The City of London is a unique and ancient section of London that has become one of the most powerful and richest financial hubs in the world. Despite its misleading name, it is not a history of the city of London, but rather the history of a self-governing enclave that has been around for nearly a thousand years.
This article will explore the fascinating history of the City of London, from its Roman roots to its current status as a global financial powerhouse. It will delve into the tradition that has allowed the City of London to thrive and challenge even royalty as the most powerful organization in Britain.
- The City of London is an ancient and self-governing enclave that has become one of the richest global financial hubs in the world.
- Its tradition dates back nearly a thousand years and has allowed it to challenge even royalty as the most powerful organization in Britain.
- This article will explore the history of the City of London, from its Roman roots to its current status as a global financial powerhouse.
Where is the City of London?
The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is situated in the center of London. Its traditional boundaries extend from Chancery Lane in the west to Middlesex Street in the east. The southern boundary is the River Thames, while the northern edge is marked by a line running approximately through Farringdon and Finsbury to Spitalfields.
The History of the City of London
The City of London has a long and storied history, beginning with its founding as Londinium by the Romans in AD 43. The Romans built the city walls that still delineate the Square Mile today, as well as a bridge that turned Londinium into a cosmopolitan city.
The Saxon Period
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Saxons restored London’s buildings and walls and renamed Londinium to Lundenburh or London Fort. They left the outer city and renamed it the “old settlement” or Ealdwic, which survives today as Aldwych.
The Middle Ages
By the middle ages, London was a thousand years old and had seen the rise and fall of two civilizations. When the Normans arrived in Britain in 1066, they signed a charter in 1075 granting London a measure of authority. This was the origin of The City of London Corporation – the governing body that still runs the City today.
Under the rule of The Corporation of London, the City of London became enormously wealthy and powerful. The City’s businesses were given a chance to vote for its mayor, a bizarre form of government that put priority in wealth creation and trade. The old Roman walls still marked the boundary between the Corporation’s power and the power of the monarchy that ruled everything else.
The Great Refusal and the Great Epoch
In 1637, the crown asked the City of London to extend their rule and privileges to the rest of London, but the City turned them down. This cemented the City of London as a unique and separate place. From the 1600s, the City of London became a hub of banking and insurance, and old rivalries between Corporation and Crown persisted.
The City Today
The City of London Corporation still exists and still governs the Square Mile through ancient liberties afforded them nearly 1000 years ago. These liberties have been instrumental in making The City the global financial powerhouse it is today. The City of London today is most known for its highrise developments and big business, shunned by some as a haven for runaway capitalism and laundrette for the world’s dirty money. The banks that call the City home were also responsible, in part, for the 2008 Financial Crash.
City of London History: Practical Information
The City of London can be easily accessed by train or tube, with Liverpool Street Station and Blackfriars being the two main stations. The area is steeped in history and offers plenty of sights and activities to explore. Check out the area guide to make the most of your visit. The Central, Circle, Waterloo and City, District, DLR, Hamersmith and City, and Elizabeth Lines all stop in The City of London.