In AD 43, the Roman Emperor
Claudius sent a large Roman army to invade and 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
- 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
- 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