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Top 10: Greatest Cities

People have always thronged to centres of civilisation, commerce and culture. But which were the most important in their day?

History’s greatest cities

LONDON

HEYDAY: 19th century

‘Londinium’ first became an important settlement during Roman times. Over the centuries, its fortunes rose and fell, but between the Viking and Norman invasions, great expansion saw it become England’s capital. By the 1830s, it had become the planet’s largest city and would remain so until after World War I. The one-time centre of Britain’s vast empire has been devastated by fire, plague and bombing over the centuries but today it remains the world’s most-visited city.

ON THE THAMES This 1894 view from the new Tower Bridge shows London as a bustling port
ALAMY X2, GETTY X5, ISTOCK X2, SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X1
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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The May 2015 issue of History Revealed