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Invaders – Pre-intermediate (Comprehension)

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England has been a united country since the eleventh century. Before that, several groups of people had invaded the British Isles. Between 700 and 400 BC, the Celts came to Britain from modern Belgium. There had been people in the British Isles before the Celts, but we don't know much about them. The Celts were farmers and traders and they had settled all over Europe from the Black Sea to Spain.

In 43 AD, Britain became part of the Roman Empire. This wasn't the first Roman invasion. Julius Caesar had brought his army to Britain a hundred years before, but they hadn't stayed long. When the Romans came in 43 AD they built roads, towns and castles. The Romans stayed in Britain for over 300 years, but in 410 AD, the last of the Roman soldiers left. Tribes from Germany had started to attack the empire and the army was needed to defend Rome.

After the Romans had left, the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain. The Anglo-Saxons were from tribes in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. They pushed the Celts into Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Anglo-Saxons gave the country its modern name. The Romans and Celts had called the country 'Britannia', but the Anglo-Saxons named it 'Angle-land' or England.

Four hundred years after the Anglo-Saxons had settled in England, the Vikings from Denmark and Norway attacked the country. The English kings gave the Vikings the north-eastern part of England. The Vikings also attacked other parts of Europe. The king of France gave them land, too. It was called 'the land of Northmen' or Normandy.

In 1066 William, the Duke of Normandy, invaded England. At the Battle of Hastings, the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxons. King Harold of England was killed, William became the new king. The Norman Conquest was an important turning point for English history, and it created the English language. The Anglo-Saxons had previously spoken a language similar to German. The Normans spoke French. Therefore, modern English has developed as a mixture of German and French.

Comprehension and Grammar Questions

1. Look through the text and put these names into the correct order (time).

  1. Anglo-Saxons
  2. Romans
  3. Celts
  4. Normans
  5. Vikings

2. Answer the following questions:

  1. Where did the name England come from?
  2. Where did the Vikings come from?
  3. What is the other name for 'the land of northmen'?

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3. Choose either the past perfect tense or the past simple tense for each verb in brackets in the following sentences:

  • a) Other people ___ (live) in Britain before the Celts ___ (arrive).

  • b) The Celts ___ (settle) all over Europe before they ___ (come) to Britain.

  • c) When the Romans ___ (leave) in 410 AD, they ___ (be) in Britain for over 300 years.

  • d) The Romans ___ (go back) to Rome, because tribes from Germany ___ (invade) the empire.

  • e) After he ___ (win) the Battle of Hastings, William ___ (become) king.