In the reign of Augustus, Agrippa fixed the newly mixed colony of Suevi and Menapii at Tournai, which continued throughout the period of Roman occupation to be of importance.
At this time the Visigoths who settled in Spain early in the 5th century were menaced by two powerful enemies, the Suevi who had a small kingdom in the north-west of the peninsula, and the Byzantines who had answered Athanagild's appeal for help by taking possession of a stretch of country in the south-east.
He turned first against the Byzantines, who were defeated several times; he took Cordova and chastised the Suevi; and then by stern measures he destroyed the power of those unruly and rebellious chieftains who had reduced former kings to the position of ciphers.
Local histories containing more or less ecclesiastical material were written in the 6th and following centuries by Jordanes (History of the Goths), Gregory of Tours (History of the Franks), Isidore of Seville (History of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi), Bede (Ecclesiastical History of England), Paulus Diaconus (History of the Lombards), and others.
In the 5th century the province was overrun by successive invaders - Vandals, Suevi and Visigoths - from the first of whom it may possibly derive its name.