LOCATED ON THE Thames River in southwestern England in the British Isles, London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom. The history of London can be traced back nearly 2,000 years to its founding as Londinium in 50 C.E. by the Romans. Much debate has occurred as to the exact type of Roman settlement that originated at the site, civilian or military. Archaeological evidence points to the original settlement starting as a civilian effort. For the next 400 years, the Romans controlled the strategic site on the edge of the Thames but eventually abandoned it. Later, the Saxons established Lundenwic to the west of what would become the walled City of London in the 7th century. The walled City of London came into prominence during the Norman control of the area beginning in the 10th century C.E. It was at this time that present-day London began to take shape. Norman control of London continued for nearly 700 years, during which time a significant landmark, the Tower of London, was constructed. Stuart control of the city and the whole of England saw London’s importance continue to grow despite some major disasters such as the Great London Fire of 1666 and the previous year’s plague, which wiped out a large portion of the city’s population. The 19th century saw London obtain the major global city status that it still enjoys today. The population of the city rose from 1 million at the turn of the 19th century to over 6 million at the turn of the next. The city was the largest city in the world during this period, the capital of the British Empire, and the global leader in politics, finance, and business. This period in London’s history is also marked by extreme social polarization with millions of the city’s inhabitants living in extreme poverty and appalling slums in the innercity areas. Numerous landmarks were constructed during this century, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, and the Tower Bridge. One of the biggest changes to London occurred in the 19th century: the introduction of the railroad, with the first line being opened in 1836 connecting Greenwich and London Bridge. Soon after, a large number of rail stations were constructed linking the city to the rest of the British hinterland. In 1850, the London Underground was opened and soon the outflux of those who could afford to move to the open spaces of the periphery of London left the inner city residents to combat extreme poverty and disease.