London's recorded history begins in the Roman era, when the city was called Londinium. The city was founded on the banks of the river Thames, and from its beginnings was established as the capital of the island. Until the 5th century London was under Roman rule. From those times up until modern days, the city has passed through an enormous history of kingdoms and lordships, and in more recent times, the British Empire and its marine conquests.
After the Roman era, London's power centre was Westminster Abbey, site of the coronation of Great Britain's Kings and Queens. The Tower of London was originally a royal residence, then served as a prison, and today houses the royal collection of crowns and other treasures. In the sixth century AD, after the end of the Roman occupation, London began to expand and grow. This growth continued, on both banks of the Thames, over the following centuries. There was a serious setback in 1666 when the Great Fire of London destroyed a great part of the city including many important churches and cathedrals. The reconstruction of the city took over ten years, and was overseen by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, the man responsible for, among other famous buildings, St Paul's Cathedral.
During the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries the British Empire extended throughout the worls, gaining territories in Asia, Australasia, America, Africa and the Caribbean. These overseas territories were all governed from London.
From 1831 to 1925, London was the largest city in the world. later, during the Second World War the city suffered extensive bombing by the Nazis. About 30,000 people died in the bombing campaign, or Blitz, and many important buildings were lost.
In the 1970s and 1980s London was subject to several important terrorist attacks by the IRA, and in the late 1990s it suffered a terrorism attack by Islamists associated to Al Queda.
On a more positive note, London was appointed as Olympic host for the 2012 games, over cities such as Paris and Madrid.
London's long and illustrious history has left it with a legacy of incredible heritage, represented by monuments such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, the bridges over the Thames...
Today London is a city which offers visitors the chance to experience that legacy. It is also a place with a wealth of accomodation options so that visitors will have no problem finding somewhere to stay during their holiday in this marvellous city.
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