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British people, or Britons, are the indigenous peoples, natives and citizens of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies; and their descendants.<ref>Cfr. Interpretation Act 1978, Sched. 1. By the British Nationality Act 1981, s. 50 (1), the United Kingdom includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man for the purposes of nationality law.</ref><ref name="Dic62">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}:

British, brit'ish, adj. of Britain or the Commonwealth.
Briton, brit'ὁn, n. one of the early inhabitants of Britain: a native of Great Britain.

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Brit·ish (brĭt'ĭsh) adj.

  • Of or relating to Great Britain or its people, language, or culture.
  • Of or relating to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Of or relating to the ancient Britons.

n. (used with a pl. verb)

  • The people of Great Britain.
</ref> British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, British people refers to the ancient Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain south of the Forth.<ref name="Dic62" />

Although early assertions of being British date from the Late Middle Ages, the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> in 1707 triggered a sense of British national identity.<ref name="Colley1">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref> The notion of Britishness was forged during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and the First French Empire, and developed further during the Victorian era.<ref name="Colley1" /><ref name="Colley5">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref> The complex history of the formation of the United Kingdom created a "particular sense of nationhood and belonging" in Great Britain and Ireland;<ref name="Colley1" /> Britishness became "superimposed on much older identities", of English, Scots, Welsh and Irish cultures, whose distinctiveness still resist notions of a homogenised British identity.<ref name="Colley6">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref> Because of longstanding ethno-sectarian divisions, British identity in Ireland is controversial, but it is held with strong conviction by unionists.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref>

Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in the British Isles before the eleventh century. Prehistoric, Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse influences were blended in Britain under the Normans, descended from Scandinavian settlers in northern France.<ref name="state">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> Conquest and union facilitated migration, cultural and linguistic exchange, and intermarriage between the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales during the Middle Ages, Early Modern period and beyond.<ref name="Trudgill519">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref><ref name="Richardson531">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref> Since 1922, there has been immigration to the United Kingdom by people from what is now the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth, mainland Europe and elsewhere; they and their descendants are mostly British citizens with some assuming a British, dual or hyphenated identity.<ref name="Ward113-115">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref>

The British are a diverse, multi-national<ref>Gordon Brown: We must defend the Union The Daily Telegraph, 25 March 2008</ref><ref>DIVERSITY AND CITIZENSHIP CURRICULUM REVIEW{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[dead link] }} www.devon.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2010.</ref> and multicultural society, with "strong regional accents, expressions and identities".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref><ref name="Rosen3">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}.</ref> The social structure of the United Kingdom has changed radically since the nineteenth century, with the decline in religious observance, enlargement of the middle class, and increased ethnic diversity. The population of the UK stands at around 62.5 million,<ref name="Eurostat">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> with a British diaspora of around 140 million concentrated in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States.<ref name="BritDis47" />


British people sections
Intro   History of the term    History    Geographic distribution    Culture    Classification    See also    Sources    Further reading   

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