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DISTANCE FROM GATWICK AIRPORT TO LONDON
Attracting 27 million visitors every year, London is the most visited city in Europe. Not surprisingly, London led the travel plans of many people: the city was founded by the Romans and flourished over the centuries.
Today London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with a rich history and some of the most prominent cultures on the planet.
The city of London is the old center in London but it is really the smallest city in England. The London we are familiar with covers a much broader metropolitan area, with nearly 9 million people.
It is divided into vibrant and distinct areas in North, West, South and East London – as well as the commercial and tourist center in central London – each of which has its own known neighborhoods. There is always something to see and do in London. With some of the best artwork, entertainment, shopping, dining and history in the world, it is impossible to get bored in London.
History of London
When you think about London, you might think of a thriving city today, great landmarks, great places to eat and lush greenery in the city. But London is one of the oldest cities on earth, surrounded by mystery and legend. Here we will briefly summarize the history of London and the historical events that took place in this wonderful place. So let us dive into this ancient collection of knowledge of the history of London and discover the hidden facets of such a respectable and popular city.
Covering the entire history of London is a really daunting task, and it requires a lot of research and a lot of writing, but we aim to cover a brief history of London and many of the major events that took place in this amazing city in a nutshell.
Since London is the capital, it will become clear that it plays a major role in most of the events in the history of the entire country and even around the world, so the discussion of decisions and political events in faraway places is not actually a deviation from the subject, as the decisions came from the ultimate authority headquarters in England: London.
Legendary beginnings in London
Although it is widely known that London was originally built by the Romans, legend dictates that the city was founded on the banks of the Thames by Brutus of Troy after defeating Gog Gog. The ancient giants who were residing on the island around 1000 BC. He called the city of New Troy (Caer Troia or Troia Nova) but the name soon changed to Trinovantum, and the tribe that was present around the Thames River in the Iron Age was Trinovants.
Legend has it that Britain was named after Brutus Troy, who became its first king. He ruled for twenty-four years and after his death the island was divided among his three sons. Locrinus, who took over England, Albanactus; who seized Scotland and Camper; who seized Wales.
Roman London (43 – 410 AD)
The Roman conquest of Britain, which began in AD 43, took some time and fought many battles by Roman legions against the original Celtic tribes. In 47 AD, the Romans built the small Civic City of Londonum and was very small, equal to the size of Hyde Park today.
Lundenium was destroyed in 60 AD after a revolt led by Queen Boudicca and her tribe Iceni, but rebuilt after her defeat and death. She was said to have poisoned herself before losing the battle to avoid being caught. Then the city grew rapidly under Roman administration, there were approximately 60,000 residents and IT became the capital of Britain to replace Colchester.
The Romans improved the city’s infrastructure and built baths and temples, so Lundinium had its own amphitheater and church, a building where the Romans held court meetings. The Londonium garrison was stationed in a large fortress making it a very sustainable site if the Aborigines tried to plunder it again.
Then the Romans built the London Wall some time around 180 – 225 AD, which lasted for 1600 years. They clearly did not want to repeat the catastrophe caused by Boudicca. In the third century, Lundenium was bombed several times by Saxon pirates which resulted in the Romans building more defensive structures including the river wall.
The fifth century saw the decline of the Roman Empire as a whole, which led to the Romans abandoning Britain and becoming a deserted londenium as it was considered a faraway place and not worth spending resources and military power when there were far greater problems closer to Rome itself.
Anglo-Saxons London (5th century – 1066)
When the Romans left Britannia, settlers from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands arrived in search of a new homeland. These people formed Hippo Anglo-Saxons. Heptarchy consists of seven kingdoms: East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria, Sussex, and Wessex. The Anglo-Saxon settlement near the former town of Lundenium was called Lundenwic and was contested between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex in 796. Archaeologists have found it difficult to find the whereabouts of Anglo-Saxon London already, and recent discoveries, such as the cemetery at Covent Garden indicate that It was much closer to modern London than they originally believed, perhaps even at the same boundaries but of course smaller in size. The area around the Thames is a strategic location, so it’s not surprising that it didn’t stay deserted for long after leaving the Romans and became a hot trading point.
In 871, the Vikings’ great army of pagans invaded, invaded most of England and reached Lundenwic, camping at the site where the ancient Roman wall was, then the majority of the population moved to the former Lundenium and formed a new settlement called Lundenburg. Winchester was the capital of England until Æthelred made Unready London its capital in 978. The Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great took control of Lundenburg and renewed his fortifications, and this was useful because in 996 Swain Forkbird, king of Denmark, attacked the city but was defeated. Lundenwic was mostly abandoned and renamed Ealdwic, today it is called Aldwych.
