Historically, the English population is descended from several genetically similar peoples—the earlier Britons (or Brythons), the Germanic tribes that settled in the region, including Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, who founded what was to become England (from the Old English Englaland), and the later Danes, Normans and other groups. Following the Act of Union in 1707, in which the Kingdom of England became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain, English customs and identity became closely aligned with British customs and identity.
Today, some English people have recent forbears from other parts of the United Kingdom, while some are also descended from more recent immigrants from other European countries and from the Commonwealth.
The English people are the source of the English language, the parliamentary system, the common law system and numerous major sports. These and other English cultural characteristics have spread worldwide, in part as a result of the former British Empire.