People have lived in the London area for more than 5,000 years, but there used to be forests and marshes instead of a city. London itself was begun by the Romans about 2,000 years ago. They called their town Londinium. Romans Londinium
The Romans (AD 43– 410) The Romans invaded England in 43 AD. They landed in Kent, made their way to the river Thames and sailed up it.
The Romans (AD 43– 410) The Romans knew it was important to control a crossing point at the river Thames, so they decided to build a settlement on the north bank. They chose a spot in two small hills and where the river became narrower. They built a bridge over the Thames, and there has been a London Bridge in the same area ever since.
The Romans (AD 43– 410) The Romans laid out buildings, streets and a port, and shortly afterwards they built a bridge. They called the settlement Londinium and it soon became the capital of Roman Britain.
The Romans (AD 43– 410) In AD 61 the native Iceni tribe, led by Queen Boudicca, rose up against the Romans. They burnt Londinium to the ground and killed all its inhabitants.
The Romans regained control and rebuilt London, this time adding a market and a business centre, and slowly building a wall around the city to protect it from further invasion. The Romans ruled in Britain until 410. Roman wall
Disaster struck London in 842 when the Danish Vikings looted London. They returned in 851 and this time they burned a large part of the town.
King Alfred the Great totally defeated the Danes in 878 and they split the country between them. The Danes took eastern England including London while Alfred took the South and West.
Despite the peace treaty Alfred's men took London in 886. Alfred repaired the walls of the old Roman town. In 1016 the Vikings attacked London again but this time the Saxons fought them off. King Alfred
At the beginning of the 11th king Olaf of Norway attacked England and the Vikings and Saxons ruled jointly England until 1042, when Edward the Confessor became King of both the Vikings and the Saxons.
Edward the Confessor ( ) built a wooden palace at Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Saint Pauls Cathedral. Edward the Confessor
Tudor London (1485 – 1603) Henry VII became King in 1485, followed by Henry VIII. They were the first Tudor kings. Henry VII Henry VIII
London grew in importance under the Tudor rule. It became the centre of trade and government. By the end of the Tudor era there were about 200,000 people living in London.
King Henry VIII created palaces such as St James. He is also famous for closing the cities monasteries in 1536, after the Roman Catholic church refused to grant him a divorce. St James palace
During the reign of Elizabeth l, London was wealthy and successful city. Theatre became popular, helped by the arrival of playwright William Shakespeare. Elizabeth l William Shakespeare
The river Thames was very important in Tudor times as Britains navy was expanded. Dockyards were built and ships were sent to explore the world.
Stuart London ( ) ( ) The first Stuart King, James I, came to the throne in He was already King James the Sixth of Scotland. He united the two countries under one king. In 1605 a group of men tried to blow up both him and the Houses of Parliament. This Gunpowder Plot failed.
In 1625 Charles II came to the throne. In 1635 he opened Hyde Park to the public and in 1637 created Richmond Park for hunting.
Civil war broke out in 1642 between supporters of the king and parliamentary forces, led by a Puritan called Oliver Cromwell. The King was beheaded in London in 1649 and Britain became a republic known as the Commonwealth. In 1660 the monarchy was returned.
Georgian London ( ) In 1714, George I became king. He began a line of Kings and Queens called the Hanovers, who rule Britain until At this time, Britain was one of the most powerful countries in the world, with London at the heart of its trade.
London quickly grew in size and population during the Georgian era. In 1801 the population reached about one million. Merchants and bankers grew rich and many lived in the new West End.
Other people suffered terrible poverty. Thousands lived in filthy East End slums, where disease, crime and drunkenness were common.
Victorian London ( ) In 1837, Victoria became Queen at the age of 18. The time while she was Queen is called the Victorian era. London was busy with trade and industry, and it grew fast.
During the reign of Victoria, London expanded enormously as industry came to Britain and railways were built linking much of Britain to the capital. London was the centre of world trade and had a large, powerful Empire.
Many of the buildings in London today were built in Victorian times. The most famous is probably the Houses of Parliament, built in 1834 after a fire destroyed the original buildings.
The Twentieth Century The First World War The First World War began in The first air raid hit London on 1915 and during the war over 835 people were killed in air attacks.
The Twentieth Century The Second World War In 1939 the Second World War broke out and some 690,000 children were moved out of London. The blitz began in 1940 and caused a lot of damage to London, with some of the worst damage being done around (and including) Sant Pauls Cathedral. By the end of the war 30,000 people had been killed in London and much of the city's buildings lay in ruins.
Millennium London At the start of the new millennium, London continues to grow. It now has a population of over seven million, making it by far the biggest city in Britain.
The start of the millennium has been marked by the building of many new attractions and exhibitions, so there is more to see and do in London than ever before.