However, in 1016 Ibn Suwen invaded Forkbird, Great Knut, Lundenburg and the rest of England. Stepson Cnut, Edward the Confessor became king in 1042 and built the Westminster Abbey and the first palace in Westminster which is now known as the House of Representatives. When Edward the Confessor died in 1066, the Duke of William of Normandy claimed the English throne but Edwards’ son-in-law, Harold Godwinson was crowned king of the Anglo-Saxons and thus provoked William to conquer.
Norman and Medieval London (1066 – 15th century)
William Normandy defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and became King of England, then he became known as William the Conqueror. In order to subdue the Londoners, William built a number of forts, the most famous of which survives today and is the Tower of London, and was the first stone castle in England.
1097 saw the construction of William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror. The only bridge that crossed the Thames until 1739 was the construction of the London Bridge, which began in 1176 and was completed in 1209.
In 1216, Louis of France was crowned king of England during the First Barons War when rebel forces pledged allegiance to him against King John. When John died, the rebels began to support his son Henry III and Louis withdrew from England. During these years, there were many acts of violence committed against the Jewish population in London that ended with Edward I being exiled from the city in 1290.
Despite strong cultural and linguistic influences, the development of early modern English allowed the population to form a separate culture that would ultimately distinguish English culture from French culture in the next medieval period. Due to the increased trade in the Middle Ages, London grew rapidly due to its location on the Thames being ideal for trade.
London’s population grew rapidly, in 1100, there were about 15,000 people living in the city but by 1300, it had grown to nearly 80,000. Trade in London was run by the unions that run the city because it was also who elected Lord Mayor of the City of London.
Norman London was a completely different place from modern London, and most of the buildings were made of wood or straw and the streets were very narrow, and this combination made them extremely vulnerable to fatal fires and if not extinguished they could destroy the entire city.
The Knights Templar, who played a role in the Crusades, had their base in London from 1185 until their dissolution in 1312 after being accused of worshiping Satan. There are a few buildings in the temple that can be visited today such as: the middle temple hall, the inner temple hall, the temple church and a few dormitory rooms. The middle temple and the inner temple inn are also in the court (all attorneys must belong to one of the four court lodges; two of them are from the former Knights Templar buildings).
During the 14th century, London lost more than half of its population due to the Black Death, a plague that fleas carried on mice that came from merchant ships. Nevertheless, the London economy made a quick recovery and soon worked as usual.
In 1475, a trade union from Central Europe known as the Hanseatic League established its base in London known as Steelyard. From here woolen fabrics were shipped to the Netherlands where they were in great demand after the London economy was eventually boosted.
Tudor London (1485-1603)
In 1485, Henry Tudor became the King of England in the name of Henry VII; he also ended bloody rose wars by marrying Elizabeth from York (The Wars of Roses fought between the House of Lancaster, whose motto was a red rose, and House of York, whose motto is a white rose that was a civil war for the English throne) . This marked the beginning of the Tudor period.
When the king of Tudor II, Henry VIII, came to power in 1491, some major changes occurred in London as well as England as a whole through an important event known as the English Reformation.
London was almost attacked in 1497 when Birkin and Arbeek, a protester on the throne, camped outside the city with his squad of followers.
However, the king took swift action, and Warbeek was arrested and suspended.
In 1515, the Hampton Court Palace was built by order of King Henry VIII of Cardinal Thomas Woolsey, who was the personal favorite of the king at the time.
English Reform is the name given to the changes and events that occurred in the country after the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope. It is often believed that Henry VIII was provoked to make these changes after Pope Clement VII decided not to allow his abolition with Catherine of Aragon in 1534. Then Henry VIII declared himself “the supreme head of the earth for the Church of England” and then the country became largely Protestant. (An interesting point to note is that although Henry VIII canceled his marriage to Catherine to marry Ann Boleyn, when she couldn’t give him a son, she was beheaded only three years later!)
More than half of the property in London at the time was monasteries and nuns, and more than a third of the population were monks and nuns. The reform affected them terribly, as the king and other nobles seized all of this property. This was known to dissolve monasteries and even influential individuals at once, such as Thomas Walsey (as was a cardinal in the Catholic Church) and their houses were taken over and converted into what their new owners deemed appropriate; Henry VIII converted the lands around Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park and St. James Park into gardens Deer for personal entertainment. The king reopened the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, which still exists today, as he worked without this name and without pay during the dissolution period.
