The Romans invaded England in 43 AD, establishing Londinium, which became London, but had Colchester as the capital of England. London became the capital of England in 100 AD.
When the Angles and Saxons invaded Roman Britannia in the 5th century, they called it, among other names, Brittani and Bretenland and some of their kings were given the title Bretwalda, echoing the Latin Dux Britanniarum Leader of the Britains. In old English – which sounds like modern German – the island was called Bryten (‘brighten’), originating from the West Germanic Brituna from which the word Briton comes. At this time, Winchester became the capital of England.
In 842, the Danish Vikings looted London, returning for the same in 851. In 1066, York briefly became the Viking capital of England. By 1086 both London and Winchester served as capitals. From the year 1200, Westminster became the capital but by the late 12th century the capital of England again became London.
UK capital today
Since the recession started in 2007, the joke goes that the capital of England is now Zero.
The “zero capital” story in full: In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed two thirds of the capital: 13,200 houses and 89 churches. Most of the value was again destroyed in 2008 and 2009 when the rogue raiders Andy Hornby, Dennis Stevenson, Fred Goodwin, Tom McKillop, Eric Daniels and Bob Diamond looted the city. The capital of England became Zero.
Burning or not, there is never a dull moment in London. As Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” After all, London now hosts the tallest building in Europe, the Shard. And it is host to the 2012 Summer Olympics, which it also hosted in 1908 and 1948.