Britain had a “Brexit” in 2016 that, in short, meant it would be leaving the European Union. People on both sides of the issue (those who voted to “leave” and those who voted to “remain”) got very emotional about the way the voting turned out. This “Brexit” is very significant to your British relatives. The first “Brexit”, however, may have meant a lot to your ancestors.
It can be said that Britain’s first “Brexit” happened in 286 AD. The Roman province of Britannia decided to break away from Roman control and set up their own independent empire. That empire lasted about a decade.
One might imagine that there was some controversy about Britannia considering leaving the Roman empire. Being a part of it enabled Britannia to enjoy free trade and the use of a single currency. People in the Roman empire had free movement from one part to another. Rome supplied Britannia with nice Roman roads and good sanitation (for the time). Rome also supplied Britannia with a system of justice and a lot of security.
Why would the people who lived in the Roman province of Britannia want to leave all of that? There appear to be two main reasons. One big problem was that the people of Britannia had to pay high taxes to Rome. Another problem was that Rome required an intense amount of labor.
In addition Rome was entering a proto-feudal period. This system gave the people who were large landowners, and their estates, certain rights under law. This group was mostly made up of members of the senatorial aristocracy. Life became harder for people who were poor (and who lacked access to the rights of the rich people).
There was a man named Mausaeus Carasius who was born in Menapia (which is called Belgium today). He became a Roman sailor, and eventually earned a promotion. He was appointed by Maxmian to take care of the pirates that were sailing down the channel and attacking Rome.
A story was spread that Carasius was actually allowing the pirates to sail down the channel if he got to take a percentage of their “takings”. It is unclear whether this was true or not, but Maxmian believed it to be true. He declared Carasius to be an outlaw.
Carasius immediately went to Roman Britannia and convinced the people to “Brexit” – to leave the Roman empire. It’s been said that he played up the problems in a Roman controlled Britannia. He then declared himself emperor of Britannia (free of Rome) – and the people accepted him. One of the first thing he did was make coins, some of which called him “Restorer of Britain”. This “Brexit” lasted ten years.
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