1.8 billion people knows much or a little English. English was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. The land is named after the Angles since the area later took their country name, England (Angland).