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London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England and is
the most populous city in the European Union.
London is a leader in international finance, politics, education,
culture, entertainment, fashion and the arts and has considerable
influence worldwide. It is widely regarded as one of the world's major
global cities, and has been an important settlement for nearly two
London has an estimated population of 7.5 million (as of 2005) and a
metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. London has an
extremely cosmopolitan population, drawing from a diverse range of
peoples, cultures and religions, speaking over 300 different languages.
Residents of London are referred to as Londoners.
The city is a major tourist destination and an international transport
hub. It counts many important buildings and iconic landmarks such as the
Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace amongst its
attractions, along with famous institutions such as the British Museum
and the National Gallery.
Today, "London" usually refers to the region of England called London,
which is coterminous with Greater London. At the heart of the
conurbation is the small, ancient City of London which was historically
the entirety of the city. Londoners generally refer to the City of
London simply as "the City" or the "Square Mile". London's metropolitan
area grew considerably during the Victorian era and again during the
Interwar period with expansion halted in the 1940s by World War II and
Green Belt legislation and has been largely static since.
The extent of the London postal district, Metropolitan Police District,
local government area, London transport area, urban sprawl, coverage of
the London telephone area code and metropolitan area have rarely been
coterminous and are not currently. The area delimited by the orbital M25
motorway is sometimes used to define the "London area" and the Greater
London boundary has been aligned to it in places. London is split for
some purposes into Inner London and Outer London.
The coordinates of the centre of London (traditionally considered to be
the original Charing Cross, near the junction of Trafalgar Square and
Whitehall) are approximately 51°30?N 0°8?W. The Romans may have marked
the centre of Londinium with the London Stone in the City.
The entire London urban area may be classed as a "city" using a
geographical definition, but technically it is not so. Officially,
London is a region containing two smaller cities within its built-up
area: the City of London and the City of Westminster (see City status in
Unlike most capital cities, London's status as the capital of the UK has
never been granted or confirmed officially — by statute or in written
form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional
convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the UK's
Geography and Climate
Greater London covers an area of 609 square miles (1,579 km?). Its
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