How did London get Named?

August 5, 2017 • News

We ask how did London get named?

How did London get named? London has a rich history and the SL version of the original, which began way back in prehistory, continues this long tradition. This time we delve deep back into history to see where the name London came from.

Prehistoric London

A well-located position like London was occupied well before the Romans arrived. Evidence of human habitation goes back to as far as 450,000 BC. Easy access to the sea and a central location in the south make it an ideal position for any community. With the Thames running all the way into Oxford and out to the North Sea, it’s reach for trade and conquest runs even deeper into the Kingdom of Britain. There is evidence of human occupation around what is now known as London as far back at least half a million years ago. That means thousands of generations of people have lived in the region before us.

More recent evidence of early London occupation comes from a large structure built 6,000 years ago, when London was occupied by Mesolithic people.

London get Named

Bronze Age London

In the Bronze age London was already a famous important trading city. Celtic tribes there spoke a language like those spoken in Wales, Scotland and Ireland today. The settlement in London 6,000 years ago wasn’t called London, it was probably called Plowonida, which comes from the Celtic words ‘plew’ and ‘nejd’, meaning wide flowing river. It could also have been named Londinion, from the name of a chief in that area and the fact that ‘lond’ in Celtic means wild – but that’s just guessing. The original name could have also been ‘Llyn Dain’, Welsh for ‘pool of the Thames’, or ‘Llan Dian’, referring to the Temple of Diana which was supposed to have stood where St Paul’s Cathedral is now. There are at least four possible roots for the name London. However, later in Celtic times, this community became known as Lowonidonjon, so the name really started developing into the one we know now then.

London get named

Roman London

Romans came to live in Britain at around 50AD and occupied it right up until the 5th Century. The Roman invasion is most famous for the battle with Queen Boudicca, but they also formed many important cities at that time, mostly on original Celtic settlements. The first recorded mention of London was by the Romans, when Tacitus speaks of London as “Londinium…though undistinguished by the name of a colonia, was much frequented by a number of merchants and trading vessels.”. In various mentions, it’s also called Londinio, Londiniensi and Londiniensium.

London get named

Anglo Saxon London

When the Romans left, London withered and barely survived, but was taken up by the Anglo Saxons during the 7th and 8th century. They formed a port colony they called Lundenwic, in Anglo Saxon this means ‘London settlement or trading town’. I would like to think this was also taken from the old name that was still in use for the area.

London get named

Norman London

The next conquerors gave London it’s final name, the name we know and love today. When William the Conqueror came to Britain, London’s location was the best place for trade, with its sea route and access to the interior by way of the Thames river.

Following the Norman conquest, records begin to show the area referred to by its modern name, or similar versions such as Lundin, Londoun, Lunden and Londen. Over the centuries since then, the spelling settled down on London and remains there to this day.

London get named

Anglo Saxon Knights

Modern London

London has grown from a small port settlement into the huge capital city we know today. It has many magnificent historic buildings to boast of and some strange eccentricities too.

London get named

London inSL

Second Life has hosted London since 2006 and the city there has also undergone many changes and modernizations. The latest changes are the mesh builds, new clubs and transport systems. As it’s always changing, it’s worth checking in regularly to see what’s new there today.

London get named

London in Second Life is a busy hub of activity

London as a Name

The name London can have come from one of many roots. So far we know it could started as: a wide flowing river, the name of a wild chief, the pool of the Thames, or Temple of Diana.

We cannot say for sure where the original name came from, because there was no written history when it began, however we do know it was called Londinium in the Roman era and from that ‘London’ was born.

It’s fitting that a city with such a complicated past would have a name that changed and evolved over the years. Thankfully, the city has been called ‘London’ for some time now – this is the name we know the city as today.

London get named

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