The First and Second Anglo Empire

The First and Second Anglo Empire 1The Angles were a North Germanic people who lived somewhere between present-day Denmark and Germany, and the origin of the name has often been associated with fishing or sea bays. When they arrived in the British Isles around 4-500 AD, they were met by Celtic tribes who were defeated and slowly pushed westwards into present-day Wales.

The conquerors were accompanied by other neighbouring Germanic peoples, namely the Jutes and especially the Saxons, hence the name Anglo-Saxons.  And during the Viking Age, Danish Vikings conquered the country and incorporated it into the reign of Canute the Great. And in 1066, the Normans subjugated the kingdom, a people who only a few generations earlier were also northerners.

The Anglo-Saxon identity remained strong, however, and is still there today. The English are thus a people with a strong Germanic and North Germanic character. Their proximity to the sea made them good fishermen and sailors. A few centuries later, they would subjugate a quarter of the world, colonising the most remote corners of the planet.

The contribution of the Anglo-Saxons to the development and culture of the West should not be underestimated. And their descendants are still in power. The United States is a creation of the Anglosphere, and may well be interpreted by future historians as the Second Anglo Empire, whereas the first was the British Empire.

The British Empire died after the Second World War, when the colonies became independent, and the United States became the new superpower. The Americans, who had also sprung from the British colonial empire, took over the baton of the mother country and soon became the leading power in the world.

This shift in power within the Anglosphere is partly reminiscent of the Roman Empire, which split up, and after a while the eastern Greek-speaking half became dominant. The Eastern Romans are often called Byzantines to distinguish them from the first and genuine empire that arose in Latin-speaking Italy.

Perhaps all this is worth bearing in mind, as many predict that the US will eventually lose its status as the sole superpower, and that the dollar will lose its role as the dominant world currency. Nor are the Americans likely to lead in economic, scientific and cultural achievement. Which would potentially mark the end of the Anglo-Saxon sphere’s 200-year world dominance.