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The history of London
More than two thousand years ago the early Britons established a settlement on the north bank of the Thames. The site had many advantages. It was defended on two sides by rivers. It lay in the center of the most fertile region. The old Britons gave the town its name, Lyndin, the Romans made it the center of their colony, the Germanic invaders tied to burn and destroy it, the victorious Normans made it the capital of the country. So the physical layout of contemporary London is the end product of complex historical events and growth forces.
The fort of Londinium, founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD, and the administrative center established at Westminster 1000 years later served as the nuclei for following development in Central London.
At the time of the Roman occupation of Britain in the 1st century AD, London was already a town of considerable importance, in the 2th century King Alfred made London the capital of his kingdom. After William the Conqueror established himself in England, he began construction of the Tower of London, intending it as a citadel to overawe the populace. Many Normans settled in London and erected imposing edifices.
Throughout the Middle Ages the development of London was slow and was repeatedly arrested by wars, epidemics and commercial crises. The opening by Queen Elizabeth 1 of the Royal Exchange in 1566 marked the growth of the city expanded it might become too powerful. Queen Elizabeth 1 issued a proclamation prohibiting the construction of any new building within a radius of 4,8 km outside the city gates.
In 1665, during the Great Plague, nearly 70,000 Londoners died of to the disease with a period of a year. The epidemic was followed by the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed most of the walled section of the city. Because the Rebuilding Act of 1667 stipulated that only stone and brick be used, the new buildings that rose from the ruins bore little resemblance to the quaint wooden dwellings of old London.
During the 19th century many suburbs were incorporated into Greater London, all the bridges in the city were rebuilt in stone, and the streets were furnished first with gas, and later with electric, illumination.
During World War 1 London was the object of frequent raids by German airplanes and zeppelins. The city was heavily bombed during World War 2. About 10,000 persons wee killed. Among the celebrated buildings either damaged or destroyed were the Tower of London, the British Museum, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham palace, many railway stations also were severely damaged.
After the war, by the end of the 1950s most of the war damage in London was repaired. As a result of the reconstruction the skyline of the city began changing. Tall buildings were built, such as The London StockExchange, the General Post Office. Homes, shops, schools and a cultural center were built, and important landmarks were preserved.
Considerable controversy followed the demolition of several historical or architecturally interesting areas sacrificed for the construction of high-rise office and apartment buildings.