England - London

    

London is one of the best known epicentres in the world. It is the capital city of both England and the United Kingdom as a whole, which comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. London is one of the world’s most significant cities in terms of its social, cultural, economic and historical value. It remains a bustling commercial hub today, home to a range of cultures, languages, religions and nationalities. In fact, more than 300 languages are spoken in London alone.

The Romans were the first civilisation to occupy the area now known as London. They called it Londinium. They founded the city in 43 of our Common Era (CE). However, in 61, the Iceni Tribe (a group of Celts) burned what the Romans had created to the ground. It was re-established in the year 100. During the century that followed, its Roman population reached about 60 000 people. Then, during the 600’s, Anglo-Saxons established Lundenwic, another settlement situated a few kilometres from Londinium. This was advantageous to them as there was a nearby harbour, which enabled fishing and trading. However, the Vikings soon arrived and all those living in Lundenwic had to flee to the original Londinium to be protected by the high walls that the Romans had built. These Viking attacks only ceased in 886, when Alfred the Great recaptured London and established allies with the Danish leader. Lundenwic was renamed Ealdwic, but is today known as the City of Westminster. A great unification of peoples and cultures occurred in London in the 10th Century. By this stage, it was already the most important trading area in the world and one of the most influential political forces.

 

Image of the City of London one of the leading centres of global finance.this view includes Tower 42 Gherkin,Willis Building, and Stock Exchange Tower.
City of London one of the leading centres of global finance.This view
includes Tower 42 Gherkin,Willis Building, and Stock Exchange Tower.

In 1066, the Duke of Normandy (William the Bastard) was made the King of England as he had won the Battle of Hastings. The Duke built the famous Tower of London, which was constructed as a protection against anyone trying to invade London and a major statement to those living within the confines of the city. What followed was a steady increase in the city’s sophistication and political influence. The City of Westminster became the governmental capital, while London remained the main commercial city. By the 14th Century, London had an impressive population of about 100 000 people.

However, this success and growth came under various threats. In the mid-15th Century, Black Death wiped out almost a third of the local population. Then, in 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed large portions of this booming city. Rebuilding took more than a decade. In the mid- to late-1800’s, cholera broke out due to overcrowding, and about 20 000 people died over the course of a few years and several major outbreaks.

Today, London continues to be one of the most fascinating, vibrant and progressive places in the world. It is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

1. The Tower of London
2. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
3. The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's Church
4. Greenwich

London is run by a Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. She represents the Commonwealth of Nations. However, there is a Parliament with a Prime Minster that rules in a more direct sense than the Queen. Different administrative divisions then rule over the smaller subsections of the country.

The city is split by the navigable River Thames, which snakes its way past many of London’s main attractions. The main part of London covers 1579 square kilometres (or 610 square miles) and has a population of over 7.5 million people. The entire London area’s population is almost double that.

London has 32 official boroughs; e.g. the City of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden and Richmond.

The main shopping and entertainment epicentre of London is the bustling West End. This area attracts countless tourists every year. On the opposite side, the East End, is the poorest part of the city, where a high proportion of immigrants stay. Many immigrants have come from India (particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh), as well as other Asian countries.

London has twinning relationships with cities all over the world, including Berlin, Delhi, Bogotá, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, New York and Shanghai.


London’s main tourist attractions include:

• Buckingham Palace
• The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
• London Bridge
• The Tower of London
• The British Museum
• Madame Tussauds
• The London Eye
• Kew Garden
• The London Dungeon
• The National Gallery
• Piccadilly Circus

For more information, please view: http://www.visitlondon.com/

For the Greater London Authority web site, please view: http://www.london.gov.uk/