Egbert the Saxon lived at the same time as did Harun-al-Rashid and Charlemagne. He was the first king who ruled all England as one kingdom. Long before his birth the people who are known to us as Britons lived there, and they gave to the island the name Britain .
But Britain was invaded by the Romans under Julius Cesar and his successors, and all that part of it which we now call England was added to the Empire of Rome. The Britons were driven into Wales and Cornwall , the western sections of the island.
The Romans kept possession of the island for nearly four hundred years. They did not leave it until 410, the year that Alaric sacked the city of Rome . At this time the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain .
Some years before this the Saxons, Angles and Jutes, German tribes, had settled near the shores of the North Sea . They learned much about Britain ; for trading vessels, even at that early day, crossed the Channel. Among other things, the men from the north learned that Britain was crossed with good Roman roads, and dotted with houses of brick and stone; that walled cities had taken the place of tented camps, and that the country for miles round each city was green every spring with waving wheat, or white with orchard blossoms.
After the Roman legions had left Britain , the Jutes, led, it is said, by two great captains named Hengist and Horsa, landed upon the southeastern coast and made a settlement.
Britain proved a pleasant place to live in, and soon the Angles and Saxons also left the North Sea shores and invaded the beautiful island.
The new invaders met with brave resistance. The Britons were headed by King Arthur, about whom many marvelous stories are told. His court was held at Caerleon (car'-le-on), in North Wales , where his hundred and fifty knights banqueted at their famous "Round Table."
The British king and his knights fought with desperate heroism. But they could not drive back the Saxons and their companions and were obliged to seek refuge in the western mountainous parts of the island, just as their forefathers had done when the Romans invaded Britain . Thus nearly all England came into the possession of the three invading tribes.