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Definition: London from Andromeda Encyclopedic Dictionary of World History

Seaport and capital of England (later of Great Britain) on the river Thames. Founded in Roman times, it was all but abandoned after the 5th century, but recovered as a trade center in the 9th century and became England's largest and wealthiest city. It became the seat of government in the mid-11th century, and its population grew from about 70,000 in the late 16th century to about 460,000 by 1665. A devastating fire in 1666 required massive rebuilding. In the 18th century London became the world's financial center, though some areas were desperately poor. Sustained German bombing in World War II led to more rebuilding, especially to replace and modernize old housing stock.


Summary Article: London from Philip's Encyclopedia

Capital of the United Kingdom, and the second-largest city in Europe, located on the River Thames, 65km (40mi) from its mouth in the North Sea, SE England. Since 1965, it has been officially called Greater London, comprising the square mile of the City of London and 13 inner and 19 outer boroughs, covering a total of 1,580sq km (610sq mi). Little is known of London before the Romans set up camp in the 1st century ad. Called Londinium, it was their most important town in Britain. By the 3rd century, the population numbered c.40,000 and the town covered an area of 120ha (300 acres). After the Romans left Britain, London declined until the 9th century, when Alfred the Great made it the seat of government. The settlement of Westminster, W of the city walls, grew in the 10th century. Edward the Confessor built Westminster Abbey and made Westminster his capital in 1042. The prosperity of England under the Tudors established London's wealth and importance. In the reign of Elizabeth I, the population increased from under 100,000 to almost 250,000. During the 17th century, the area between Westminster and the City was built up. The Plague of 1665 killed 75,000 Londoners, and in 1666 the Fire of London destroyed many buildings. Sir Christopher Wren played an important role in the reconstruction of the city, designing many churches, including St Paul's. During the 19th century, the population reached 4 million. Much of E London was rebuilt after bomb damage during World War 2, and the largely derelict docklands regenerated in the late 1980s. Despite the problems of inner-city decay, experienced by most large western cities since the 1960s, London remains one of the world's most important administrative, financial, commercial and industrial cities. Industries: government administration, tourism, entertainment, engineering, printing and publishing, clothing, brewing. Pop. (2000) 8,089,000.

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