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London, or Greater London (as it is known) is the capital of England and is noted as ‘a great metropolis’ and ‘world city’. London takes its name from the City of London, which is a tiny city situated on the north bank of the River Thames, more or less in the centre of Greater London. In turn, The City of London takes its name from Londinium (the name the Romans gave to the city in circa 47) [ City of London _ ]
Whilst recognising the importance of Roman influence on the origins of London, it should be noted that the area now known as the City of London was an established river port, trading centre and settlement long before the Roman occupation. It should also be noted that the area now referred to as Greater London had been extensively settled by different groups of people since stone-age times
A BRIEF JOURNEY THROUGH TIME
Our brief journey through time begins 5,000 years ago when stone-age (early neolithic) hunter-gatherers came to the region to fish and hunt game; it includes the time of the iron-age Trinovantes tribe (before 54 BC) as well as the time of the Romans and Londinium (43 – 410). It ends with the creation of Greater London in 1965:
- It is likely that Stone-age (early Neolithic) Albion hunter-gatherer clans came to the region to fish and hunt game
- It is likely that Stone-age (late Neolithic) Albion farmers settled in the region and formed small village communities
- It is likely that Bronze-age ‘Beaker’ people created well-organised, much larger & more versatile communities in the region (compared with the stone-age Albiones)
- According to popular legend, Brutus of Troy founded the City of London as the capital of Britain and named it Troia Nova (or New Troy), which in time became Trinovantum. London has its own supposed Brutus Stone [ Stone of Brutus _ (or the London Stone)]
- According to Druidical text, the City of London was a Druid seat of learning and was called Caer Troia
- Scholars of Druid lore believe that London’s famous Billingsgate fish market is named after a Druid pendragon called Bellen [DID YOU KNOW – it is claimed that Billingsgate was originally called Bellen’s Gate]
- Archaeological evidence suggests that a powerful Iron-age tribe called the Trinovantes tribe had secured the whole region north of the Thames as their fiefdom (from before circa 54BC)
The Roman occupation of Britain began in 43 ~ Londinium became its capital in c. 47 ~ In c. 60 there was an uprising against Roman rule led by Queen Boudicea & the Iceni tribe. Historians claim that over 100,000 Roman citizens were killed and most of these lived in Londinium and surrounding areas ~ Following this bloody event, the Romans decided to build a substantial wall around the perimeter of Londinium (in stages between 180 & 280)
[ DID YOU KNOW – The Roman wall remained virtually intact until the 18th century in the reign of King George III. The access to the City of London was through a series of gates within the city wall. These gates (and parts of the wall on either side of the gates) were removed between 1760 and 1767 to allow road widening and better access to the city. Further parts of the wall were later removed (in stages) to allow building construction of one form or another. Only a few small pieces of the original wall remain today [ London wall _ ]
To the west of the City of London is London’s second city, the City of Westminster. In Roman times, the Westminster area closest to the Roman wall was a cemetery. As Londinium developed, people began to build homes and businesses outside the city walls, including around the cemetery. Westminster grew in importance ~ Westminster Abbey was constructed from around 970 onwards ~ Westminster Palace from around 1016 onwards ~ Westminster became a city in 1540 [ City of Westminster _ ]
The City of Westminster today contains much of what many tourists consider to be the essence of London
The present day Greater London was established in 1965 [ Greater London _ ]
The history of London is a fascinating story and a significant part of the wildengland website is dedicated to its people and also to the wildlife associated with this remarkable place
Greater London is rainbow-linked with the Stag Beetle ~ native insect
City of London is rainbow-linked with the Queen Bee ~ native insect
Londoners are rainbow-linked with the House Sparrow ~ native bird
Wild England teasers!
1. What is the correct title of the area commonly referred to as the ‘square mile’?
2. What is the correct title of Greater London?
1. The City of London is commonly referred to as the ‘square mile’. It is not only a city. It is also a county. It received county status in 1132 and is now technically called The county of the City of London
2. Although Greater London is usually referred to as a city ~ it is, in fact, a county (named the Metropolitan County of Greater London).