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The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has two possible origins.It either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover (the only part of Britain visible from the European mainland) The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago.
The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages.
Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later.
England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.
The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations.
The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago.
After the last ice age only large mammals such as mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained.
England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England.
However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the west (for example, Dartmoor and the Shropshire Hills).
Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans.
Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes.
During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe.