London through the ages

Since its creation as an outpost of the Roman Empire, London seems to have always defined itself as the kingdom of free enterprise and individual initiative.

In the year 43 A.D., Emperor Claudius’ envoys were content to lay the foundations of a new city: a bridge, a few roads and a bank. But within a few years, Londinum became a veritable hub where wool, wheat and iron ore were redistributed.

Following several bloody and devastating raids, the Romans decided to build a stone fort on the edge of the town, which they completed in the year 200 with a wall and a wooden palisade (The London Wall).

The decline of Rome led to the decline of Londinum. In 410, the legions abandoned the declining city. Celts, Saxons and Danes fought it until 886. At this date, the king of Wessex, Alfred the Great, managed to re-conquer it, then his son had to abandon it again to the Vikings.

William the Conqueror reached London shortly after his victory at Hastings in 1066. The day after his coronation as King of England, on Christmas Day of the same year, he had the White Tower erected, the starting point of the future Tower of London.

Under the Tudor dynasty (1485-1603), maritime trade and cultural activity experienced an unprecedented boom, particularly during the reign of the stern Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

The Stuart Dynasty was marked by the Great Plague of 1665, which claimed more than 75,000 victims, and the Great Fire of 1666, which in three days destroyed four fifths of the City.

At the height of the British Empire, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), London assumed a global responsibility. In 1900, the population exceeded 6 million. The flag of the British Crown flies over a quarter of the world’s land mass.