking for something you can’t see here then please feel free to contact us and request, Thanks for taking a look.