Geography has asserted, and history has confirmed, the distinctive character of East Anglia. Bordered on all sides by formidable barriers — to the east and north the sea, to the south the Essex forest and to the west the Fens — the region maintained its independence as a separate kingdom in Anglo-Saxon times. In relation to the Continent, however, its eastern coast was more open and inviting than other parts of Britain; and both invasion and commerce could be attempted more readily. By early Norman times, East Anglia was the most populous part of England ; and in the Middle Ages the export of raw wool to the Lower Rhine gradually developed into a native textile industry, centred on Norwich and the Stour Valley. For centuries up to the period known as the Industrial Revolution, East Anglia was the most important industrial region of England. It contributed more than the share we should now expect to the formative events of English history; in the seventeenth century its Puritan inhabitants made up a large pro portion both of Cromwell’s Ironsides in the Civil War and of the earliest settlers of New England.


Personal Influence Social Geography Irish Immigrant Unionist Vote Scottish Election 
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Copyright information

© Henry Pelling 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.St. John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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