London is first mentioned in that passage in the Annals of Tacitus which tells us that in the middle of the first century she was already an established town, much frequented by merchants and ships.
Already, too, there were many in her so rooted by custom and affection to the place that they preferred to remain even when the Roman general Suetonius decided that he could not defend her against the advancing, and avenging, army of Boadicea. They remained; and they were killed.
It is one of the strangest things in London's history that she should first appear at the moment when she was sacked by a British Queen, and that that Queen's statue should now stand in a place of 'honour under the Palace of Westminster, looking up the Thames.
It is strange, but it marks that peculiar position of London as the meeting place of the races out of which the English people were made.Next page: A Cosmopolitan City