Sub Topics: Birth of English
Key Words: Old English, West Germanic, Saxons, Angles, Jutes,
Old English, a variant of West Germanic, was spoken by Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. In Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), completed in A.D. 731, the Northumbrian cleric Bede reported that the Germanic settlers of Anglo-Saxon England came from "three very powerful Germanic tribes, the Saxons, the Angles and the Jutes." According to tradition, the Jutes were the first to arrive, in 449. Settling in Britain, the invaders drove the indigenous Celtic-speaking peoples, notably the Britons, to the north and west. As time went on, Old English evolved further from the original Continental form, and regional dialects developed.