In this enquiry we will be finding out all about the Romans and how they invaded Britain. Use the links and information below to do your own research about the Romans in Britain and learn more about who they were and what they achieved.
How did the Romans conquer Britain?
- There were two tribes in Britain who were always fighting to dominate the island: the Atrebates (pronounced at-ree-bart-ays) from Hampshire and the Catuvellauni (pronounced cat-oo-well-orn-ee) from Hertfordshire.
- The Atrebates were more Roman friendly. Their king, Verica, was thrown out of Britain by King Caradog of the Catuvellauni.
- Verica fled to Rome and asked Emperor Claudius to help him get his throne back.
- Britain had lots of rich minerals (especially gold, silver, tin, lead and iron) which the Romans wanted to mine.
- Britain was rich in farmland which the Romans wanted to tax and use to feed their armies.
- But the Romans thought Britain was at the end of the World. It was a place that no-one could conquer.
- Claudius had a speech impediment and most people thought this was because he was stupid. He needed to show that he was a great emperor.
- There was a spare army just across the Channel in Gaul (France). The previous emperor had sent them there to invade Britain, but changed his mind.
The Romans conquered the South, Midlands and East of Britain quite quickly. Claudius even visited himself, with elephants! But it took forty years to take over the West and the North of Britain. Some of the British were pleased to have the Romans take over. Others, like Queen Boudica, fought against them.
The Romans eventually set up a new region of the Empire (or ‘province’) called Britannia, but they did not go into the mountainous region of Caledonia (Scotland) in the extreme north, where the Picts lived. They eventually set the border at Hadrian’s Wall.
Click the pictures below to find out more about the invasion.
Interesting Facts about the Roman Empire in England
- The Romans also built another wall across Scotland north of Hadrian’s Wall called the Antonine Wall.
- The first Roman city in Britain was Camulodunum. Today it is the town of Colchester.
- Many current cities in England were established by the Romans including London, York, Northwich, Dover, Bath, and Canterbury.
- Celtic priests called druids were outlawed by the Emperor Claudius. They were nearly wiped out by the Romans.
- In 60 AD a British tribal Queen named Boudicca started a revolt that included burning down much of Londinium.
Who was Boudicca and what was her role in the Roman invasion?
Click the picture to the left to find out all about her!
Here are some facts and interesting pieces of information about Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe, who led a revolt against the Romans in Britain.
- Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, the ruler of the Iceni tribe. They were based in the region of Britain now called East Anglia.
- When the Romans settled in the south of England in 43 AD, they made an agreement with Prasutagus that he would be allowed to continue as ruler of the Iceni.
- However, when Prasutagus died, the Roman attitude to the Iceni people changed. The Romans took property belonging to the most importnat Iceni tribesmen and they had Boudicca whipped.
Click the pictures below to find out about life as a Roman soldier
Want to know some interesting facts?
Watch the video below to see what it was like to be a Roman.