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The First London

The First London image
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Appiuvntiy, t lic very Ötsrt London was a Welsh viliage - an ancienf liii;ish VilIagO, the history 'uouk-; woukl whicli crowned the top of Ludgate llill, near where St. PauTa now Btands. The old Wcls'n. who owned Britain before the English took it, ;i race lialf-hunteis, half-cülüvators, uk Cresar ti'lls iis. J 11 his linie, the lïiilons ui' the Boutiteastem conntiy, whlch oon;;;:.;,, ..; i ,.-Jn i'iilt;ililci)aiis, wcrc tillerg of tho soil: while those of the hilly northwest stiil pastoral nómada or Bavagu hu: tors, dwaling in moyable villages ind Laving mere empty f ort8 on the liill-tops, to which the vvhole population rotreated with tholr cattle in case of i:ivasion. These duos, or hill-forts, st !l i'xist in numbers overal! England, anti are generalij knowa as "British canips." üiioh names as Sinodun, Brendo i, and Wimbledon wil] preserve their ui moiy; while we are familiar with tlio Lattnlzed f orm in CamaloduniiiD, V. rfdunnm, and ïiiiiM. Dunedin, Dunbar, Dundee, and Dunkeld give ua iScottish forma oí like i!n)licatii)ii. Down ;ml dnne survive as inodified modern words from tlie Barne root. As ;i rale, tbs syllablesd}in umi don ld il.icc uames are sure indicationa of au old hi'1-fort. The "castles" or rude eiirthworks which crown al most every ln-if;lit amöllg tho South Downs anil the western hills are the last remains of these old Welsh strongholds. Maiden Caatle, pear Dorcliester, and the arthwt r.s at Ciasbury, Silchester, a-id jgbury are familiar tnstances, Even lefore the Romans camp, however, the river valleya of the southeast of Britain were Inhabitated by agricultura! tribes, with lixetl habitations and considerable towns. Tbere are two great basins in England whicta liave alvüs posaessed thé highest agricultural Lmportanoe; the one is that of the Thaincs, tbc oilicrthat of the Yorksbire Ouso. So lmig as England retnained mainly au agricultura! country, thé two greatest cjties of the land were the ï'espective centres of these basins, Londoa and York. And there lias been more than one moanent in our historj when it might have Beemed doubtful which was to ljecome ultimately tht capital of the"whole kingdom. Now what made London the centre of the Xhaiuea Valley? foi that, of couise was the lirst stq) toward inaking it the metropolis t' the üiitish empire. Well the Welsh tribe which inhabited the lawer part Of llie valley milSt have or iginally needed a dun like all theii neighbors. lint there are not man] conspicuous hills in the flatbasinof thi Thamea between lïichmond anfl the sea; and Ludgate Ilill was perliapa tlif besl tiiai ilif Trinobantes of Middleaex eould get. Tu be sure, it could not compare with the dun at Edinburgh, at Dumbarlon, or at stirling; but it was high enough to make a natural liiil. and it stooil just above the point where the tide is distinctly feit. ïlms, as tbeold Welshbecamegradually more and inore civilized, a regular towngrew iip around the low dun, and bore l'roin the very lirsl its modem name of London.for no name in Kngland has alterad so little with tlie wear and tear of centuries. H was not without natural odvantages of Bituation; for a belt of marshea girt il round on every sidefrom the estuaiy of tbeLeaand the Finsbury Flats to the Pleet rivor and London Fen; where the Strand now stretches. In the interval between Caius ('csar's abortive attempt upon Dritain, and the reduction of 1 1 e south coast under Claudius, we know that a considerable trading town. developed around the old village. CuBobeün, whose coins of Roman type are still found trom Nopvvicliand Cuestor to Kent, luid his palace at the neighboring station of Camalodunum;but London was the centre of Bueh rude t rade as yet existed. Trackways stil! traceable radiated thence all over the eastern counties and the south coast, where the tr.iffle with Qaul w:.s


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