The history of London


43 BC

The Romans build a bridge over the river Thames and establish the castle Londinium.

61 AD

The Boudicca uprising against the Roman Empire begins. After the death of the vassal king Prasutagus the Iceni, Rome claimed his kingdom as a Roman province. As a result, his two daughters started an uprising against Rome led by Boudicca. Boudicca was able to mobilize tens of thousands of men and capture and burned down Londinium. In the same year the Boudicca uprising was suppressed by the Romans. It is not known whether Boudicca took here own life or died of an illness.


The Roman Empire falls apart and the legions are withdrawn from Britain.


Work on the first St. Paul's Cathedral began.  


London is sacked by Vikings. 


Under "Alfred the Great", London became the capital of the Anglo-Saxons. 


The William the Conqueror defeats the Anglo-Saxons at Hastings.


William I. builds the "White Tower", which is today part of the Tower of London.


The "Magna Charta" gives citizens the right to elect a mayor. 


Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England. 


The East India Company is founded by London merchants and is given the right to trade with Asia by Queen Elizabeth. The East India Company drove the Portuguese out of Bombay and founded numerous trading establishments on the Indian subcontinent.     


The civil war begins when King Charles I tries to arrest members of the lower house of parliament. The Parliament under Oliver Cromwell then created an army that became known as the "New Model Army ". This army particularly raged in Ireland. The revolutionary thing about this army was, that promotions were based on performance and not on origin. In 1642 all theaters in England were closed for religious reasons. The theater ban also hit the famous Globe Theater of William Shakespeare.   


Karl I is arrested and executed. The monarchy is ended and the republic is proclaimed. The Puritan Oliver Cromwell becomes head of government, his rule was like a military dictatorship.   


The first sea war between England and the Netherlands begins and ends in 1654 with the victory of the British. The victory secures the British trade monopoly with their colonies.


After Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 his son Richard Cromwell took over as "Lord Protector ". But he acted unsuccessfully and in 1659 he fled to Paris. The English people had enough of the republican dictatorship and Britain returned to monarcy by crowning King Charles II.


The English conquer New Amsterdam in the second "Anglo-Dutch War" and rename the city New York.   


In London over 100,000 people die from the plague.


The "Great Fire" destroyed around 13,000 buildings in London. But only a few people were killed. At that time London was a densely built half-timbered town.


The second "Anglo-Dutch War" ends with a settlement, the English get North America and the Dutch get Guiana and Indonesia. The two sea powers are now avoiding each other.


London has a population of around 600,000.


The British East India Company opens a trading office in Guangzhou. Trade with China had a major impact on the drinking habits of the British upper class. Tea from China was payed with opium from India.

1805The Royal Navy defeats the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. In London, Trafalgar Square is being laid out in memory of the fallen Admiral Nelson. The victory was very important for Britain because it prevented an invasion of England by Napoleon, who had already gathered 150,000 soldiers in Boulogne for the invasion. However, Napoleon was able to win dominance on the continent at the Battle of Austerlitz in the same year.


Victoria is crowned and London becomes the center of the British Empire.


First world exhibition. London has 2.7 million inhabitants.


Second world exhibition in London. 


The "Underground" is starting operation. It is the first subway line in the world. The first 7 stations were put into operation between Farringdon and Paddington.    


The bankruptcy of Bank OverendGurney & Company leads to a financial crisis. The railway company bubble burst as early as 1847, but the bank continued to invest in the loss-making railway industry. The panic of 1866 is also known as "Black Friday ".  


The Tower Bridge is opened.   


London has a population of over 6.5 million.


London was devastated by German air raids, killing 30,000 people.


The " Greater London Council" is founded. It was dissolved in 1986. 


The Eurotunnel is completed. The travel time between London and Pariswas reduced to 2 hours and 15 minutes, thanks to the expansion of the high-speed line since 2007.


Germany won the UEFA European Championship in England with a "Golden Goal" by Oliver Bierhoff against the Czech Republic 2-1. The final took place at London's Wembley Stadium.


Ken Livingstone becomes Mayor of London.


By attacks on the underground 52 people were killed.


The Olympic games take place in London.


Around 11 million people live in the greater London area.  


On June 23 "Great Britain" voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (Brexit ). London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. A black day for London, many headquarters of international corporations will relocate their European offices to the continent. A loss of 100,000 jobs is expected.


Great Britain is shaken by several Islamist attacks. In London a car crashes into a group of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. 5 people died in this attack and the assassin was shot on the spot. A pickup truck drives over the footpath on London Bridge, three Islamists get out and walk to Borough Market. They attack people with knives before they are shot by the police. 7 people died in this attack. 79 people die in a high-rise fire in the "Grenfell Tower".

2020Great Britain is leaving the European Union. This means a major upheaval for the City of London, as international banks and corporations are relocating their European headquarters to mainland Europe. The coronavirus is pushing the UK healthcare system to the limit.
2021Around 12 million people live in Greater London.




History of London