Oppenheimer continues that the majority of the people of the British Isles share genetic commonalities with the Basques, ranging from highs of 90% in Wales to lows of 66% in East Anglia.

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At that time, it was "the long held belief that the Welsh were descendants of the ancient Britons and that they spoke 'the British tongue The Historia Regum Britanniae chronicled the lives of legendary kings of the Britons in a narrative spanning 2000 years, beginning with the Trojans founding the ancient British nation and continuing until the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 7th century forced the Celtic Britons to the west, i.e. This legendary Celtic history of Great Britain is known as the Matter of Britain.

The Matter of Britain, a national myth, was retold or reinterpreted in works by Gerald of Wales, a Cambro-Norman chronicler who in the 12th and 13th centuries used the term British to refer to the people later known as the Welsh.

Modern studies using DNA analysis, popularised by the geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer and others, increasingly suggest that three-quarters of Britons share a common ancestry with the hunter-gatherers who settled in Atlantic Europe during the Paleolithic era, Despite the separation of the British Isles from continental Europe following the last glacial period, the genetic record indicates that the British and Irish broadly share their closest common ancestry with the Basque people, who live in the Basque Country near the Pyrenees.

The population of the UK stands at around 62.5 million, Ancient Greek grammarian, and the Etymologicum Genuinum, a 9th-century lexical encyclopaedia, describe Bretannus (the Latinised form of the Ancient Greek Βρεττανός) as the Celtic national forefather of the Britons.

Following the Roman departure from Britain, the island of Great Britain was left open to invasion by pagan, seafaring warriors such as Saxons and Jutes, who gained control in areas around the south east.

However, the term Britannia persisted as the Latin name for the island.

The Historia Brittonum claimed legendary origins as a prestigious genealogy for Brittonic kings, followed by the Historia Regum Britanniae which popularised this pseudo-history to support the claims of the Kings of England.

British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals.

When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the ancient Britons, the indigenous Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain, south of the River Forth.