London Hotels Articles

April 5, 2010

London Travel Guide

London  is the capital and largest urban area of England and the United Kingdom. At its core, the ancient City of London, to which the name historically belongs, still retains its limited mediaeval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century the name “London” has also referred to the whole metropolis which has developed around it. Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly.

An important settlement for two millennia, London’s history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since its settlement, London has been the centre of many important
movements and phenomena throughout history such as the English Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Gothic Revival. In light of this, the city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world which has increased over the years due to the city’s economic growth

The etymology of London remains unclear. The earliest mention of the city’s toponym can be attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. The name is
described as originating from King Lud in which he had allegedly taken over the city and named it after himself to Kaerlud. This was then eventually slurred into Kaerludein and finally London. Although some sources support this theory, Geoffrey’s work is largely based on Celtic folklore and it is believed that he was trying to balance historical writings in order to give pre-eminence to Roman, Saxon, and Norman versions of history.

Several other explanations have been proposed by linguists throughout history. Many propose that the name comes from Welsh or Brythonic meaning “city on the lake” or “fortress on the lake”. Other theories propose the name to mean “precinct of the fortress”, “city on the hill” “city of the Moon”, or “city on the grove”. Another possible explanation is that the area of London was previously settled by Belgae who named their outposts after townships in Belgium. Some of these Belgic toponyms have been attributed to the namesake of London including Lime, Douvrend, and Londinières. A fanciful theory suggests that the Anglo-Saxons were descendants of the Tribe of Dan. When inhabiting in the area, it is possible that they would have named their settlement lan-dan, meaning “place of Dan” in Hebrew.

Although there is some evidence of scattered Brython settlement in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans in AD 43 as Londinium, following the roman conquest of Britain. The first London lasted for just seventeen years. Around AD 61, the Iceni tribe of Celts led by Queen Boudica stormed London, burning it to the ground. The next, heavily-planned incarnation of the city prospered and superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in AD 100. At its height in the 2nd century AD, Roman London had a population of around 60,000. However, by the 3rdcentury AD, the city started a slow decline due to trouble in the Roman Empire, and by the5th century AD, it was largely abandoned.
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