England's first known inhabitants were cave dwellers who hunted and fished and lived under Stone Age conditions until after 2000 B.C. They probably were a blend of various peoples who came from the continent of Europe before glaciers separated the British Isles from the continent.

Celtic tribes from central Europe apparently came in large numbers from about 600 B.C. They knew how to make weapons of iron and bronze and soon became dominant. Among the Celts were the Brythons (Britons), after whom the Romans called the area Britain. The Celtic Belgae settled in the island's eastern part in the first century B.C.