London is one of the largest cities of the world today, and there is evidence that it was already inhabited in 4500 BC. The first major human settlement in the area dates back to 43 AD and was founded by the Romans. It was so prosperous that it became the capital of Britannia, but its development was halted, and the settlement was abandoned after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.
A new settlement was started around 500, but it declined again during the 9th century because of the Viking invasion. It became a political center in the 12th century, but it was struck by the Black Death in the 14th century and almost completely destroyed by fire in 1666. London recovered again – by 1831, it was the largest city in the world and it is among the largest, most diverse cultural, economic and arts centers worldwide today.