They must have traded with the Phoenicians (whom a student of history finds mentioned in most historical works as professional traders of the ancient world); in this case the Phoenicians were attracted by the British tin and lead (\"the Tin Islands\" they called them) which were taken by those traders to the Continent, to Gaul and the Netherlands.
It was a patriarchal clan society based on common ownership of land. Soon the primitive ways of land-tilling began to give way to improved methods.
It was then that social differentiation began to develop. Even slight technical improvements created opportunities for the tribal chiefs to use the labour of the semi-dependent native population. Along with the accumulation of wealth the top elements of the clans and tribes showed tendencies of using military force to rob other tribes.
Fortresses were built on hilltops, tribal centers in fact, towns began to appear in the more wealthy south-east; true, they were at first no more than large groups of wattle-and-clay houses encircled by a sort of fortified fence. Among the first towns mentioned are such as Verulamium, Carnulodunum, Londinium. The population of the towns grew apace. Some of the inhabitants of the continental countries trading with the British Celts, such as the Celts of Gaul, etc. came over to Britain and settled in Kent, contributing to the civilization of that part of Britain since they could teach the British Celts some useful arts. The British craftsmen perfected their skill mostly in bronze work and learned to give an adequate expression to the subtle artisticism of the Celtic spirit. Their characteristic curvilinear design, often a composition in circular shapes, is to be found on weapons, vases, domestic utensils, etc.
The Celts were good warriors, as later invaders had a chance to find out. Celtic war-chariots were famous even beyond the limits of the country. They were reliably built to hold one man standing up to drive and two more to do the fighting.
The chariot itself was a destructive force, the well-trained horses trampling down the enemy and the wheels fixed with sharp knives or swords, rotating with the wheel movement, a grave menace to everything living that chanced to be in the way.
The Celts of the British Isles were heathens until Christianity was brought to them by later invaders, the Romans. Their religion was a weird mixture of heathenism, that is the worship of certain Gods and Goddesses, with the worship of the Sun and Moon, and of the Serpent, the symbol of wisdom. The priests were called Druids, and their superior knowledge was taken for magic power. Thus, their temples were so superior to the general run of buildings that the believers were sure they had profited by some supernatural assistance in their construction. The Druids themselves must have been well pleased with this sort of reputation and enhanced its spell holding awe-inspiring vigils and observing terrible night rites in open-air temples arranged somewhere in dark woods called Sacred Groves.
The rites were associated with bloody sacrifice usually of animals but sometimes human beings, which increased the Druids\' power and authority over the masses.
By the end of the B.C. era there were attempts at unification. At the time of the Romans\' first expedition (the middle of the 1st c. B.C.) Carnulodunum is believed to have been the capital of a powerful chief, Cassivelaun; some historians mention the word \"king\" in this connection. With the beginning of our era royal power in the land of the Britons began to unite great areas. Thus, from 5 A.D. to 40 A.D. the Belgic tribal chief Cunobelin (Shakespear\'s Cym-beline) united the Celtic tribes of southern Britain under his rule and called himself, after the Roman fashion, \"Rex Britonum\" that is \"King of the Britons\" — a title which was impressed on the coins that he struck in his capital, Camulodunum.
The act was surely imitative, for formerly the Celts used rude bars of metal for coins, and it shows that Roman influence was penetrating into Britain. It was this king who invited Roman traders and craftsmen to come and settle in Britain. Some historians attribute the origin of London to his reign (the Celtic phrase Llyn-din, \"Lake-Fort\" is believed by some to have given the town its name) and archaeologists state that the first wooden London bridge was built at that time. The city was called Londinium, for this was the time when, after Caesar\'s first \"reconnaissance\" raid in 55 B.C. the Romans started infiltrating into the country as immigrants and traders bringing in eastern luxuries and taking out corn, metals and slaves. Thus, ground was prepared for the Roman conquest.
On the eve of the Roman conquest the Brythons were at the stage of decay corroding the primitive community structure; elements of a new, class society were appearing, with patriarchal slavery as a new feature. The rapid economic development of that time led to a weakening of the Celtic clan structure and that to a certain extent may account for the comparative ease with which the conquest was effected.
Many historians attribute the interest that the Romans took in the British Isles to purely strategic reasons.
The thing is, that Gaul, at that time but freshly conquered by the Roman Empire, completely subdued and reduced to the status of its province, was restless under the Roman yoke and Britain not infrequently figured as a sort of Celtic resistance centre.
Other reasons could also be found, however. Under the Belgic tribes, with the introduction of the heavy iron plough, agricultural advancement elevated Britain to the position of a major corn-producing country. Now, Rome, more and more parasitical with each decade, wanted food badly — hence Caesar\'s expedition in 55 B.C. when a 10-thousand-strong Roman army was repulsed by the iron-weapon-possessing Celts with the help of the Channel storms.
A year later the expedition was repeated with an increased army of 25 thousand, and Camulodunum, the probable capital, was taken possession of. However, it led to practically nothing more serious than Caesar\'s departure with Celtic hostages and a promise of ransom which he doesn\'t seem to have ever returned to claim. But Roman influence, nevertheless, came in other ways than that of military conquest. Trade contacts were developing all through the ninety years separating Caesar\'s attempted invasion from the actual conquest. That took place in 43 A. D. when the Emperor Claudius sent a 50-thousand strong army which landed in Kent and crossed the Thames. Since that time up to 410 Britain was one of the remote provinces of the Roman Empire. It was military occupation that the Romans established, and it lasted 4 centuries.
The Celtic tribal chiefs must have been sensible enough to see when they were beaten and so agreed to recognize the Romans as their rulers. That could not be said about the wide masses of the people, though. These openly expressed their discontent caused by the Romans\' unabashed and unlimited plunder as well as their endless taxations. In 51 A.D. the wild tribes of the Celtic North headed by Caradoc or Caractacus, were defeated, and the priests of the Britons, the Druids, were expelled from the island of Mona where they had their religious centre (modern Anglesey off the northern coast of North Wales). But the people\'s resistance grew to a pitch in 59-61 A.D. when the Celts of what is now Norfolk rallied and, increasing their numbers with their progress like a rolling snowball, in an irresistible avalanche poured upon the Roman strongholds; Roman military camps were razed to the ground, separate Roman detachments were annihilated, and Camulodunum, Verulamium and Londinium were destroyed and burnt down; thousands of Roman settlers and tneir adherents were killed. The rebellion was headed by Boadicea whom the Celts called their queen (a statue to this brave lady can be viewed as a monument of historical importance in London to-day); she used to rush at the invaders in her war chariot, with her daughters to fight, at the head of the vast army of freedom-loving Celtic people. After the defeat of the uprising, to escape humiliation she took poison together with her daughters.