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Are the people in Britain ethnically diverse?









"We celebrate the diversity in our country, get strength from the cultures and the races that go to make up Britain today."

Prime Minister Tony Blair, 2 October 2001

People from all cultures and ethnicities can be found in every corner of english flag Britain and each person in his or her own way has contributed to make Britain the place it is today.

British people

If you walk down a street in Britain, especially in the bigger cities you will usually see people with different hair, skin and eye colours. They may have white, brown or black skin and blonde, brown, black, or red hair, with blue, black, brown or green eyes. Many of the people you will see will be British people but they all look different because the people of Britain are a mixed race.

Not all english flagBritish people are Christian and/or White

How Britain became a mixed race society

Britain is and has always been a mixed race society. Early in our history we were invaded by Romans ( ) , Saxons ( ), Vikings ( ) and Normans () armies and later Africans were brought to Britain by force in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as slaves or servants. Over the years, thousands of people have arrived in Britain as refugees from France, Ireland, Russia, and other countries, escaping from persecution or famine in their own countries.

See immigrant timeline lower down the page.

There are British people whose parents first came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s from the Caribbean, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong and other places. Their homes are mainly in the big English cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester.

About 8% of the population of Britain today are people from other cultures and ethnicities. That is 4.6 million people.

According to a BBC Report in September 2005, immigration made up more than half of Britain's population growth from 1991 to 2001.
Read more

The Guardian newspaper reported in 2007 that the latest government estimate for long-term net immigration to the UK is 145 000 a year.

New Cultures

People moving to Britain have brought their own cultures and try to keep two cultures alive. An excellent example of this is the Notting Hill Carnival which is celebrates the Caribbean Culture and is now a very big part of the British life today.

250 different languages are spoken in London every day.

Timeline: Immigration to Britain

1100s
Merchants from Netherlands and settle
1500s

Queen Mary marries Philip of Spain

Dutch and French Protestants settle

1600s
Asians brought to England as Slaves
1700s

Refugees from the French revolution (1789) arrive

First records of Chinese sailors in London

1800s

Jewish arrivals fleeing persecution in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.

Irish settlers escaping poverty during the famine in Ireland.

Trade brings Indian and Chinese people to main ports

Jews flee to UK from Russia and Poland

1900s


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1914 - More than 250,000 Belgian refugees fled to the UK, escaping the fighting of the First World War.

1930s - Refugees from Nazi oppression arrive in the UK

1940 - 1960 - Polish people homeless because of the War, invited to come to UK

1948 - The boat Windrush brings 492 Jamaicans to the UK – thousands more follow
Immigration from Caribbean encouraged to help rebuild post-war Britain

1950s and 60s - Settlers from other new Commonwealth nations arrive – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh


1970s - East African, Asians and Vietnamese arrive

1972 - Asians expelled from Uganda; 27000 admitted to UK

1980s - African community expands
Refugees arrive from Eastern Europe – Romania and former Yugoslavia

1991 - Break up of the government of Somalia lead to 7,500 applications being made to the UK many of which are accepted.

1992 - 1997 - 2,500 Bosnians enter the UK as refugees following the break up of former Yugoslavia

1999 - Renewed heavy fighting in Sri Lanka leads to 5,130 applications for asylum being made to the UK.

Population by Ethnic Group, April 2001:

 
Total Population
Minority ethnic population
Thousands
per cent
per cent
White
54,154
92.1

Mixed

677
1.2
14.6
Asian or Asian British
Indian
1,053
1.8
22.7
Pakistani
747
1.3
16.1
Bangladeshi
283
0.5
6.1
Other Asian
248
0.4
5.3
Black or Black British
Black Caribbean
566
1.0
12.2
Black African
485
0.8
10.5
Black Other
98
0.2
2.1
Chinese
247
0.4
5.3
Other
231
0.4
5.0
All minority ethnic population
4,635
7.9
100
All population
58,789
100


Source: Census, Office for National Statistics

People from minority ethnic groups were more likely to live in England than in the rest of the United Kingdom. They made up 9 per cent of the population of England in 2001 compared with 2 per cent of the population of both Wales and Scotland and 1 per cent of the population of Northern Ireland . Nearly half (45 per cent) of the total minority ethnic population live in London.

For more information visit:

The British Studies website

The Moving Here website
Moving Here gives free access to around 200,000 digitised items on the history of migration to England over the last 200 years. Items ranging from official documents, newspapers and maps to oral histories, film clips, photographs and objects.

 

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites projectbritain.com and primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.