There are many theories about the foundation of London, according to Geoffrey of Mommouth London was founded by Brutus of Troy with the name of
, but this name was corrupted to Trinovantum. Besides this, Geoffrey talks also about the legendary kings of prehistoric London, like the King Lud who rename the town Caer Ludein from which the name
was derived. But there is no evidence of this legend, so during prehistoric times London was just a rural area.
, Londinium was a civilian town that occupied a small area. The town growing quickly over the years and in the 2nd century became into the capital of Roman Britain or "Britannia" with a population of 60,000 inhabitants. The town possessed major public buildings, temples, a governor's palace and a large fort. In the 3rd century, the town was attacked many times by Saxon pirates, so the London Wall, built years before, had to be extended. This wall would continue to exist for other 1600 years. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, Londinium also went into quick decline and by the end of the century had been basically deserted.
But its strategic location on the River Thames was not ignored by the Anglo-Saxons who began to inhabit the area by the 6th century. Saxons converted to the Christianity and London received Mellitus, its first post-Roman bishop who years later founded the first St. Paul's Cathedral. For a period, London may have come under Viking control but in 878 English forces let by King Algred the Great conquered the Vikings, so English rule in the town was restored. By the 10th century, London had become a main commercial and political centre, and in 978 the King Aethelred the Unready favoured the city as his capital.
In 1066 Norman invaded England under the command of William, Duke of Normandy. He won the battle, and ordered to build several royal forts along the riverside of London (The Tower of London, Baynard's Castle and Montfichet's Castle) to defend against seaborne attacks by Vikings. In 1097, the son of William the Conqueror, William Rufus began the construction of the Westminster Hall; it was to become the basis of the Palace of Westminster. During the medieval period London grew up in two parts, it also became a centre of commerce and trade. But in the mid-14th century the Black Death killed half of London's population.
Between 1485 and 1603 the Tudors reign in England, in this period London was quickly rising in importance with many small industries. The 16th century was a glorious period for city's cultural history, when William Shakespeare lived and worked in London. The city was expanded quickly through the 17th century, but it suffered two catastrophes: the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London which destroyed more than the half of the city. London was reconstructed, and the new city was totally different from the old one.
In the 18th century, with the industrial revolution, the city grew up and became into the centre of the British Empire. By the 19th century, London's population expanded from 1 million to 6.7 million. The first railway was opened in 1836; it was a line from London Bridge to Greenwich. The New County of London was established in 1888 and years later the county was subdivided into 28 metropolitan boroughs.
As many cities in Europe, London suffered with the two World Wars, the heaviest bombing took place between 1940 and 1941 and the most damaged part was the Docklands area. More than 30,000 Londoners had been killed and thousands of buildings were destroyed. The reconstruction was slow and the authorities decided to build high-rise blocks of flats for those who lost their home in the war.
In post-war years the status of the city as a major port declined, Docklands could not house modern and large ships. They also appeared new hospitals, schools, medical schools (more info about medical schools here
), fantastic parks and gardens and more. So, the principal ports of London moved to downstream to the ports of Tilbury and Felixstowe. By the 21st century, London hosted the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, to celebrate the new century. Other important project for the new millennium was the London Eye, a largest observation wheel in the world.