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Essay on London

Between 10-40 A.D. Emperor Claudius conquered Britain and integrated it into the Roman Emperium. The Celtic fortress Londinium was conquered by the Romans in the year 43 A.D. With the construction of the first bridge over the Thamse, BILD Londinium got the importance of a junction, and not just the Romans used this bridge on their way up to the north but also local traders. Thus the small settlement developed to a city after Roman pattern, to a centre of culture, administration, military and trade. In 286/287 A.D. Carausius, commander of the Roman Marine rebelled against the Emperor and appointed himself as ruler of Britannia. Londinium became his capital. Then in 449 A.D. , with the decay of the Roman Empire the Romans were driven out of Britannia and Londinium lost its importance for a long period of time.In 604 A.D. Londinium got the capitol of the Anglo-Saxon empire „Essex“ and changed its name to Lundenwic. Later, 796 A.D., it became the royal residence of the Anglo-Saxons. Between the years 839-1035 London was besieged, conquered and destroyed by the Danish vikings a several times. These attacks stopped one year later when William the Conqueror conquered Britain and was crowned king in Westminster Abbey which was inaugurated in 1065 BILD. A few years later William signed a Charter which granted London city liberty and self-administration and also The Tower of London was built on his behalf. BILD. Since William, London is regarded as the real capitol of whole Britain.From 1176-1209 A.D. the first bridge of stone in London, the “Old London Bridge” was built BILD. It lasted up to 1832. Then, in the next century, London revolted against the rule of the monarch and strived after political independence. About the end of the 12th century a own Lord Mayor was elected , in 1351 a own touwn council.In the next centuries London grew steadily and became more and more important. The city was spilling over its walls and it had become home to one in every 20 people living in England. In 1660 the number of inhabitants of London was about half a million, but then the Great Plague reached London in the year 1665 and had disastrous consequences. Almost the half of Londons inhabitants died. BILD One year later the next enormous catastrophe followed : The Great Fire. BILD It raged from the 2nd to the 6th of September in 1666 and burned down 13200 houses and 87 churches. Four fifths of the city were destroyed.The next century brought much changes for London. The rebuilding after the Great Fire meant the moving of the living quarter to the attractive districts of Kensington and Chelsea. To this point of time more bridges were built over the Thamse, a sewage and water supply facilities were built and the streets were paved.In 1750 the Westminster Bridge was built BILD and nine years later the British Museum opened BILD.

The following 18th century was to become a century of flourishing and growing for London. The first official census in 1801 counted 860.055 inhabitants. At the end of the 18th century there lived about 7 million people in London. Decisive for this development was the extension of the London Harbour between 1802 and 1828.

It was now the bigges harbour in the country. BILD And even more important was. Of course the Industrial Revolution taking place in entire Britain.

Also important for the positive development, not only of London but of the whole Empire was Queen Victoria, ruling from 1837 to 1901. She made the Buckingham Palace her main residence and also the city structure was formed after the “Victorian Style”.

Examples of important buildings of her time are the in 1852 finished Parliament building with the clock tower Big Ben and the Tower Bridge, built between 1886 and 1894. During the first world war the germans attacked London among other things with zeppelins. 2000 inhabitants of the capitol died. The structural damages were minor.

The second world war was a very different story. On 7 september 1940 hundreds if German bombers attacked London. Over 25,000 people were killed and lots of cathedrals and buildings were destroyed. BILD
About the time after the second world war i will talk in my third point.

II. Basic information of London
-Size/location:
London lies in the London crayonpool at the Thamse about 75 km west of its mouth to the north-sea. The City of London is 2.6 square kilometers large. The centre spans over 303 sk and Greater London is over 1600 sk large. It is restricted by a green belt built in 1935.

-Population:
More than 7.1 million people can call themselves “Londoners”. Almost 80% of them are white.
The largest minority form the Indians (5.2 %), followed by the Caribbean (4.4%) and the Africans (2.4%).

