Although much emphasis has been placed on 17th-century English exploration and overseas settlement, immigration to England from beyond the British Isles also was critical in shaping English national identity. Immigrant merchants and their English-born children often faced discrimination, even though by the 18th century "it was no longer clear who was English." Immigrant children and naturalized citizens, or "reputed strangers," although legally English in the eyes of the state, continuously had to fight for their economic rights, such as equal taxation, against the prejudices of merchant guilds and the City of London. Neither the English Civil War nor increased naturalization in the mid-17th century had much effect on this conflict, which remained based on divergent notions of belonging with regard to birth and ancestry.
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