The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom is considered a global city with the term describing a place from where the economy, politics, the arts and the media are sustainably influenced. London has maintained that status for a long time. By 1800, it had a population of one million and from 1830 to 1925, it was the largest city in the world. Today, the Greater London metropolitan area is home to almost 15 million inhabitants, almost a fifth of England’s total population.

LocationPopulationMetro area populationAreaDensity
Southeastern England8,799,80014,800,0001,572 km²5,598 / km²

Evidence has been discovered that the London area was home to humans as early as the Bronze Age. The first permanent settlement was founded by the Romans, likely in the year 47 AD. With William the Conqueror becoming King of England in 1066, a period of sustained growth began. Throughout the Middle Ages, London flourished and cemented its status as an important trade center. London lost roughly 100,000 of its inhabitants in the Great Plague of 1665 and was then wrecked by the Great Fire one year later. In the period of industrialization, London grew very rapidly and today is still Europe’s largest city outside of Russia as well as one of the world’s most important trade and finance centers.

Given London’s significance and the fact that it is the seat of the best-known monarchy, it is no surprise that the British capital is also one of the most visited cities in the world. Some of the town’s attractions, such as the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the London Eye or Buckingham Palace are world-famous and the Tower of London and Westminster Palace have both been declared World Heritage Sites. In addition to its sights, the English metropolis is also a major cultural destination with its theaters, museums and performance centers. Having been the only city that has hosted Olympic Games three times, London is also home to many famous sports venues.

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