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The Establishment of the Celtic Tribes

Introduction

Tacitus:
Who the first inhabitants of Britain were,
whether natives or immigrants, remains obscure;
one must remember we are dealing with barbarians.

The way in which the individual tribes developed is not known. The Celtic langauge and its dialects did not have a written form, so the recording of history had to be done orally and committed to memory. Even if they could write, the tribes did not have the advanced techniques of wax tablets the Romans possessed. History was passed on by word of mouth in the form of stories and legends. As you can imagine many of these tales became exaggerated overtime and told of great heroes, many of which never existed.

What we do know is that there was significant movement of peoples between lands and countries. Most of the British tribes began their existence in Britain and evolved from Bronze Age and pre-Bronze Age communities. We also know that many tribes, Atrebates, Belgae, Parisi for example, originated in Europe. They came to Britain as traders and settled here, making their own territories. The Belgae are included as an immigrant tribe, but it is widely believed they were actually a subset of the Atrebates.

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