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Introduction

London (/ˈlʌndən/ (About this sound listen) LUN-dən) is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) medieval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire, which today largely makes up Greater London, a region governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London is a leading global city in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation. It is the world's largest financial centre and has the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP in the world. London is often regarded as a world cultural capital. It is the world's most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the world's largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic. It is the world's leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.

Featured article

The Tower of London, seen from the River Thames

The Tower of London is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. Since at least 1100, the castle has been used as a prison, although that was not its primary purpose. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in England's history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The zenith of the castle's use as a prison came in the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held within its walls. Today the Tower of London is a popular tourist attraction. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. (more...)

Featured picture

City of London skyline from London City Hall - Oct 2008.jpg
Photo credit: David Iliff

The City of London skyline, as viewed toward the northwest from the top floor viewing platform of City Hall on the southern side of the River Thames, in 2008. Not to be confused with the London metropolitan area, the City covers 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2) and, along with Westminster is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew.

Selected quotation

Henry James, The Awkward Age (1899), Bk. I, Ch. 2

Featured biography

Sir Edgar Speyer

Edgar Speyer (1862–1932) was an American-born financier and philanthropist. He became a British citizen in 1892 and was chairman of Speyer Brothers, the British branch of his family’s international finance house, and a partner in the German and American branches. He was chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited from 1906 to 1915, a period during which the company opened three underground railway lines, electrified a fourth and took over two more. Speyer was a supporter of the musical arts and a friend of several leading composers, including Edward Elgar, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. He was chairman of the Classical Music Society for ten years, and he largely funded the Promenade Concerts between 1902 and 1914. His non-musical charitable activities included being honorary treasurer of the fund for Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition. For his philanthropy he was made a baronet in 1906 and a Privy Counsellor in 1909. After the start of the First World War, he became the subject of anti-German attacks in the Press. In 1921, the British government investigated accusations that Speyer had traded with the enemy during the war, and had participated in other wartime conduct incompatible with his British citizenship. Speyer denied the charges, but his naturalisation was revoked and he was struck off the list of members of the Privy Council.

Did you know...

Pass Room Bridewell Microcosm.jpg
  • ...that The Clink prison in Southwark, from which the phrase "in the clink" derives, was possibly the oldest prison in England, founded in the 12th century?
  • ...that Millbank Prison, used largely to hold convicts who were to be deported to Australia, stood on the site now occupied by Tate Britain?

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Transport

London has one of the oldest and largest public transport systems in the world. Many components of its transport system, such as the double-decker bus, the Hackney Carriage black taxi and the Tube, are internationally recognised symbols of London.

The majority of transport services in the capital are provided by Transport for London (TfL), an executive agency of the Mayor of London. The Oyster card is accepted as payment across most TfL-controlled transport modes. In the past ten years TfL has invested heavily in walking and cycling to promote more sustainable travel choices in London, including a Velib-style bike hire scheme which opened in Summer 2010.

Routemaster LDS402A.jpg Hackney carriage.jpg Westminster.tube.station.jubilee.arp.jpg Tramlink-Beckenham Jn.jpg BA Planes T4 2004.jpg

London has a comprehensive rail network with several major railway stations. London has two international train stations, at St. Pancras railway station and Stratford International, which connect London to mainland Europe through the Eurostar service. London also has six international airports.

In addition to public transport, London is the start point for a number of motorway routes. The M25 is an orbital motorway which enables vehicles to avoid travelling through central London and is one of the busiest motorways in Europe.


