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London History

Archaeological finds have provided evidence that London dates back as far as 2500 BC. Many scholars believe that the London got its name from the Celtic words, Llyn Din, meaning lakeside fortress. The Romans conquered and settled the region north of the Thames River, calling it Londinium, around 43 AD. The Roman settlement was originally a military base but quickly grew to become an important trading center. The first London Bridge was built in 50 AD and soon after an impressive London wall was added.

After the Romans left London in 410 AD, battles between tribal king doms were rampant and lasted for centuries. The Vikings attacked London in the 10th century, eventually conquering the London. The Viking King Sweni followed by his son Canute ruled over the region. After Canute's death, Edward the Confessor took to the thrown. When his beloved wife Eleanor died, her funeral procession traveled back to London. Edward had a cross erected at every overnight stop along the way. One cross still remains and can be seen at Charing Cross. Edward's tomb is at Westminster Abbey.

After Edward's death in 1066, a battle for the thrown broke out between the Saxons and the Normans. Ultimately, William of Normany, later known as William the Conqueror, took to the thrown. William had construction started on the White Tower, the core of the Tower of London, in 1078 to warn off would be invaders and as a representation of his authority.

Powerful merchants and Barons continued to influence London's politics and commerce. The first mayor of London, Henry Fitz Ailwin, was elected to office in 1192. The Crusades, Hundred Years' War, and the War of the Roses dominated the 12th century through the 14th century. However, London continued to grow and thrive has a busy trade center. The old wooden London Bridge was replaced with a new impressive stone bridge in 1209. Heads of traders were hung from the southern gate of the bridge. London's primary industry of the time was wool trade. The great plague hit London in 1348 and whipped out nearly 40% of the population before 1349. Westminster became the center for government in the 14th century. From the 14th century on, the King summoned his nobles to council there. During this time, London's population grew to 50,000 though living conditions were dismal.

During the 16th century, the monarchy was stronger then ever. The Tudors achieved peace throughout England and the Renaissance began to unfold under Elizabeth I. London's population continued to grow reaching 200,000 people. Civil war broke out in 1642 when the merchant class demanded for a potion of the monarch's power be passed to Parliament. The merchants were briefly granted their wish. However, the monarchy was restored under Charles II in 1660. This period was also marked by devastation in the form of the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666.

The Bank of England was founded in 1694 acting as a springboard for commerce. London's population reached 600,000 by 1700 and the city became an important financial and commercial center.

During the 19th century, the industrial revolution took hold of London. During Queen Victoria's 64-year reign the city grew like

never before. Modern day London began to take shape with the construction of new buildings and expansion into the south and east. The population soared from just under a million in 1801 to 6.5 million by the end of the century.

The 20th century brought with it a wave of new inventions including cars, the telephone, and films. However, the city was devastated by the two World Wars and the global Depression of the 1930's. Much of London was flattened by bombs during WWII. Low costs housing and developments were built on bomb sites. London became a world leader in fashion and music during the 1960's. The latter part of the 20th century saw the construction of skyscrapers and modern buildings. More recently, London endured a recession in the 1990's but has since recovered and has bounced back yet again to become

a vibrant world-class city.

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