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People have been coming to Britain from other countries for thousands of years. Some have stayed for only a short while, going back home or moving on. Others have made homes here. Those that settle are called immigrants.
The history of migration into Britain is like a tapestry that tells a rich and exciting story, with interwoven threads of bright, contrasting, sometimes clashing colours.
This story is not without hardship. There have often been difficult journeys to get here, leaving family and friends behind. Some of those who have settled come as refugees, driven from their homes by natural disasters, persecution or war. From time to time they may have encountered prejudice and discrimination but have gone on to settle and establish communities.
Over the centuries immigrants have influenced every aspect of life in Britain from clothes, food and language, to religion and politics. As early as the 1st century AD the Roman army built Britain's road system.
In the 16th century French Protestants (Huguenots) brought with them skills in silk weaving and the making of clocks and guns. Irish labourers worked on the construction of new roads, canals and railways in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jewish and Irish tailors in the 19th century, and immigrants from Cyprus, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 20th century, have made tailored and ready to wear clothes.
Curry and Chow Mein, Italian ice cream, smoked salmon and fried fish have all been introduced by people from overseas and are now part of everyone's diet. Even 'English' is based on the languages spoken by Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavian Vikings and Norman French invaders, with words added from the languages of other immigrants.
Immigrants have brought new musical sounds like reggae and calypso. They are sporting heroes and founders of many well-known businesses. Today health and transport services continue to be supported by nurses, doctors and managers from overseas. In towns and cities there are not only churches but synagogues, mosques, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples.
Continue to read more about the incredible story of migration, past and present or discover the experiences of Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian migrants to England as told through pictures, text and personal stories on the rest of the Moving Here website.
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