History of London - History & Culture - London attractions - London art - London history guide uk

Guide of London, United Kingdom

Author: Nozio

Download Guide London:
PDF to print and bind

London History And Culture, United Kingdom

London was founded by the Romans under Claudius in 43 AD with the name Londinium, a fortified settlement with a bridge over the Thames near the present day London Bridge. Rome's reign provided Londinum with powerful walls, temples and majestic residences. London possessed 30,000 inhabitants as early as the third century. It became the capital of the province of Maxima Cesariensis under Diocletian and the economic capital of all of Britannia.

With the downfall of the Roman Empire and the invasions of the Scots and Saxons, the Roman armies abandoned the region and London quickly fell into decline. A new Saxon city called Ludenwic was created in the area of present day Aldwych. The new city gained importance over the centuries until it attracted the sights of the Danish Vikings who burnt it to the ground in 851. The Danes and Saxons alternatively ruled London for the next two centuries. In 1042 Edward the Confessor brought London back under Saxons, making the city the most prosperous of all of Britannia.

The second millennium was marked by the rise of the great Norman dynasties from France. In 1066 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, conquered England and was crowned king in Westminster Abbey. In opposition to the Saxons, the Norman nobility brought the French language and customs to England which would leave a lasting mark on British culture.

After the Normans London was ruled for more than two centuries by the Plantagenet house. London Bridge and Westminster Abbey were built in the Middle Ages and became the center of royal power. Another important event of the era was the revolt of 60,000 peasants in 1381, who razed the city killing various ministers.

The 16th century was marked by the Tudor dynasty which brought increased prosperity to London. This period witnessed the reign of the controversial Henry VIII but was also characterized by a great flourishing of arts and literature. Figures such as Marlowe and Shakespeare worked during this period, their fame goes without mentioning.

The Stuart dynasty rose to power in the 17th century. The appearance of London changed radically under their rule: these were the years of the architect Inigo Jones and squares (Covent Garden), large buildings and elegant quarters for aristocrats including St. James, Mayfair and Marylebone were built. In 1666 the Great Fire destroyed four fifths of the city, which had just witnessed one of the worst plagues of its history. The plague claimed between 70,000 and 100,000 lives and the fire ruined four fifths of the city. The following period was marked by the Great Reconstruction, the houses were rebuilt in bricks rather than wood and the wealthier inhabitants moved out of the center. By 1700 London had 600,000 inhabitants and was the largest city in Europe.

The Georgian period (18th century) coincided with the Neoclassical era, which gave many buildings and squares their current appearance. Georgian London also witnessed the creation of parks and gardens for entertainment. Westminster Bridge, London's second bridge was built in 1750 and the British Museum opened its doors in 1759.

The Victorian epoch (1837-1901) marked the peak of the British Empire's power, which ruled a fourth of the globe at that time. It was also the era of the Industrial Revolution and steam engine. The first railroad line was built in London from London Bridge to Greenwich in 1836. Many of London's famous sights are from this period including Big Ben, the House of Parliament and Tower Bridge. However, Victorian London was a city of major contrasts: the prosperous city of commerce and industry was flanked by a great mass of poor who lived in enormous unhealthy districts, described with lively characters by the talented Dickens. London had 6.5 million inhabitants at the time of Queen Victoria's death.

London witnessed a tragic period during the bombing of the Second World War. The Luftwaffe's ill-famed Blitz killed more than 30,000 Londoners and destroyed vast areas throughout the city. The postwar period was characterized by a somewhat disorderly reconstruction in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, which gave London its current irregular appearance. It was also a time of major immigration from all the countries of the former Empire which changed the character of the city for good, making it one of the most cosmopolitan metropolises in the world.



Add to your or

Download Guide London:
PDF to print and bind

Destinations in London

Choose your destination



Search hotels in

When? (optional)