History in London

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The name London comes from the Latin name Londinium, as London was founded by the Romans during their reign over the island – although there is some slight evidence of pre-Roman settlement. The BBC History website, however, claims that the name Londinium is actually "Celtic, not Latin, and may originally have referred to a previous farmstead on the site". This also implies that there were indeed pre-Roman settlements in the area. This fortified Roman settlement was the capital of the province of Britannia.

Around 61 A.D. 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 archaelogical 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 Aldwych, in the 7th century. The old Roman city was then re-occupied 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 centuries, 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. Re-building 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.

London's local government system struggled to cope with this rapid growth, especially in providing the city with adequate infrastructure. In 1855 the Metropolitan Board of Works was created to provide London with infrastructure to cope with its growth. In 1889 the MBW was abolished, and the County of London was created. It was administered by the London County Council, the first elected London-wide administrative body.

Probably the most significant changes to London in the last 100 years were as a result of the Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe that took place during World War II. The bombing killed over 30,000 Londoners and flattened large tracts of housing and other buildings across London. The rebuilding during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was characterised by a wide range of architectural styles and has resulted in a lack of unity in architecture that has become part of London's character.

Until their 1997 ceasefire, London was regularly a target for IRA bombers seeking to pressurise the British government into negotiations with Sinn Féin on Northern Ireland.

On July 7, 2005, there was a series of coordinated bomb attacks on three underground stations and a bus. The explosions came less than 24 hours after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics and as the G-8 summit was underway in Gleneagles, Scotland. A series of explosions also took place on July 21 2005. However in the latter incident there were no fatalities.

 

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August 24, 2005 change by brixton_ian

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