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From the History of London




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The name London is thought to have come from the Latin name Londinium, as London was founded by the Romans during their reign over the land, around 43AD – although there is some slight evidence of pre-Roman settlement. This fortified Roman settlement was the capital of the province of Britannia. Another suggestion for where the name of the city comes from could be that of the mythical leader, King Lud. It was said that Lud laid out the first set of roads in the city. His statue can be seen hidden at the church of St Dunstan’s In The West, Fleet Street.

Around AD 61 the Iceni tribe of Celts lead by Queen Boudicca stormed London and took the city from the Romans. The Celts burnt the relatively new Roman town to the ground, and archaeological digs have revealed a layer of red ash beneath the City of London, which is believed to be the burnt remains of the old Roman town. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Londinium was abandoned and a Saxon town named Lundenwic was established approximately one mile to the west in what is now Aldwich, in the 7th century. The old Roman city was then reoccupied during the late-9th or early-10th century.

Westminster was once a distinct town, and has been the seat of the English royal court and government since the medieval era. Eventually, Westminster and London grew together and formed the basis of London, becoming England’s largest – though not capital – city (Winchester was the capital city of England until the 12th century). London has grown steadily over centuries, surrounding and making suburbs of neighbouring villages and towns, farmland, countryside, meadows and woodlands, spreading in every direction. From the 16th to the early-20th century, London flourished as the capital of the British Empire.

In 1666, the Great Fire of London swept through and destroyed a large part of the City of London. Rebuilding took over 10 years, but London's growth accelerated in the 18th century and, by the early-19th century, it was the largest city in the world.

 


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