When Henry VIII died in 1547, most of the captured buildings that were left blank were handed over to City Livery companies to offset the crown’s debt by his son Edward VI. City Livery companies were a group of unions and business associations that used some of the newly acquired property in ways that were beneficial to the public; the former St. Thomas Monastery was converted to St. Thomas Hospital, and the Bridwell Palace was converted into a children’s home.
In 1553, Edward VI died and Mary Anna became Queen. Between Edwards and Mary’s death coming to the throne, Mrs. Jane Gray ruled for only nine days but was removed by Mary who beheaded. When Mary decided to marry Philip II of Spain, there was an uprising led by Sir Thomas White who controlled Southwark, then moved across Sharing Cross, Westminster and then arrived at Lodgett, but his lack of supporters in the city of London, forced him to surrender in 1554. She tried Mary reversed reform and executed Protestants by burning them at stake and for this she was known as “Bloody Mary”. England returned to Roman Catholicism, a process that has just added more chaos to the dispute over English reform.
In 1558, Elizabeth I, who was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, became the Queen and introduced the country to what historians love to call the golden age of English history and the height of the English Renaissance. She was the last of the five Tudor kings.
Queen Elizabeth loved watching plays and many theaters were built during her reign, but her advisors feared that the crowds attracted by theaters could turn into crowds so most of them were built within the city limits. Theaters built in London during the Elizabethan era include: The Globe, The Rose, The Swan, The Hope, The Blackfriars Theater, The Theater and The Curtain. At this time, during the sixteenth century, William Shakespeare lived and worked in London. These forms of entertainment had a major impact on English culture.
William Shakespeare is considered the national poet of England, and is one of the most famous playwrights and poets in the world. His works are studied in English schools and universities. The Globe Theater, located in London Borough in Southwark, was built by the theater company Shakespeare known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1599. The Globe Theater was already destroyed with fire in 1613 but was rebuilt on the same site in 1614. The Earth is still Present today and can be visited).
Elizabeth London was much different from modern London, although it was built much more than in previous times, there are still some surprising contrasts. Covent Garden was a market garden, and Islington and Hoxton were just villages and areas like Holborn and Bloomsbury had hospitals built there because of the good country air.
Earthquakes in England are rare but in 1580 there was one known as the Dover Streets earthquake, which affected France and England and all the way to Scotland. In London, many chimney stacks and parts of Westminster Abbey were destroyed. Falling stones also dropped two children. The militants, who were a group of Protestants, blamed the appearance of theaters in the earthquake as they opposed it throughout their proclamation of “Satan Work.”
The Tudor London period saw its expansion into a major trading city, one of the most important cities in Europe. Trade went from London all the way to the Americas, Russia and the Levant (modern day Syria, Palestine and surrounding areas).
Stewart London (1603–1714)
After the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, James I became the King of England from the time of Stewart, and James I was already King of Scotland, like James VI, before he became king of both countries after the Union of Crowns that put England, Ireland and Scotland under the ownership of one king.
In 1605, the famous gunpowder conspiracy occurred as a Catholic group led by Robert Catsby, including the famous guy Guy Fox, attempted to blow up the House of Lords. The plan failed, as the king discovered, and the conspirators were executed. This event is remembered by the celebration of the Night of Fire, also known as the Guy Fawkes Night, on the 5th of November of every year as people set off fireworks and lit a fire.
During James’s reign, Lord Mayor was revisited in 1609, and is still in progress today, to celebrate the appointment of the new London mayor; it is an annual event that a new mayor is chosen each year.
In 1611, a businessman named Thomas Sutton bought the dissolved Monastery in Charterhouse and was converted to a hospital, chapel, and medical school.
When Charles I came to power in 1625, many wealthy and aristocrats began buying real estate in the West End in London. Because of the rich social life in the fast-growing city, it has become a place where some people, who can afford it, spend part of the year in London.
London also played a role in the English Civil War of 1642, which lasted until 1651, fighting between parliamentarians who did not support the king and the royalists who did (warriors also known as “round heads” and “arrogant”).
The Battle of Brentford was fought in 1642 a few miles from London and many defenses and forts were built in the Westminster and SouthWark regions, deterring attacks from the monarchists. It was the massive funding from London that contributed to the victory of the parliamentarians.
