London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in southeast England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millennia. The City of London, London’s ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans and originally called Londinium; with an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile, it retains boundaries that closely follow its medieval limits. The adjacent City of Westminster has for centuries been the location of much of the national government. Thirty-one additional boroughs north and south of the river also comprise modern London. The London region is governed by the mayor of London and the London Assembly.
London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2018 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was roughly 9 million, which made it the third-most populous city in Europe. London accounts for 13.4% of the U.K. population. Greater London Built-up Area is the fourth-most populous in Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, and Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The London metropolitan area is the third-most populous in Europe, after Istanbul and the Moscow Metropolitan Area, with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016.
London’s finance industry is based in the City of London and Canary Wharf, the two major business districts in London. London is one of the pre-eminent financial centres of the world as the most important location for international finance. London took over as a major financial centre shortly after 1795 when the Dutch Republic collapsed before the Napoleonic armies. For many bankers established in Amsterdam (e.g. Hope, Baring), this was only time to move to London. The London financial elite was strengthened by a strong Jewish community from all over Europe capable of mastering the most sophisticated financial tools of the time. This unique concentration of talents accelerated the transition from the Commercial Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the 19th century, Britain was the wealthiest of all nations, and London a leading financial centre. Still, as of 2016 London tops the world rankings on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), and it ranked second in A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Global Cities Index.
London is one of the world’s most important global cities. It exerts considerable influence on the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, London escorts, research and development, tourism, and transportation. It is one of the largest financial centres in the world and in 2019, London had the second highest number of ultra high-net-worth individuals in Europe, after Paris. And in 2020, London had the second-highest number of billionaires of any city in Europe, after Moscow. London’s universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe, and London is home to highly ranked institutions such as Imperial College London in natural and applied sciences, the London School of Economics in social sciences, as well as the comprehensive University College London. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games.
London’s gross regional product in 2018 was almost £500 billion, around a quarter of UK GDP. London has five major business districts: the city, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark. One way to get an idea of their relative importance is to look at relative amounts of office space: Greater London had 27 million m2 of office space in 2001, and the City contains the most space, with 8 million m2 of office space. London has some of the highest real estate prices in the world. London is the world’s most expensive office market for the last three years according to world property journal (2015) report. As of 2015 the residential property in London is worth $2.2 trillion—the same value as that of Brazil’s annual GDP. The city has the highest property prices of any European city according to the Office for National Statistics and the European Office of Statistics. On average the price per square metre in central London is €24,252 (April 2014). This is higher than the property prices in other G8 European capital cities; Berlin €3,306, Rome €6,188 and Paris €11,229.