London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, and the most populous city in the European Union.
London is one of the world's major business, political and cultural centres. It is a leader in international finance, politics, communications, entertainment, fashion and the arts and has considerable influence worldwide. It is widely regarded as one of the world's major global cities, and has been an important settlement for nearly 2000 years.
London has an estimated population of 8 million (as of 2011metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. London has an extremely cosmopolitan population, drawing from a diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, speaking over 300 different languages. Residents of London are referred to as Londoners.
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The city is an international transport hub and a major tourist destination, counting iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace amongst its many attractions, along with famous institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery.
London has three main central business districts: the City of London, the West End in Westminster and Canary Wharf in Docklands. The City of London is the largest financial and business district in Europe.
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall. It threatened, but did not quite reach, the aristocratic district of Westminster and Charles II's Palace of Whitehall and left the suburban slums surrounding the City largely untouched. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and nearly all the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated that it made homeless 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll from the fire is unknown and has traditionally been thought to have been small, as only a few verified deaths are recorded. (more...)
"Jack the Ripper" is the best known pseudonym given to an unidentified serial killer active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter by someone claiming to be the murderer that was disseminated in the media. Attacks ascribed to the Ripper typically involved women prostitutes from the slums whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. Rumours that the murders were connected intensified in September and October 1888, and extremely disturbing letters from a writer or writers purporting to be the murderer were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard. Mainly because of the extraordinarily brutal character of the murders, and because of media treatment of the events, the public came increasingly to believe in a single serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper. An investigation into a series of brutal killings in Whitechapel up to 1891 was unable to connect all the killings conclusively to the murders of 1888, but the legend of Jack the Ripper solidified. As the murders were never solved, the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term "ripperology" was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are over one hundred theories about the Ripper's identity, and the murders have inspired multiple works of fiction.