Blog > History Of London: Roman Period

January 10, 2013

The history of London is one of the most interesting aspects to learn when visiting the United Kingdom.  If it wasn't for its history, London wouldn't be what it is today.

What most people are unaware of  is that the history of London goes back nearly two thousands and can be easily divided into several periods.

If your travel plans permit you might want to take a few day excursions out of the city but there is plenty to do right in the capital. 

Luckily, every major site will be easily accessible from the Safestay Hostel with a short walk to the tube (subway). We would recommend that you purchase an oyster card to facilitate easy movement from one place to another throughout London.  This card can be used on the city buses as well as the Underground.

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     The history of the city of London began around 43 A.D or C.E. with the Roman invasion of Britain.

It became for them a weapons depot that they used during their conquest of  the southern part of the island.  Geography played an important role in allowing Londinium as called by the Romans in developing as a trading center within Britain and a port for trade with the continent. 

Within 20 years it had developed as an important port within the Roman Empire and served in an administrative role as well.  In 61 it was burned to the ground by the  Queen of the Inceni from East Anglia.  Queen Boudicca captured and destroyed the city as part of her native uprising against the Roman occupation.

By the year 100 it was rebuilt since it is mentioned in the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus.

It soon became the administrative, financial and commercial capital of Roman Britain. By 250 C.E. It could boast a population of 30,000 making it the largest city in the province. By the end of the  third century it had a population well over 50,000. 

At this time the city would be surrounded  by stone walls that measured 8 feet in density and stood up to 20 feet in height. You can still see remnants of the wall today. Behind this 3 mile enclosure one would of seen public buildings, offices, commercial buildings, small manufacturing, temples, baths, modest but well built homes and even elaborate villas.

     As the Roman Empire began to unwind during the 4th century the Legions in Britain and Londinium were withdrawn.  The inhabitants of the city attempted to carry on their civilization but new Germanic invaders from the mainland arrived and the city began its decline in importance. 

Some historians claim the city would be abandoned since there is no historical records from this time that mention its continued existence. Thus ends the early history of the capital of the United Kingdom.

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