The Early History of London, England

One of the English courses I am taking this semester focuses on the city of London and some core components of its history. I was privilege enough to visit London, England, several years ago with my family, and as architecturally beautiful and rich in culture as the city is, it definitely encountered tremendous devastation and destruction in its early years of existence.

One major event that occurred in early London was The Great Fire of London which took place on September 2nd, 1666. A baker failed to shut off one of his ovens when he closed shop in the evening, and said baker, Thomas Farrinor, was actually a baker for King Charles II of England. The fire spread, ultimately destroying approximately four-fifths of the city which included 13,000 homes, 90 churches and 50 halls, and killing 16 people. It has been proposed that the fire killed off many rats carrying the Bubonic Plague and ultimately diminished cases of the disease tremendously.


One of the readings my class was asked to examine is by David Cody and it is titled “A Brief History of London”. This text contains a lot of significant information regarding the early history of London, specifically the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in addition to The Black Death. Cody explains how The Black Death invaded London between 1348 and 1349 and in doing so killed two-thirds of the city’s inhabitants (60,000 people). Following this, there were three major outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague between 1603 and 1636, and with London increasing in its number of residents, more and more individuals became infected. The final outbreak of The Bubonic Plague which occurred in 1665 killed 70,000 people, and because of the tremendous pollution in London, Cholera outbreaks continued well into the 19th century.

Today, London is a city that thrives with life and activity, however I find its rather dark history to be fascinating. I hope to visit again one day after gaining knowledge from this course regarding its history.


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