The Growth of London in the Middle Ages

Topics: Middle Ages, River Thames, London Pages: 4 (1439 words) Published: April 7, 2008
Early on in the Middle Ages, London was not the great city it has become in the world today, in fact it was not even called London, it was called Londinium, then Lundenwic, and finally London. In the beginning of the Middle Ages, London was just a small trading town on the banks of the Thames River in England. As the Middle Ages progressed, so did the city of London. Even with the plagues and wars that occurred in and around the city, it grew into the center of the kingdom of England. At the close of the Middle Ages, London was one of the largest cities in the world. From the time that the Angles, Saxons, and the Jutes arrived and settled London, the city grew to become one of the largest and most important cities in the medieval world.

Before the Middle Ages, London was part of the Roman Empire that existed during that time. After subduing the surrounding region, the Romans established the city of Londinium in A.D. 43 (Bunson 296). It was said that “the city owed much of its historical and economic significance to its location…on the Thames River” (“London,” Middle 3:97). To protect themselves from a possible invasion by raiders, the Romans built a wall around the city in the early 200s (Church). The wall played a major part in the history of London, as it formed the boundaries of the city for hundreds of years (Church). Although the Romans were a powerful empire, they were often attacked by invaders, as was the case in 410. Because of that invasion, they were forced to call the Roman troops in Britain home to fight, and that marked the end of Roman control over Britain (Church).

After the Romans abandoned Londinium, a trio of sea-faring Germanic tribes, the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, settled a small trading city named Lundenwic, just west of the old Roman city (Church). After about 400 years of peace, “Vikings from Denmark attacked the town in the 800s. In the 880s Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, united most of England into a single...

Cited: Bunson, Matthew E. “London.” Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. New York: Facts, 1995. 296-97.
Church, Andrew. “London.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2004 ed.
“London.” Medieval World. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 2001. 6: 33-34.
“London.” The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. William Chester Jordan. New York: Scribner’s, 1996. 3: 97-100.
“Medieval London.” Britain Express. Ed. David Ross and Family. Britain Express. 1 May 2007 .
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