Welcome to London
London is the world’s greatest metropolises. It is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom.
An important settlement for two millennia, London's history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since that time, London has been part of many movements and phenomena throughout history, including the English Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. London is a leader in development and change, being one of first cities to have an underground railway.
As of July 2007, it had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater London. As of 2001, the Greater London Urban Area is the second largest in the EU after Paris with a population of 8,278,251 and the metropolitan area is estimated to have a total population of between 12 million and 14 million.
The administration of London is formed of two tiers—a city-wide and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities.
The GLA consists of two elected components; the Mayor of London, who has executive powers, and the London Assembly, who scrutinise the mayor's decisions and can accept or reject his budget proposals each year.
The city is a major tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors, with annual expenditure by tourists of around £15 billion. Greater London contains four World Heritage Sites:
London and the Commonwealth
The history and culture of the Commonwealth is intertwined with Europe’s most ethnically diverse city. First, second and third generation immigrants make up over 30% of the London population and over 300 languages are spoken within the city.
Its population draws from a wide range of peoples, cultures and religions. Due in part to the geographical scale of the British Empire, the post war period stands out as the age of immigration.
London’s African population is one of the fastest growing ethnic minority groups in the capital.
Indians are the largest ethnic group (over 1 million individuals or 1.8% of the total population), followed by Pakistanis (1.3%). Bangladeshis are one of the smallest ethnic groups.
Certain areas of London have become new homes from homes for the more established communities. Brixton and Dalston are probably the most prominent Afro-Caribbean and African districts. Southall is predominately Punjabi; Wembley is a Gujarati stronghold and the East End, London’s main immigrant hub is now the heart of Bengali London.
It is a major financial hub and a leading centre of global finance and banking.
London is also a popular events and conference destination hosting hundreds of business and cultural events every year. In 2012 London will also host Summer Olympic and Paralympics Games.