London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is the most
populous city in the United Kingdom with a metropolitan area of over 13 million
inhabitants. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement
for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who
named it Londinium.
London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its
1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) mediaeval boundaries and in 2011 had a resident
population of 7,375, making it the smallest city in England. Since at least the
19th century, the term London has also referred to the metropolis developed
around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms the Greater London
administrative area (coterminous with the London region), governed by the Mayor
of London and the London Assembly.
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce,
education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional
services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to
its prominence. It is one of the world's leading financial centres and has the
fifth-or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world depending on
measurement. London is a world cultural capital .It is the world's most-visited
city as measured by international arrivals\ and has the world's largest city
airport system measured by passenger traffic. London's 43 universities form the
largest concentration of higher education in Europe In 2012, London became
the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.
London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300
languages are spoken within Greater London. The region had an official
population of 8,416,535 in 2013, making it the most populous municipality in the
European Union, and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population. London's urban
area is the second-largest in the EU with a population of 9,787,426 according to
the 2011 census. London's metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with a
total population of 13,614,409, while the Greater London Authority puts the
population of London metropolitan region at 21 million. London was the world's
most populous city from around 1831 to 1925.
London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens;
the site comprising the Palace of Westminster,Westminster Abbey, and St
Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal
Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other
famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, theLondon Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St
Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home
to numerousmuseums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural
institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern,
British Library and 40 West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest
underground railway network in the world.