East Anglia is an area in the East of England, often defined as including the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
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The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia, established in the 6th century, originally consisted of the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and expanded west into at least part of Cambridgeshire, typically the northernmost parts known as The Fens.
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East Anglia has been cited by a number of scholars as being a region where settlement of continental Germanic speakers was particularly early and dense, possibly following a depopulation in the fourth century.
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East Anglia was the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England for a brief period following a victory over the rival kingdom of Northumbria around 616, and its King Rædwald was Bretwalda .
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However, this did not last; the Mercians defeated it twice over the next 40 years, and East Anglia continued to weaken in relation to the other kingdoms.
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Parts of East Anglia remained marshland until the 17th century drainage of the Fens, despite some earlier engineering work during the Roman occupation.
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East Anglia based much of its earnings on wool, textiles, and arable farming and was a rich area of England until the Industrial Revolution caused a manufacturing and development shift to the Midlands and the North.
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East Anglia was ideally suited to airfield construction, as it includes large areas of open, level terrain and is close to mainland Europe.
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Much of northern East Anglia is flat, low-lying and marshy, although the extensive drainage projects of the past centuries actually make this one of the driest areas in the UK.
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Major urban areas in East Anglia include the cities of Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough, and the town of Ipswich.
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Sections of the East Anglia Coast Main Line run through the area and Peterborough is an important interchange on this line.
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East Anglia is ideal for cycling and National Cycle Route 1 passes through it.
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