The English are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language . The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn (" family of the Angles"). Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom , and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
Historically, the English population is descended from several peoples — the earlier Celtic Britons (or Brythons) and the Germanic tribes that settled in Britain following the withdrawal of the Romans, including Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians. Collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, they founded what was to become England (from the Old English Englaland) along with the later Danes, Anglo-Normans and other groups. In the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England was succeeded by the Kingdom of Great Britain . Over the years, Englishcustoms and identity have become fairly closely aligned with Britishcustoms and identity in general.
Today many English people have recent forebears from other parts of the United Kingdom , while some are also descended from more recent immigrants from other Europeancountries and from the Commonwealth.
The English people are the source of the English language , the Westminster system , the common law system and numerous major sports such as cricket , football , rugby union , rugby league and tennis . These and other English cultural characteristics have spread worldwide, in part as a result of the former BritishEmpire .