-Districts/divison :
The area of Greater London is composed of Inner London and Outer London. The Inner Region consists of twelve boroughs : Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea und Westminster. Also the administrative almost independent City of London is part of the area of Inner London. The City has its own police department.For the rest of the city cares the in 1829 founded Metropolitan Police, this Metropolitan police is under the control of the Home Office (= Innenministerium). In charge of the medical care is the state welfare service, the “National Health Service”. Other communal tasks as education, town planning, housebuilding, waste disposal or local traffic policy are matters of the respective boroughs. But in everydays life the names of the boroughs don’t play an important role. More important for the usage is the geographical name of the respective district one is living or working in. These are : Camden, East End, Docklands, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark, Holborn, Clerkenwell, Bloomsbury, Soho, Covent Garden, St James’s, Mayfair, Belgravia, Whitehall, Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham, Notting Hill.

-Administration of London:
Until 1986 there was the democratically elected Greater London Council (GLC), at that time with Ken Livingston at the top. But then prime minister Margaret Thatcher abolished the Greater London Council and is thus responsible for the fact, that London as the only big city in the world has no democratically elected local council and no Lord Mayor.

-Politics:
London is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Furthermore itґs one of the most important centres of culture, fincances and trade of the world.
The Thamse metropolis is not only the residence of the monarch, but there are also the government the Parliament, the biggest court in the country, the most important authorities, the anglosaxon archbishop of Canterbury as well as a catholic archbishop.

-Social matters:
The gross income lies at 20.000 euro per year and nose in the average. 6% of all people in Greater London and even 9% in the centre are unemployed. The redundancy is worst in Hackney (over 16%) and Tower Hamlets (about 13 % )

-Traffic:
London has 5 airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Luton und Stansted. Trains and undergrounds pass about 800 railway stations : eight special railway stations built in a ring around the city centre serve for the long distance traffic. From these stations trains leave to all regions of Great Britain and to the continent.

There are over 8000 buses in London with about 14000 bus stops. 8000 cabs and a unknown number of privat cars are on their way in London every day and cause never ending jams. The 1.3 million commuters make also their contribution to this situation although most of them reach the city by train or underground. Nevertheless, the average speed of cars in the city is about 17 km/h.

Recently there was introduced a toll of about 8 pounds. Up to now it has been very successfully and helped to increase the average speed.

-Tourism:
Every year more than 13 million foreign tourists and about 12 million British visit London. That makes more than 25 million tourists per yeart. 17.2 % of the foreign tourists are Americans, 10.4% are German. The tourists spend together more than 10 billion Ђuros.

III. London – a changing metropolis
After the 2.World war many immigrants moved to Great Britain, especially to London. To this time they were welcome guest workers. In the 1950s, however, the London harbour lost its importance: the ever-growing trade ships could no longer reach the docks because the water level was too low. What followed was a economic recession. Profound deindustrialisation of the former highly indutrialsed London was the main consequence of this recession.

The recession also meant that more than 500,000 people lost their jobs, and many workers of the Lower Middle Class and the Working class were afraid of their jobs.

This era in London, which was regarded as very intolerant toward ethnic diversity, was when right-wing radicalism increased. Once known as the melting pot of nations, Great Britain and London became more and more unpopular to immigrants. This turn of events was further enhanced by Margaret Thatcherґs Immigration Laws. The English culture and life-style, however, actually enriched the immigrantsґ culture.

In the 1980s the economy went through a recovery and the economic structure changed to a more service-oriented one.

Today nine out of ten jobs in London are in the service area, especially in the bank and insurance business. Currently there are over 500 banks and insurance companies in the City of London, attracted by Margrat Thatchers economy laws. On only a few squarekilometers is one of the largest banking and finance centre of the world concentrated. It offers about about 270,000 jobs and makes London to the finance capitol of the European Union.

A good example of the development from an industrialised country to a service sector orientated one is the old harbour of London. After the 2.world war there was a slowly decline until 1972, the end of the docklands. But at the end of 70ies they were modernized with enormous costs to the most modern part of London. Thatґs why itґs called today the “London of the 21th century”.

It is now an office area and there are also numerous luxus accommodations. A symbol of the luxus in London of the 21th is the Canary Wharf Tower, which is 244 meters high.

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