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1908 Summer Olympics medal table · 1910 London to Manchester air race · 1948 Summer Olympics medal table · 1993 Boat Race · 2003 Boat Race · 2012 Boat Race · Albert Bridge · Aldwych tube station · Anne of Denmark · Harriet Arbuthnot · Arsenal F.C. · History of Arsenal F.C. (1886–1966) · Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield · Alice Ayres · Baden-Powell House · BAE Systems · Baker Street and Waterloo Railway · Enid Blyton · Battersea Bridge · Battle of Barnet · Horatio Bottomley · David Bowie · Boydell Shakespeare Gallery · Brown Dog affair · Bruce Castle · Buckingham Palace · William Henry Bury · Kate Bush · Elizabeth Canning · Caroline of Ansbach · Central London Railway · Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway · Charles II of England · Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office · Chelsea Bridge · Chelsea F.C. · Christopher Smart's asylum confinement · Churches preserved by the Churches Conservation Trust in Southeast England · City and South London Railway · Cleveland Street scandal · Cock Lane ghost · Covent Garden · Noël Coward · Charles Darwin · East End of London · Edward III of England · Edward VI of England · Elizabeth I of England · English National Opera · Edmund Evans · An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump · Gilbert Foliot · Former and unopened London Underground stations · Robin Friday · Prince George of Denmark · George IV of the United Kingdom · John Gielgud · Gray's Inn · Great Fire of London · Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway · Great Stink · Stanley Green · Joseph Grimaldi · Gropecunt Lane · Richard Hakluyt · Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies · Death of Jimi Hendrix · Her Majesty's Theatre · Herne Hill railway station · Georgette Heyer · Henry III of England · Charles Holden · Hoxne Hoard · Len Hutton · Iranian Embassy siege · Jack the Ripper · Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution · Hattie Jacques · James VI and I · Samuel Johnson · Early life of Samuel Johnson · The Kinks · Cosmo Gordon Lang · George Lansbury · Dan Leno · Marie Lloyd · Local nature reserves in Greater London · London Necropolis Company · London Underground stations · John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan · The Magdalen Reading · Marshalsea · Mary II of England · Mellitus · Metropolitan Railway · Henry Moore · Motörhead · Noel Park · Laurence Olivier · Emmeline Pankhurst · Peep Show episodes · Frank Pick · Peasants' Revolt · Pig-faced women · Harold Pinter · Postman's Park · Queens Park Rangers F.C. players · RAF Northolt · RAF Uxbridge · Talbot Baines Reed · Restoration spectacular · Richard II of England · Ralph Richardson · Richmond Bridge · Robert of Jumièges · Rokeby Venus · Rosetta Stone · Royal Gold Cup · Royal National College for the Blind · The Royal Opera · Sex Pistols · William Shakespeare · Jack Sheppard · Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Greater London · Edgar Speyer · Streatham portrait · Tablets on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice · Tallest buildings and structures in London · Terry-Thomas · Theatre Royal, Drury Lane · Murder of Julia Martha Thomas · Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion · Timeline of the London Underground · Death of Ian Tomlinson · Tower of London · Turner Prize winners and nominees · Dick Turpin · Underground Electric Railways Company of London · Vauxhall Bridge · Venues of the 1948 Summer Olympics · Wandsworth Bridge · Whitechapel Murders · William Wilberforce · William III of England · William the Conqueror · Winners of the London Marathon · Mary Wollstonecraft · Timeline of Mary Wollstonecraft · Henry Wood

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1836 Boat Race · 1839 Boat Race · 1840 Boat Race · 1841 Boat Race · 1842 Boat Race · 1845 Boat Race · 1846 Boat Race · 1849 (March) Boat Race · 1849 (December) Boat Race · 1852 Boat Race · 1854 Boat Race · 1856 Boat Race · 1857 Boat Race · 1860 Boat Race · 1861 Boat Race · 1866 Boat Race · 1867 Boat Race · 1868 Boat Race · 1869 Boat Race · 1870 Boat Race · 1871 Boat Race · 1873 Boat Race · 1875 Boat Race · 1876 Boat Race · 1878 Boat Race · 1880 Boat Race · 1881 Boat Race · 1882 Boat Race · 1883 Boat Race · 1884 Boat Race · 1888 Boat Race · 1889 Boat Race · 1890 Boat Race · 1891 Boat Race · 1892 Boat Race · 1893 Boat Race · 1894 Boat Race · 1897 Boat Race · 1898 Boat Race · 1899 Boat Race · 1901 Boat Race · 1903 Boat Race · 1904 Boat Race · 1905 Boat Race · 1906 Boat Race · 1907 Boat Race · 1908 Boat Race · 1909 Boat Race · 1911 Boat Race · 1920 Boat Race · 1921 Boat Race · 1922 Boat Race · 1923 Boat Race · 1924 Boat Race · 1925 Boat Race · 1927 Boat Race · 1928 Boat Race · 1929 Boat Race · 1930 Boat Race · 1932 Boat Race · 1948 Summer Olympics torch relay · 1950 Boat Race · 1951 Boat Race · 1952 Boat Race · 1953 Boat Race · 1954 Boat Race · 1955 Boat Race · 1956 Boat Race · 1957 Boat Race · 1958 Boat Race · 1961 Boat Race · 1963 Boat Race · 1964 Boat Race · 1965 Boat Race · 1966 Boat Race · 1967 Football League Cup Final · 1968 Boat Race · 1970 Boat Race · 1971 Boat Race · 1973 Boat Race · 1974 Boat Race · 1975 Boat Race · 1976 Boat Race · 1977 Boat Race · 1978 Boat Race · 1979 Boat Race · 1980 Boat Race · 1981 Boat Race · 1982 Boat Race · 1983 Boat Race · 1984 Boat Race · 1985 Boat Race · 1986 Boat Race · 1987 Boat Race · 1988 Boat Race · 1989 Boat Race · 1990 Boat Race · 1991 Boat Race · 1992 Boat Race · 1993 Bishopsgate bombing · 1994 Boat Race · 1995 Boat Race · 1996 Boat Race · 1997 Boat Race · 1997–98 Arsenal F.C. season · 1998 Boat Race · 1999 Boat Race · 1999 FA Charity Shield · 2000 Boat Race · 2001 Boat Race · 2002 Boat Race · 2003 Boat Race · 2004 Boat 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