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When was British first used

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BobbyMacQ

Sceala Clann T.D.
Location: Derry roots






Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     When was British first used

When did people from Britain start calling themselves British?
Answer is --- not that long. Turns out even the English people never generally called themselves British, or considered themselves as British, until long after WW2.

Got talking with British rose, a real nice English lady about the age and use of the term British.
British rose said that the term British- was very old and was first used thousands of years ago. Is this true?
Is there, or was there ever, a British language, or any proof that a ancient race called the British ever existed.


I told British rose about these Irish forums and a different version of the history of the British. Here I have read clear reasoning to conclude that the term British is only two hundred and fifty years old, and a far more recent habit in common usage.

All points borrowed from previous topics -

Not until the 1980's and Margaret Thatcher was British a common term for English people.
The historical evidence suggests that the concept of British to describe a nationality is not that old. History records show that he first real general usage of British - was invented for political purpose around the turbulence of the American revolution. One side against the other. British loyalists against American patriots.

So British is a late 18th century invention.
British and British Isles are not ancient terms or natural references, both are political terms, inventions for claims of the expanding Crown empire.

My friend just dismissed these ideas as ridiculous, and insisted that she was right. British rose got quite angry when I suggested that insistence will never be a credible substitute for proof.
I am not sure my friend is ready to hear that the United States of America is - in historical fact older than the United Kingdom.

One very interesting point clarified, British rose said that her grandparents never referred to themselves as British, they referred to themselves as English.
I think British rose now has her own doubts about how old the use of the term British is.

Someone here said it best.

It does appear that most who are born to a proud British family, are brainwashed into repeating myths about the British and England. These people are educated in selected stories, myths of the distant past, which have been pieced together to suit a new story, which is then called history. What it amounts to is nothing more than a book of fanciful stories that no one can prove or disprove.
The more obvious among the blissfully ignorant are those who insist Ireland is part of the British isles. They literally believe the term is natural and ancient, when in reality it is neither.
Even the world of rugby has moved on from the ignorant anti Irish racist past. The imposition of one culture over the other. The RFU now fully recognize Ireland is not British, renaming the touring squad The British and Irish lions.

There is zero ancient historical credibility for the British Isles. We all now know that was a political reference, designed to smother and incorporate the Irish.
The Islands are no more logically or credibly British than the Continent of America is US American.
Than Poland or Germany was really Soviet or by extension Russian.
All political terms and claims.

Not too different to the Bible. People repeat as fact, the parts they want to believe. No proof, or credibility needed for such people who want to believe.
I guess the British myth making example, proves some people need to own a past, even if it is a totally invented history.
Myths can be powerful, they can provide contentment to people who have little real knowledge, or personal family culture. Myths can provide a common bond to people who may otherwise have little in common. Disparate groups identify with the myth and call it history. National mindsets are born this way.
Still, no desire can change the real past, or makes a British race or identity ancient.
The historical evidence suggests that the concept of British to describe a nationality, and the first real usage was invented for a purpose around the turbulence of the American revolution.
British is by historical evidence only a late 18th century invention.

Help me solve this question.
Anyone know when the term British was first used?
Anyone know when the term British was first regularly used by English people?
Next question has to be, how old is the term English.

It is a historical fact that a distinct and recognizable English language is first mentioned towards the end of the middle ages.
French was the language of the Normans, right? Germanic the language of Saxons. Neither could have naturally spoken English, it never existed.
So we can conclude that the English nation started quite recently, somewhere around 1500.
And the The historical evidence suggests that the concept of British to describe a nationality, and the first real usage was invented for a purpose around the turbulence of the American revolution.
British is by historical evidence only a late 18th century invention.
Even English people never generally called themselves, or considered themselves as British, not until long after WW2.

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