^ While England does not have its own legislative assembly, a Legislative Grand Committee composed of only the 533 MPs representing English constituencies can scrutinise and vote on bills going through parliament which only affect England.
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 English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.
England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the north (for example, the Lake District and Pennines) and in the west (for example, Dartmoor and the Shropshire Hills). The capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union.[nb 1] England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.
The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe that was less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons (Eald-Seaxe) of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England (Sasunn); similarly, the Welsh name for the English language is "Saesneg".
An alternative name for England is Albion. The name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the AristotelianCorpus, specifically the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne". But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written later in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has two possible origins. 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) or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, that is attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former presumably served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend.