Fifty per cent of Britons are Germans

London: Believe it or not, around 50 per cent of Britons have German blood coursing through their veins, say geneticists.

A team, led by the University College London, studied a segment of the Y chromosome that appears in almost all Danish and northern German men — and found that it is surprisingly common in Great Britain, the `Daily Mail` said.

Analysis of tooth enamel and bones found in Anglo- Saxon cemeteries corroborated these results, they say.

German archaeologist 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. In London There is also evidence the settlers remained in contact with relatives on the continent for upto three generations, say the geneticists.

The findings have caused a certain amount of gloating in Germany. "There is no use in denying it. It`s 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," wrote `Der Spiegel` magazine.

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 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.