Etymology of London The city's name may derive from the River Thames. The etymology of London is uncertain. The earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae , written around This was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into West Germanic , the ancestor-language of English, before English had become widely spoken in what later became England.
Peter Schrijver has specifically suggested, on these grounds, that the name originally meant 'place that floods periodically, tidally '. History of London and Timeline of London Prehistory Two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area. In , the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the foreshore north of Vauxhall Bridge.
Dendrochronology dated the timbers to ca. Both structures are on the south bank, at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the Thames. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60, From the s repeated Viking assaults brought decline. Three are recorded; those in and succeeded, while the last, in , was rebuffed. It was an area of political and geographical control imposed by the Viking incursions which was formally agreed by the Danish warlord , Guthrum and the West Saxon king Alfred the Great in Archaeological research shows that this involved abandonment of Lundenwic and a revival of life and trade within the old Roman walls.
London then grew slowly until about , after which activity increased dramatically. Westminster Abbey , rebuilt in the Romanesque style by King Edward the Confessor , was one of the grandest churches in Europe.
Winchester had previously been the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, but from this time on, London became the main forum for foreign traders and the base for defence in time of war.
In the view of Frank Stenton: The hall became the basis of a new Palace of Westminster. For most purposes this was Westminster, although the royal treasury, having been moved from Winchester, came to rest in the Tower.
While the City of Westminster developed into a true capital in governmental terms, its distinct neighbour, the City of London, remained England's largest city and principal commercial centre, and it flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London.
In , its population was around 18,; by it had grown to nearly , Violence against Jews took place in , after it was rumoured that the new King had ordered their massacre after they had presented themselves at his coronation. There is only one bridge across the Thames, but parts of Southwark on the south bank of the river have been developed.
During the Tudor period the Reformation produced a gradual shift to Protestantism, and much of London property passed from church to private ownership, which accelerated trade and business in the city.
The commercial route to Italy and the Mediterranean Sea normally lay through Antwerp and over the Alps ; any ships passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to or from England were likely to be Italian or Ragusan. Upon the re-opening of the Netherlands to English shipping in January , there ensued a strong outburst of commercial activity.
London became the principal North Sea port, with migrants arriving from England and abroad. The population rose from an estimated 50, in to about , in By the end of the Tudor period in , London was still very compact.
After an initial advance by the Royalists in , culminating in the battles of Brentford and Turnham Green , London was surrounded by a defensive perimeter wall known as the Lines of Communication. The lines were built by up to 20, people, and were completed in under two months. During the Georgian era , new districts such as Mayfair were formed in the west; new bridges over the Thames encouraged development in South London. In the east, the Port of London expanded downstream.
London's development as an international financial centre matured for much of the s. During the 18th century, London was dogged by crime, and the Bow Street Runners were established in as a professional police force. Following the invasion of Amsterdam by Napoleonic armies, many financiers relocated to London, especially a large Jewish community, and the first London international issue[ clarification needed ] was arranged in Around the same time, the Royal Navy became the world leading war fleet[ citation needed ], acting as a serious deterrent to potential economic adversaries of the United Kingdom.
The repeal of the Corn Laws in was specifically aimed at weakening Dutch economic power[ citation needed ]. London then overtook Amsterdam as the leading international financial centre[ citation needed ].
According to Samuel Johnson: You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
The Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion in the capital and some of the surrounding counties; it was abolished in when the London County Council was created out of those areas of the counties surrounding the capital. London was bombed by the Germans during the First World War ,  and during the Second World War, the Blitz and other bombings by the German Luftwaffe killed over 30, Londoners, destroying large tracts of housing and other buildings across the city.
In , the Festival of Britain was held on the South Bank. This was borne out of London's ever-increasing role as a major international financial centre during the s. Experts feel this is due to excessive pressure in youngsters' environment and youngstersd in deprived areas feel they have no future in terms of jobs or education.
Mental health services for young people who need them are inadequate.