Roman conquest of Britain.
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor
Claudius, whose general
Aulus Plautius served as first
Roman Britain (
Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the
Roman Republic and
Roman Empire. In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since
expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, and Roman economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman
Iron Age, especially in the south.
Between 55 BC and the 40s AD, the status quo of tribute, hostages, and
client states without direct military occupation, begun by
Caesar's invasions of Britain, largely remained intact.
Augustus prepared invasions in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms.
 According to Augustus's
Res Gestae, two British kings,
Tincomarus, fled to Rome as suppliants during his reign,
Strabo's Geography, written during this period, says that Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered.
By the 40s AD, the political situation within Britain was apparently in ferment. The
Catuvellauni had displaced the
Trinovantes as the most powerful kingdom in south-eastern Britain, taking over the former Trinovantian capital of
Colchester), and were pressing their neighbours the
Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Julius Caesar's former ally
Caligula planned a campaign against the Britons in 40, but its execution was bizarre: according to
The Twelve Caesars, he drew up his troops in battle formation facing the
English Channel and, once his forces had become quite confused, ordered them to gather
seashells, referring to them as "plunder from the ocean due to the
Capitol and the
Modern historians are unsure if that was meant to be an ironic punishment for the soldiers' mutiny or due to Caligula's derangement. Certainly this invasion attempt readied the troops and facilities that would make Claudius' invasion possible three years later. For example, Caligula built a lighthouse at Bononia (modern
Boulogne-sur-Mer) that provided a model for the one built soon after at