ABOUT LONDON

 

London is the capital city of England and of the United Kingdom. It is the most populous region, urban zone and metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. 
 
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.
 
London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. London had an official population of 8,308,369 in 2012, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union, and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population.
 
London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.
 
 

Geography

London is the largest urban area and capital city of the United Kingdom. Greater London covered an area of 1,579 square kilometres (610 sq mi), an area which had a population of 7,172,036 in 2001. London is a port on the Thames, a navigable river. The river has had a major influence on the development of the city. London began on the Thames' north bank and for a long time the main focus of the city remained on the north side of the Thames. 
 
 

Climate

The climate of London is broadly similar to the rest of the UK, with cool summers, mild winters, no wet or dry season, and often moderate to strong winds. Daytime winter temperatures in London are around 8 °C (46 °F), but can vary from as high as 16 °C (61 °F), down to as low as −7.4 °C (18.7 °F), as occurred during January 1987. Night time temperature's hover a little above freezing, with frosts typically on 25-45 nights, depending on location. Absolute minimum temperatures range from −10.0 °C (14.0 °F) at St James Park, in central London down to −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) at Northolt during January 1962 - the lowest official temperature in the London area. 
 
 

History of London

London, the primary city and capital of the United Kingdom has a history dating back over 2,000 years. During this time, it has grown to become one of the most significant, financial and cultural capitals of the world. It has experienced plague, devastating fire, civil war, aerial bombardment, and terrorist attacks. The City of London is its historic core.
 
Legendary foundations and prehistoric London
 
According to the legendary Historia Regum Britanniae, of Geoffrey of Monmouth, London was founded by Brutus of Troy, after he defeated the incumbent giants Gog and Magog and was known as Caer Troia, Troia Nova.
 
However, despite intensive excavations, archaeologists have found no evidence of a prehistoric major settlement in the area. There have been scattered prehistoric finds, evidence of farming, burial and traces of habitation, but nothing more substantial. 
 
Numerous finds have been made of spear heads and weaponry from the Bronze and Iron ages near the banks of the Thames in the London area, many of which had clearly been used in battle. This suggests that the Thames was an important tribal boundary.
 
 
Roman London (43-410 AD)
 
Londinium was established as a civilian town by the Romans about seven years after the invasion of AD 43. Early Roman London occupied a relatively small area, roughly equivalent to the size of Hyde Park
 
During the 2nd century Londinium was at its height and replaced Colchester as the capital of Roman Britain (Britannia). Its population was around 60,000 inhabitants. It boasted major public buildings, including the largest basilica north of the Alps, temples, bath houses, an amphitheatreand a large fort for the city garrison. 
 
At some time between 190 and 225 AD the Romans built the defensive London Wall around the landward side of the city. The wall was about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long, 6 metres (20 ft) high, and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) thick. The wall would survive for another 1,600 years and define the City of London's perimeters for centuries to come. 
 
By the 5th century the Roman Empire was in rapid decline, and in 410 AD the Roman occupation of Britain came to an end. Following this, the Roman city also went into rapid decline and by the end of the 9th century was practically abandoned.
 
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Anglo-Saxon London (5th century – 1066 AD)

Until recently it was believed that Anglo-Saxon settlement initially avoided the area immediately around Londinium. However, the discovery in 2008 of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Covent Garden indicates that the incomers had begun to settle there at least as early as the 6th century and possibly in the 5th. 

Early Anglo-Saxon London belonged to a people known as the Middle Saxons, from whom the name of the county of Middlesex is derived, but who probably also occupied the approximate area of modern Hertfordshire and Surrey.  The permanent establishment of Christianity in the East Saxon kingdom took place in the reign of King Sigeberht II in the 650s. 
 
Viking attacks dominated most of the 9th century, becoming increasingly common from around 830 onwards. London was sacked in 842 and again in 851. The Danish "Great Heathen Army", which had rampaged across England since 865, wintered in London in 871. 
 
In 1042 English rule was restored under Edward the Confessor. He was responsible for the foundation of Westminster Abbey and spent much of his time at Westminster, which from this time steadily supplanted the City itself as the center of government. 
 
Norman and Medieval London (1066 – late 15th century)
 
The new Norman regime established new fortresses within the city to dominate the native population. By far the most important of these was the Tower of London at the eastern end of the city, where the initial wooden fortification was rapidly replaced by the construction of the first stone castle in England. 
 
In 1097 William Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror began the construction of 'Westminster Hall', which became the focus of the Palace of Westminster.
 
In 1176 construction began of the most famous incarnation of London Bridge (completed in 1209) which was built on the site of several earlier wooden bridges. This bridge would last for 600 years, and remained the only bridge across the River Thames until 1739.
 
Trade grew steadily during the Middle Ages, and London grew rapidly as a result. In 1100 London's population was somewhat more than 15,000. By 1300 it had grown to roughly 80,000. London lost at least half of its population during the Black Death in the mid-14th century, but its economic and political importance stimulated a rapid recovery despite further epidemics. 
 

