In the 5th century Britain was invaded by the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, the Angles and the Jutes who used the runic alphabet. The Anglo-Saxons gave Britain its new name, England, which means the land of the Angles. Wales meant “ the land of the foreigners”. Other Celts were driven towards the North, to what is now Scotland. The Anglo-Saxons created an heptarchy, that is seven kingdoms; they were : East Anglia, Northumbria, Essex, Sussex and Wessex. Later they became just three kingdoms.
The Anglo-Saxon society was characterized by the king and other important people who belonged to a kind of hereditary aristocracy. The Eorls and the Thegns who were warriors. Their law was based on custom. The peasants were the churls and the slaves were at the bottom of society.