It may come as a shock to those fond of quoting a world cup triumph and the outcome of two wars as signs of British superiority.
Scientists say that around half of Britons have German blood coursing through their veins.
Anybody who paid attention in their history lessons knows that tribes from northern Europe invaded Britain after the Romans left in around 410AD.
But research by leading geneticists reveals the extent to which the Germans became part of the nation’s racial mix.
Together with archaeologists who have spent years on sites in the UK, they conclude that 50 per cent of us have some German blood.
Biologists at University College in London studied a segment of the Y chromosome that appears in almost all Danish and northern German men–and found it surprisingly common in Great Britain.
Analysis of tooth enamel and bones found in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries supported these results.
German archeologist Heinrich Haerke believes ‘up to 200,000 emigrants’ crossed the North Sea, pillaging and raping and eventually settling.
The native Celts, softened by years of peace under the Romans, were no match for the raiding parties from across the North Sea.
Pottery and jewellery similar to that found in grave sites along the Elbe River in northern Germany has been unearthed in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries here.
There is also evidence the settlers remained in contact with relatives on the Continent for up to three generations.
The findings have caused a certain amount of gloating in Germany.
‘There is no use in denying it,’ wrote news magazine Der Spiegel. ‘It is clear that the nation which most dislikes the Germans were once Krauts themselves. A number of studies reinforce the intimacy of the German-English relationship.’
Anglo-Saxon is a catch-all phrase to refer to the invaders of the fifth and sixth centuries AD.
Angles came from the southern part of the Danish peninsula and gave their name to England and the Saxons came from the north German plain.
There were other tribes–such as the Jutes, from Jutland, who settled in Kent.
The Anglo-Saxons drove the Britons into Cornwall, Wales and the North, but a few centuries later faced waves of invaders themselves–Vikings from Scandinavia and then the Normans in 1066.