Modern history

Tudor London (1485–1603)
 
During the Reformation, London was the principal early center of Protestantism in England. Henry VIII's "Dissolution of the Monasteries" had a profound effect on the city as nearly all of this property changed hands. The period saw London was rapidly rising in importance amongst Europe's commercial centers. Trade expanded beyond Western Europe to Russia, the Levant, and the Americas. This was the period of mercantilism and monopoly trading companies such as the Muscovy Company (1555) and the British East India Company (1600) were established in London by Royal Charter. The latter, which ultimately came to rule India, was one of the key institutions in London, and in Britain as a whole, for two and a half centuries. 
 
The late 16th and early 17th century saw the great flourishing of drama in London whose preeminent figure was William Shakespeare. During the mostly calm later years of Elizabeth's reign, some of her courtiers and some of the wealthier citizens of London built themselves country residences in Middlesex, Essex and Surrey. 
 
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Stuart London (1603–1714)
 
The preparations for King James I becoming king were interrupted by a severe plague epidemic, which may have killed over thirty thousand people. The general meeting-place of Londoners in the day-time was the nave of Old St. Paul's Cathedral. St Paul's Churchyard was the center of the book trade and Fleet Street was a center of public entertainment. 
 
The unsanitary and overcrowded City of London has suffered from the numerous outbreaks of the plague many times over the centuries, but in Britain it is the last major outbreak which is remembered as the "Great Plague" It occurred in 1665 and 1666 and killed around 60,000 people, which was one fifth of the population. 
 
 
Great Fire of London (1666)
 
The Great Plague was immediately followed by another catastrophe, albeit one which helped to put an end to the plague. On the Sunday, 2 September 1666 the Great Fire of London broke out at one o'clock in the morning at a bakery in Pudding Lane in the southern part of the City. The fire destroyed about 60% of the City, including Old St Paul's Cathedral, 87 parish churches, 44 livery company halls and the Royal Exchange. 
 
 
18th century
 
The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London, reflecting an increasing national population, the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution, and London's role at the center of the evolving British Empire.
 
Many tradesmen from different countries came to London to trade goods and merchandise. Britain's victory in the Seven Years War increased the country's international standing and opened large new markets to British trade, further boosting London's prosperity.
 
In 1762 George III acquired Buckingham Palace (then called Buckingham House) from the Duke of Buckingham. 
 
18th-century London was dogged by crime, the Bow Street Runners were established in 1750 as a professional police force. Penalties for crime were harsh, with the death penalty being applied for fairly minor crimes. Public hangings were common in London, and were popular public events.
 
 

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19th century
 
During the 19th century, London was transformed into the world's largest city and capital of the British Empire. Its population expanded from 1 million in 1800 to 6.7 million a century later. 
 
While the city grew wealthy as Britain's holdings expanded, 19th-century London was also a city of poverty, where millions lived in overcrowded and unsanitary slums. Life for the poor was immortalized by Charles Dickens in such novels as Oliver Twist.
 
The first railway to be built in London was a line from London Bridge to Greenwich, which opened in 1836. This was soon followed by the opening of great rail termini which linked London to every corner of Britain. 
 
One of its first tasks was addressing London's sanitation problems. At the time, raw sewage was pumped straight into the River Thames. This culminated in The Great Stink of 1858. In what was one of the largest civil engineering projects of the 19th century, construction of over 2100 km of tunnels and pipes under London to take away sewage and provide clean drinking water took place. When the London sewerage system was completed, the death toll in London dropped dramatically, and epidemics of cholera and other diseases were curtailed. 
 
Many famous buildings and landmarks of London were constructed during the 19th century including:
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
  • The Royal Albert Hall
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Tower Bridge
 
 

Religion

According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious groupings are Christians (48.4 per cent), followed by those of no religion (20.7 per cent), Muslims (12.4 per cent), no response (8.5 per cent), Hindus (5.0 per cent), Jews (1.8 per cent), Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (1.0 per cent) and other (0.6 per cent).
 
London has traditionally been Christian, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known St Paul's Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river are Anglican administrative centres, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, principal bishop of the Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth. 
 

Economy

London generates approximately 20 per cent of the UK's GDP (or $446 billion in 2005); while the economy of the London metropolitan area—the largest in Europe—generates approximately 30 per cent of the UK's GDP (or an estimated $669 billion in 2005). London is one of the pre-eminent financial centres of the world and vies with New York City as the most important location for international finance.
 
 

Transport

Transport is one of the four main areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London, however the mayor's financial control does not extend to the longer distance rail network that enters London. The public transport network is administered by Transport for London (TfL) and is one of the most extensive in the world. Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London. The London Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision.
 
Forms of Transport
  • Air
  • Buses & Tram
  • Cable Car
  • Cycling
  • Port & River Boats
  • Rail
  • Roads
 

Source: Wikipedia