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What did the Romans do for the development of London?

In 43 A.D. the Romans conquered Britain and for 400 years it remained a Roman province. The Romans built long straight roads along which the Roman soldiers marched.

Many of them met at the point where London bridge now stands. The Romans made London, which they called Londinium, a large and rich city with good streets, beautiful palaces, shops and villas. Trade was growing.

In the fifth century the Romans left Britain, but other invaders came to the British shores. They almost ruined the city and it remained in this poor state for almost 400 years.

Only in the 9th century the Saxon kings began to rebuild the city. They started the building of Westminster Abbey.


How did the Normans influence Britain’s civilization?

In 1066 came William the Duke of Normandy or William the Conqueror who settled in London.

For 500 years the Normans were masters of Britain. They brought with them Latin and French civilization, the laws and the organization of the land. Many Latin and French words penetrated into the Old English language. They did their best to make the city beautiful. The Westminster was finished and William was the first king to be crowned there. Since then all English kings have been crowned there. At that time the Tower of London was built on the Thames and it stands there still unchanged. Commerce and trade grew very quickly, but the population grew even faster. London became a busy, rich and crowded city. The old city looked very picturesque with its tall houses of wood and plaster and its narrow streets.


What were the consequences of two great tragedies that London suffered?

But then London suffered two awful tragedies, at first – the Great Plague (1665) and then the Great Fire (1666). In a few months nearly 100,000 people, that is 1/5 of the population died because of the Plague. And only winter and its cold saved the city and the people.

The Great Fire happened through carelessness of a young baker who left a small bundle of wood near a very hot oven. In a few hours all the houses made of wood were burning like paper. This fire destroyed 3000 houses and at least 97 churches.

Fortunately the wind soon stopped and then heavy rain fell. Thus London was saved.


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