British people

citizens or residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies, and their descendants

Britons, British people, or the British are people from Britain[32] – either from the United Kingdom or the island of Great Britain.[33] In history, the people of the British Empire, and later the British Commonwealth, were also named British or Britons.[32][33]

British people
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Total population
British people around the world.svg
Regions with significant populations
 United Kingdom57,678,000[A][2]
 United States
 New Zealand
[7][not in the source given]
 South Africa
  • 1,603,575
  • 750,000[D]
United Kingdom British Overseas Territories247,899[13]
 United Arab Emirates240,000[C][15]
 Saudi Arabia26,000[C]
 Trinidad and Tobago25,000[C][28]
 Hong Kong

  1. British citizens of any race or ethnicity.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 People who identify of full or partial British ancestry born into that country.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 UK-born people who identify of British ancestry only.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 British citizens or nationals.
  5. British citizens by way of residency in the British overseas territories; however, not all have ancestry from the United Kingdom.

The first people to be named Britons were the people of ancient Britain, the ancient Britons.[32] The ancient Romans named the people of Britain in Latin: Britanni, lit.'Britons'.[32] People from Roman Britain called themselves in Latin: Brittones.[32] Bede used the spelling in Latin: Brettones, the spelling of which was possibly learned from the Old English word of the same meaning.[32]

Originally, the word Briton in the English language meant a person from one of the Brythonic languages-speaking peoples in Great Britain and northern France: mostly the people of Strathclyde, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.[32] This meaning of the word was used in Middle English from the 13th century and after.[32] In the 16th and 17th centuries, Briton could also be a name for Welsh people.[32]

The use of Britons to mean all the people of Britain was not common in the English language before the early 18th century.[32] It became more usual after the Acts of Union 1707 joined together the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain.[32][34] The word Briton was frequently used in the 18th and 19th centuries with the suggestion of "qualities of bravery and fortitude".[32] The rare word "Britoness" was sometimes used in the past for women from Britain.[35] Writers like Edmund Spenser, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson used it for strong women like the ancient British queen Boudica (who fought the Romans) and the English queen, Elizabeth I (whose Royal Navy defeated the Spanish Armada).[35]


  1. Richards 2004, p. 255.
  2. Population By Country of Birth and Nationality tables January 2013 to December 2013. Retrieved 04_11_2014
  3. "Selected social characteristics in the United States: 2013–2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Brits Abroad: Country-by-country", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  5. Numerical estimate based on the total percentage of population identifying their principal ancestry as Scottish, English or Welsh. "CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA, 2016". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  6. Canadians of British Isles origin with the exception of those identifying their ancestry as Irish only. "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  7. Statistics New Zealand (4 February 2009), QuickStats About Culture and Identity,, archived from the original on 19 February 2008, retrieved 18 May 2009
  8. Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. p. 26. ISBN 9780621413885. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2015. The number of people who described themselves as white in terms of population group and specified their first language as English in South Africa's 2011 Census was 1,603,575. The total white population with a first language specified was 4,461,409 and the total population was 51,770,560.
  9. FREYRE, G. Ingleses no Brasil
  10. Gilberto Freyre. "Ingleses no Brasil".
  12. Erwin Dopf. "Présentation du Royaume-Uni". Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  13. See the article entitled British overseas territories.
  14. Chavez, Lydia (23 June 1985), "Fare of the country: A bit of Britain in Argentina", The New York Times, retrieved 21 May 2009
  15. "The other special relationship: the UAE and the UK". The National. Abu Dhabi. 21 November 2010. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  16. "TablaPx".
  17. Govan, Fiona (22 April 2014). "End to Mediterranean dream for 90,000 Britons who left Spain last year".
  18. 18.0 18.1 The most popular British emigration destinations,, 13 April 2007, retrieved 24 May 2009
  19. Gishkori, Zahid (30 July 2015). "Karachi has witnessed 43% decrease in target killing: Nisar". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 3 August 2017. As many as 116,308 Afghan nationals are living as immigrants in the country, higher than any other country," Nisar told the House. Besides Afghans, 52,486 Americans, 79,447 British citizens and 17,320 Canadians are residing in the country, the interior minister added.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Brits Abroad: Asia-Pacific", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 "Brits Abroad: Europe", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  22. "Brits Abroad: Middle East", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  23. "Britannici in Italia - statistiche e distribuzione per regione".
  24. "Persons with immigrant background by immigration category, country background and sex". Statistics Norway. 1 January 2009. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  25. "Brits Abroad: Asia", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  26. "Brits Abroad: Africa", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Brits Abroad: Caribbean", BBC News, 11 December 2006, retrieved 24 May 2009
  28. "Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom by sex, by country of birth (Table 1.4)". Office for National Statistics. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2015. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Interactive Data Dissemination Service, Hong Kong Census, 2011
  30. The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons – Foreign Affairs – Fifth Report". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  31. "Ethnic Groups And Nationalities In Finland".
  32. 32.00 32.01 32.02 32.03 32.04 32.05 32.06 32.07 32.08 32.09 32.10 32.11 "Briton, n. and adj". Oxford English Dictionary Online (3rd ed.). 2008. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  33. 33.0 33.1 "British, adj. and n". Oxford English Dictionary Online (3rd ed.). 2008. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  34. Murdoch, Alexander (2007). "England, Scotland, and the Acts of Union (1707)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-96282. Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Britoness, n". Oxford English Dictionary Online (3rd ed.). 2008. Retrieved 2021-02-28.