Short History of London


London is an old city.

It grew up around the first point where the Roman invaders found the Thames narrow enough to build a bridge. There has been a “London Bridge” in the same area ever since.

They founded a Celtic settlement then known as Londinium and later they had turned it into a large port and important trading centre with a long wall of stone and brick. Inside the wall low houses were built with bright red tiled roofs.

The Tower of London was founded by Julius Caesar and in 1066 rebuilt by William the Conqueror. It was used as a fortress, a royal residence and a prison. Now it is a museum and also the place where the Crown Jewels are kept.

Time passed. London grew and became a great city. The coming of the railway changed London for ever. The first underground railway was opened in 1863 between Paddington and the City.

Today London is the capital of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

There are many places of interest in it and this city is well worth visiting.

Nearly 2,000 years ago:

The Romans invaded Britain. They built a town beside the River Thames, and named it Londinium.

By the year 200:

Londinium was the biggest town in Britain. It had a bustling market square, a fort for Roman soliders, and an arena where savage gladiator battles were fought.

Around 400:

The Romans left Britain. Over the next six hundred years, people called the Saxons, and then the Vikings, lived in London. Westminster Abbey was built.

1066:

The Norman ruler William the Conqueror took control of England. Оnly around 15,000 people lived in London.

1300:

London had developed into one of the world’s biggest cities, with around 80,000 people. Its twisting streets were alive with shops and stalls. Horses were bought and sold at Smithfield Market.

In the 1400s

The city expanded, swallowing nearby villages. Grand mansions, such as Banqueting House, and lively playhouses like Shakespeare’s Globe appeared.

In the 1500s:

King Henry VIII had St. James’s Palace built. Ships such as the Golden Hinde set sail from London’s busy docks.

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1665 — 1666

The Great Plague and the Great Fire ravaged London.

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In the 1700s:

London was quickly rebuilt after the fire. Elegant houses were laid around spacious gardens. The riverbanks were crowded with factories, and the population boomed to around 6 million. Parts of London became miserable slums, festering with disease.

1830-1860:

In 1837, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace. Three years later, building began on the Houses of Parliament. Then, in 1851, an exhibition was held in Hyde Park to celebrate Britain’s greatest achievements. The V&A and the Science Museum were built from its profits.

The first underground train line opened in London. Steam trains rumbled over London’s bridges, bringing thousands of new people into the city.

Early in the 1900s:

London’s growing train network meant that the city itself grew too, as people moved to greener suburbs close by. Westminster Cathedral was built in 1903.

1940s:

London was devastated by air raids. Over 20,000 Londoners died, and millions were left homeless. As the bombs fell, the British government met in the secret underground Cabinet War Rooms.

21st century:

The population of London is more than eight million people. Modern buildings such as 30 St. Mary Axe sit side-by-side with famous historic places.

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