History of London

London has a 2000 year old history. In the first the Romans came to Great Britain and founded a near the mouth of the River Thames . They called it Londinium.

After they left London about four hundred years later the Saxons, a Germanic tribe , in the area. In the centuries that followed Vikings attacked the city .

When William the Conqueror Britain in 1066 London was already the biggest town on the island. William made the city its and himself king in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. He also built the Tower of London to the city from invaders .

During the Middle Ages London grew . It became one of Europe's and its population grew to about 200,000 by the beginning of the 17th century . Then the city twice. The Great of 1665 killed about a fourth of the city's population. A year later the Great Fire burned down most of the older part of the city. After this tragedy the city was rebuilt with houses made of stone and instead of wood.

London in the 16th century

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution almost a million people lived in London. It was the largest city in the world and the centre of the British , which, at that time, was growing at a .

As more and more people moved to the city from the countryside London needed more and better transportation systems. In 1863 it became the first city in the world to start an underground railway system .

During the Second World War Nazi Germany bombed London . 30,000 people were killed. The rebuilding of the city after World War II many problems. City planners did not want London to grow endlessly in all directions. A was created around the city to stop its . Outside of this green area new towns . They became small cities which many people moved to later on.

In the second half of the 20th century London faced many problems that other megacities also have: , and .

In the 1970s and 80s the Docklands in the eastern part of London were rebuilt. They were once part of the world's largest . The Docklands lost their importance as the British Empire lost its colonies. In the past new office buildings , shopping centers and a new airport have been created in an to this region.

The London Docklands
Image:Fin Fahey