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The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries.England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.

The Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores.

It either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover (the only part of Britain visible from the European mainland) The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago.

The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago.

The earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late ninth century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

The term was then used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", and it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was then part of the English kingdom of Northumbria.

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