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London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom and one of the largest and most important cities in the world. The area was originally settled by early hunter gatherers around 6,000 B.C., and researchers have found evidence of Bronze Age bridges and Iron Age forts near the River Thames.

With an estimated 8,787,892 residents in 2019, London is the most populous region, urban zone and metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. London generates approximately 22 per cent of the UK’s GDP. London shifted to a mostly service-based economy earlier than other European cities, particularly following the Second World War. A number of factors contribute to London’s success as a service industry and business center.

The city grew up within the original Roman walls, which were repaired and built up. Houses were made of wood and plaster and crowded together very tightly, with the upper floors leaning out over the streets, which were either cobbled or dirt. Rubbish was thrown out of the windows onto the streets below.