Vine Vera London
London: one of the most storied cities in the world, capital of the world’s largest empire, matched only by New York City as a global economic hub, was probably first founded by settlers from another great European empire, the Roman.
Humble Londinium, founded relatively late in the Roman Empire’s ascent, did not last particularly long in its original form, but the general area would remain settled by the Anglo-Saxons in constant conflict with Viking invaders. In the last centuries of the first century AD, London experienced tremendous growth, making it a dominant port city in England.
After the Norman Conquest of 1066, Westminster Palace took shape as the center of English rule, and it remains the meeting place of the United Kingdom’s houses of parliament. As London’s population grew, so did incidence of disease, filth, and overcrowding. Still, as the political capital and trading center of an increasingly influential European kingdom, London produced extraordinary cultural achievements and commercial reach. In the 1500s and 1600s, London saw the creation of the East India Company and the works of William Shakespeare, two British icons, worlds apart in the nature of their accomplishments but equally influential in human affairs for the rest of history.
The British Empire expanded to unprecedented proportions in the first half of the 20th century, reaching an extent never seen again in any empire in history. This made London, by many measures, the effective center of the world, an arbiter of culture, law, political institutions, and commerce, with the British pound serving as the world’s currency. The American Revolution represented a loss, but even then the days of imperial growth were not at an end, as the British shifted their strategy east, to Asia.
World War II left London heavily damaged by German bombs and signaled the beginning of the end of the British Empire, but also the dawn of a diverse new age for London, as immigrants migrated inward from the outer reaches of the Commonwealth and the Empire. London became marked particularly by immigration from the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East.
More recent history has been no less eventful and continues to emphasize London’s place as an economic, cultural, and political mecca for the whole world. Long the home of the world’s most powerful monarchy, London knows class and luxury. In fact, it helped define these qualities for most of the Western world. Economic clout and worldly sophistication are concepts that may as well have found their start in London; the world’s third largest stock exchange and many of its most recognizable artifacts and works of art can be found here.
While a pacesetter for modern urban life, London also boasts some of the most parks of any city in the world. In many ways, it is the first home of Western civilization as we know it today, and though it attracts more visitors than any other city in the world, it’s overwhelming to most of them. Rather than exhausting oneself, emphasize the salutary effects of a trip to London with a visit to Vine Vera London in Knightsbridge, not far from Buckingham Palace.