Americans in the United Kingdom
158,434 (2001 Census)
189,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
|Regions with significant populations|
|London, Edinburgh, East Anglia, South East England, North West England|
|American English and British English|
|Christianity · Judaism · Atheism|
Americans in the United Kingdom or American Britons includes Brits born to American parents or parents with American citizenship, people from the United States who are or have become residents or citizens of the United Kingdom.
The 2001 UK Census recorded 158,434 people born in the United States. Estimates published by the Office for National Statistics suggest that, in 2009, the equivalent figure stood at 189,000. The 2011 census counted 177,185 people living in England and Wales were born in the United States.
The largest single local cluster of Americans in Britain recorded by the 2001 Census was in Mildenhall in north-west Suffolk – the site of two of the largest US Air Force bases in the world, RAF Mildenhall and nearby RAF Lakenheath. This is because of the legacy of the Cold War and NATO cooperation. 17.28 percent of Mildenhall's population were born in the US. In London, the majority of Americans are businesspeople and their families which ties in with the strong economic relations between London and Washington DC. Chelsea (where 6.53 percent of residents were born in the US in 2001) and Kensington (5.81 percent), have large American populations.
Prior to the end of the Cold War, the highest proportion of Americans resident in the United Kingdom per head of population was centred on the Scottish seaside town of Dunoon, Argyll and Bute, the former site of the Holy Loch US Navy base. At its height in the early 1990s around a quarter of Dunoon's population was American.
Some Americans in the UK are older, ex-servicemen who returned to Britain after being based in the UK during World War II.
African American immigration to the UK began as early as the late 18th century after American slaves failed in their attempt to defend the British Crown in the American Revolution. The Revolution began in the thirteen American colonies and United States in the late 1770s. The British promised freedom to any slave or rebel who fought the Americans on their behalf. African Americans made up over 20 per cent of the American population at the time, which was the second largest ethnic group in British North America only after the English and as many as 30,000 slaves escaped to British lines. The largest regiment was the Black Pioneers who followed troops under Sir General Henry Clinton. Working as soldiers, labourers, pilots, cooks, and musicians, they were a major part of the unsuccessful British war effort. African Americans who fought against the British were known as Black Patriots (modern day African Americans in the US), but rather if they were fighting for the Crown or American Independence both were mostly doing it in return for promises of freedom from enslavement or indentured servitude.
The British-American Commission identified the Black people who had joined the British before the surrender, and issued "certificates of freedom" signed by General Birch or General Musgrave. Those who chose to emigrate were evacuated by ship. The fallout of the Revolution resulted in an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 Black Americans scattering across the Atlantic world, profoundly affecting the development of Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the African nation of Sierra Leone as prominent leaders in the emerging freed black communities. To make sure no one attempted to leave who did not have a certificate of freedom, the name of any Black person on board a vessel, whether slave, indentured servant, or free, was recorded, along with the details of enslavement, escape, and military service, in a document called the Book of Negroes. Between 400 and 1,000 African Americans emigrated to London and were later given the title of Black Loyalist for their service in the British Armed forces and formed the core of the early Black British community. Musician Jimi Hendrix, an African American of Native American heritage, lived most of his career in London as part of his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Sean Lennon is a part-time resident in Great Britain and the U.S. He is the son of the Beatles singer British-born John Lennon and Japanese-born Yoko Ono, although Sean was born in New York City.
Hispanic and Latino Americans
In 2001, 306 Puerto Rican born people alone were residing in the United Kingdom (the 19th most common birthplace amongst Latin American states). Notable British residents of Puerto Rican origin or descent include actress Micaela Nevárez and former Miss World, Wilnelia Merced.
Native American and Alaskan Natives
The native American Pocahontas spent some of her life in London, after she married English explorer John Rolfe. At age 21 Pocahontas died of smallpox; she is buried in the chapel of the parish church in Gravesend. There are now many British-born people descended of this 17th-century Native American immigrant (the first of whom was her son Thomas Rolfe). More recently, notable British people of Native American descent include actress Hayley Atwell, who has dual UK-US citizenship due to her part-Native American father.
Zoë Wanamaker is a US-born British actress of Jewish-Ukrainian ancestry, Louis Theroux is the son of American writer Paul Theroux, whilst Mika is half Lebanese half 'American'. British Americans in the UK are Americans of British origin that have migrated back to the United Kingdom; many migrate for family reasons and many Americans can actually claim British citizenship through descent.
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