The plague first began in the Netherlands in 1663, so shipping from there was officially banned, however, illegal shipping continued and the plague reached the coastal town of Yarmouth. When the disaster reached London, Charles II, his court, and other wealthy residents of the city fled to areas unaffected by the plague. By 1666, it is estimated that there are more than 100,000 deaths in London alone, more than a quarter of the population.
As if the mass bubonic plague was not enough for Londoners, in the same year the plague ended, in 1666, an event that was remembered throughout history: the Great London Fire.
The Great Fire started at one o’clock in the morning in Pudding Lane and the wind spread to other houses made of wood (where most houses were made of wood and had thatched roofs at the time). Then the fire reached a warehouse near the Tower of London that contained flammable materials such as the stadium, and this turned it into a raging inferno that destroyed 300 homes in just two hours.
Which caused the resentment of realtors, the king ordered the demolition of homes that were not burned in order to cause fires, but by this time the fire was out of control and even destroyed the wooden water pipes in the city.
After the investigation, it became clear that it was not only the wooden houses that caused the fire to spread as they did, as London had a large commercial industry at the time, the river area was full of warehouses stored with flammable goods such as oil, tar, gunpowder, and gunpowder. The fire reached such intensity that even the imported steel in the area melted.
The Great London Fire was so severe that smoke was seen even all the way from Oxford, and the fire destroyed Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, 87 parish churches, 44 clothing company halls, the Royal Exchange (mall) and many prisons. About 100,000 people are made homeless after an estimated 13,500 homes were destroyed in the fire and a loss of 10 million pounds (equivalent to 1.66 billion pounds as of 2018). Refugee camps were established in Moorfields and St. George Fields along the route to Highgate. The most surprising thing about this entire event is that it is believed that only 16 people died in the fire, and the reason for this is unknown.
The London Reconstruction Act 1666 stated that “Bricklaying is not only easier and more permanent, but also safer against future fire hazards.” Since then, all homes had to be built with bricks, and only doors and window frames were made of wood. St. Paul’s Cathedral and other destroyed churches were restored and many people moved to the East End in search of work among the expansion piers. The regions, Whitechapel, Wapping, Stepney, and Limehouse became densely populated with dockers and their families, and turned them into slums.
In 1694, the Bank of England was founded and the British East India Company was expanding rapidly; Lloyds of London was also founded in the seventeenth century. At the time, London handled 80% of England’s imports, 69% of its exports and traded with commodities such as silk, sugar, tea, and tobacco that were luxurious at the time.
The eighteenth century in London
In 1707, the Union Act joined the Parliament of England and Scotland together to form the Kingdom of Great Britain (England and Scotland were already ruled by one king but they had different parliaments). The restoration of St. Paul’s Cathedral was completed in 1708 and designed by Christopher Wren who completed the work on his birthday. St Paul’s Cathedral is believed to be one of the best buildings in Britain.
During the eighteenth century, a wave of immigrants came from other countries, who not only increased Londoners but also contributed to the development of the city. Britain emerged victorious from the Seven Years’ War, which expanded the economy by opening many doors to trade with other countries. In 1760, London was the largest city in Europe with a population of 750,000.
Because of areas such as Westminster and Mayfair that were built and also considered distant regions, many aristocrats moved from London to those areas. Mayfair was full of luxury luxury homes and was part of seven different properties: Grosvenor, Burlington, Berkeley, Curzon, Millfield, Conduit Mead, and Albemarle Ground.
In 1738, the Piccadilly and Oxford Street areas were full of buildings and overcrowding, unlike Mayfair. Soon smaller villages that were outside the original areas of London were incorporated into the growing city, such as: Bethnal Green, Shadwell, Paddington and St. Pancras.
John London Map in 1746 by John Rock. This map was vital evidence that London expanded greatly beyond its former borders in the eighteenth century.
The growing population also means that London’s infrastructure must be improved to accommodate the increasing amount of transportation. In 1750, Westminster Bridge was completed with a second crossing over the Thames that needed the influx of people. The new road between Paddington and Islington was built in 1756. It was used to drive livestock all the way to Smithfield Market. In 1761, in order to improve city life and remove street congestion, the seven ancient gates of London were removed. Houses were also removed from the London Bridge, where they were considered a fire hazard.
In 1762, King George III bought a building called the Buckingham House from the Duke of Buckingham. This home was converted into what is now Buckingham Palace.
Through the Westminster Pavement Act of 1765, Parliament dictated that all streets should be equipped with sidewalks, drying, and lighting in Westminster (things that people in modern London often take for granted). Success led to more good news for Londoners. Law of paving and lighting applied
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