At school I remember learning about the Anglo-Saxons and Jutes but as I grew up I forgot about the Jutes and where they lived. Well into adulthood and research, they came back to me. They were the folk who inhabited the first 'Anglo-Saxon' kingdom (although they were not from the Angle nor Saxon tribes!)
The story is wrapped in legend but elements, as always, will probably be true. The Briton King Vortigern was struggling to fend off enemies, such as the Picts and Scots, so invited the Germanic brothers Hengst and Horsa as mercenaries. Their reward would be the south east corner of the land: modern day Kent. The newcomers became known as the Cantware (sometimes Cantaware) and Kent is a derivative of that name.
Kent became a strong independent kingdom and is traditionally included in the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy. Their peak was in the late sixth century as following that Kent was often subject to takeover by other kingdoms, notably Offa's Mercia in the eighth century.
Kent's location meant that trade was always viable. Although the kingdom was distinct in its identity from the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, for example, in the way that land was measured and inheritance patterns, archaeological evidence shows that a mix of peoples settled there or had a cultural influence. Probably other Germanic tribes arrived with the Jutes or moved later, but also grave goods suggest a strong link with the Franks. We know that the Frankish and Kentish rulers intermarried. This would have helped Kent's position to a large extent, particularly from invasion, but the import taxes and tolls would have contributed greatly to their wealth. It was a rich and desirable kingdom.
There is very little archaeological evidence found in settlement but plenty from grave goods and written texts, Kent giving us the earliest writing in England. By the early seventh century the texts give details of a series of kings and their laws.
Dark Ages Kent was roughly the same size as the modern county of Kent today. Canterbury is in this county as well, the name holding the clues. It is known as the 'garden of England' with its cultivated stately homes and landscape of orchards and hop production and the wonderful white cliffs of Dover. To this day, Kent is still an affluent part of Britain where the rich people retreat to.