When the Romans invaded Britain in 55 BC, they found the natives to be resplendent in body art. In his account of the Gallic Wars, Caesar wrote, “All the Britons dye themselves with woad (the blue dye derived from the woad, or glastum plant) and it makes their appearance in battle more terrible.” Because of their appearance, they became known throughout Europe as the Pretani, a Celtic word meaning the ‘painted’ or ‘tattooed’ ones. From that, the name Britain was eventually derived. When the Normans arrived in 1066, they too discovered the British fondness for tattoos. In the 12th Century, the chronicler, William of Malmesbury, described how tattooing was one of the first practices the Normans adopted from the natives.
To learn more, click on the BBC Future article, The name for Britain comes from our love of tattoos.