A brief history
The Romans founded the city of Londinium in the first century on the banks of the river Thames. They went about their business, building roads and aqueducts, as you would expect. Parts of these roads are still visible today. Amazing.
In 1066 the Normans (Frenchmen) invaded England and London seemed like a good choice as the capital city. Apparently this was the last time the British lost a battle on home soil. By the year 1600 London was home to 200,000 inhabitants and things were going along smoothly.
This all changed in 1665 with the arrival of the bubonic plague (Black Death), carried by rats, which wiped out half of the population. The next year (1666) marked the Great Fire of London. This had the effect of dealing the death blow to the remnants of the plague, while destroying most of London at the same time. Talk about consecutive action-packed years. The modern city is based upon the subsequent rebuilding of the city.
London expanded all the while. This was facilitated particularly by the opening of over ground and underground railway systems. The first underground line was opened in 1863 and used steam engines to ferry passengers around. Think about that the next time you’re on the tube.
World War II bombing and commercial expansion have changed the face of London. Recently the Docklands area has been rejuvenated and the Millennium Dome (the largest of its type in the world) has been added to Greenwich.