back to top

A Very Brief History Of London For Newcomers

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life", said Samuel Johnson near the end of the 18th century, a time when the city was at the peak of its development, and constituted what was at the time the most important city on the Globe, the capitol of the largest empire to ever exist.

Posted on

In reality London has never really declined since then, while there might be other places around the world that match its prosperity or its rapid development, London will still top them in a lot of regards, and it will always claim the title of the first true global city.

While this is in no way a comprehensive guide on the history of the city, it should outline some basic periods and provide you with some fundamental knowledge about the city you are moving to or plan to move to, using High quality removal services in London. It should be enough to give you a perspective of the magnitude of the city and its incredibly rich cultural past, as well as to let you draw conclusions on how it became the way it is.

Prehistoric times

The Historia Regum Britanniae (history of the kings of Britain) states that Brutus of Troy founded the settlement some 3 millennia ago. While archeologists have as of yet had little luck in finding this legendary settlement, traces of human activity can be found, dating as far back as the 40th century BC. The proximity of the area to woods, rich with game, as well as arable lands made it an attractive location for ancient people.

Due to the large number of battle fields uncovered around the river Themes, it is speculated that it acted as a sort of barrier. Rival tribe would fight for control over the territories around it.

Roman times

The convenient access of the location to the sea as well as its easily guarded perimeter were prime reasons why the Romans chose the area to build a ford in. Some 7 years after their invasion Londinium stood, ready to defend the newly conquered lands. Less than two decades later however, the Iceni rebellion, led by Boudica forced the Romans to abandon the settlement and it was promptly razed by the insurgents. After calming the unrest however, Londinium was rebuilt, this time not as a fort, but as a proper Roman city.

Anglo-Saxon times

The fall of the empire, however, did not leave Britain unscathed. Cut off from the rest of Rome, and increasingly threatened by invasions from barbarians many Roman cities on the island began declining. Londinium held on into the 5th century but even it crumbled under the pressure of the invading Saxons who began settling right next to it and became part of the kingdom of the East Saxons in the 7th century. its state of neglect left it vulnerable to the Viking attacks that took place in the 9th century. eventually realizing the value of the defensive fortifications, built by the Romans the Saxons moved into the city and rebuilt its walls. From this point onward London developed somewhat independently from the rest of the kingdom, even having its own separate laws at a time.

At some point it fell into the control of the Danes, along with the territories north of Themes, previously owned by the Saxons. It was reclaimed in the beginning of the 11th century. It was around that time that Westminster Abbey was founded.

The Norman invasion

Initially the Normans faced great difficulty in taking the city, but when it eventually fell, the rest of the country ceded to William I, and he was crowned King in Westminster Abbey. It was in the years after the conquest that London saw its first major territorial expansion, having many fortresses built there in order to control the populace. The hall of Westminster (the biggest at the time in Europe) was built there in the end of the 11th century.

In the 13th century, during the first Baron's War London was occupied for the last time by invading forces. Those were namely the troops of Prince Louis of France, who was even crowned king there. In the aftermath of the event, London would begin to get rid of the French and Normal cultural influences and shape the culture of the country around it.

Due to an increase in trade, London was becoming more and more prosperous by the day. it even saw an increase from 15 000 residents in the 11th century to 80 000 in the 14th. In the middle of the later date however due to the black plague the city lost half of its inhabitants.

Tudor London

Contrary to the rest of Europe, the reformation caused very little turmoil on the Islands and most of the ruling class saw it fit to convert to Protestantism. Due to the dissolution of the monasteries, a lot of the enterprises in the city changed hands at the time. The innovations of the renaissance were first brought over to London where they eventually spread to the rest of the country.

Stuart London

The 17th century saw England plunged into chaos and turmoil. It was the time of the second plague epidemic, the Gunpowder plot as well as the Civil war and the Great fire of London. Despite the adversity however the city remained one of the most rapidly advancing settlements on the globe.

Georgian London

The Dawn of the industrial revolution caused a major grown of population in London. it was the time of the biggest single expansion of the city and the peak of revenue from the Colonies.

Victorian London

The loss of the American colonies did little to stump the enormous progress in London. this was the peak of the British empire, and its citizens (especially those in London) had become the most prosperous on average in the entire world, due to the enormous grown of all industries in the city.

Resume: For nearly 2 millennia London has been constantly on the rise. Both economically and culturally for many years it has been a prominent center in a lot of fields. It is a small wonder why people wish to live there considering its numerous business and education opportunities as well as it rich cultural past. Speaking of its past, this is a guide that will outline some of the stages that the city went through to become what it is today.

View this video on YouTube
This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!