North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie
Anne Cécile Desclos was a French journalist and novelist who wrote under the pseudonyms Dominique Aury and Pauline Réage, is best known for her erotic novel Histoire d'O, Born in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, France to a bilingual family, Desclos began reading in French and English at an early age. After completing her studies at the Sorbonne, she worked as a journalist until 1946 when she joined Gallimard Publishers as the editorial secretary for one of its imprints where she began using the pen name of Dominique Aury. An avid reader of English literature, Desclos either translated or introduced to readers in France such renowned authors as Algernon Charles Swinburne, Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and numerous others, she was made a member of the jury for several prominent literary awards. Desclos' lover and employer Jean Paulhan, a fervent admirer of the Marquis de Sade, had made the remark to her that no woman was capable of writing an erotic novel. To prove him wrong, Desclos wrote a graphic, sadomasochistic novel, published under the pseudonym Pauline Réage in June 1954.
Titled Histoire d'O, with a sympathetic preface by Jean Paulhan which did not reveal her identity, it was an enormous, though controversial, commercial success. The book caused much speculation as to the identity of the author. Many doubted that it was a woman, let alone the demure and prudish persona displayed in Dominique Aury's writings. Many well-known male writers were alternately suspected to be the author, including André Malraux and Henri de Montherlant. In addition, the book's graphic content sparked so much controversy that the following March the government authorities brought obscenity charges against the publisher and its mysterious author that were thrown out of court in 1959. However, a publicity ban and a restriction on the book's sale to minors was imposed by the judge. Following the lifting of the publicity ban in 1967, the conclusion to Story of O was published under the title Retour à Roissy using the pseudonym of Pauline Réage. However, according to her recent biography by Angie David, Desclos did not write this second novel.
In 1975, she did a long interview about erotic books with author Régine Deforges, published by Story of O editor Jean-Jacques Pauvert, yet at the time her authorship was still unknown. An English-language edition of the interview was released in the United States in 1979 by Viking Press. Desclos publicly admitted that she was the author of The Story of O in 1994, 40 years after the book was published, in an interview with The New Yorker, she explained the pseudonym of Pauline Réage: she chose the first name in homage to Pauline Bonaparte and Pauline Roland and she randomly picked up the name of Réage on a topographic map. Desclos had a long-term relationship with her employer Jean Paulhan, the director of the prestigious Nouvelle Revue Française, 23 years her senior, she was bisexual at times in her life. She notoriously had a liaison with historian and novelist Édith Thomas, who may have been an inspiration for the character of Anne-Marie in Story of O, she had a son from a brief marriage in her early twenties.
Chantons sous l'Occupation – a documentary film Dominique Aury by Angie David – Editions Léo Scheer, 560 pp – ISBN 2-7561-0030-7 – Biography in French Watson, Sasha. "The Smuttiest French Novel Ever Written, Still Shocking 50 Years Later". Slate; the complete Story of O website: all about Histoire d'O and Dominique Aury Writer of O, a 2004 documentary film by Pola Rapaport Name Upon Name at Rain Taxi
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which broadcasts internationally, specialising in modern popular music and current chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7 pm, including electronica, hip hop and indie; the choice of music and presenting style is that of programme hosts, however those who present in the daytime have to rotate a number of songs a specific number of times per week. It was launched in 1967 to meet the demand for music generated by pirate radio stations, when the average age of the UK population was 27; the BBC claim that they target the 15–29 age group, the average age of its UK audience since 2009 is 30. BBC Radio 1 started 24-hour broadcasting on 1 May 1991. Radio 1 was established in 1967 as a successor to the BBC Light Programme, which had broadcast popular music and other entertainment since 1945. Radio 1 was conceived as a direct response to the popularity of offshore pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio London, outlawed by Act of Parliament.
Radio 1 was launched at 6:55 am on Saturday 30 September 1967. Broadcasts were on 247 metres high wave, using a network of transmitters which had carried the Light Programme. Most were of comparatively low power, at less than 50 kilowatts, leading to patchy coverage of the country; the first disc jockey to broadcast on the new station was Tony Blackburn, whose cheery style, first heard on Radio Caroline and Radio London, won him the prime slot on what became known as the "Radio 1 Breakfast Show". The first words on Radio 1 – after a countdown by the Controller of Radios 1 and 2, Robin Scott, a jingle, recorded at PAMS in Dallas, beginning "The voice of Radio 1" – were: And, good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1; this was the first use of US-style jingles on BBC radio, but the style was familiar to listeners who were acquainted with Blackburn and other DJs from their days on pirate radio. The reason jingles from PAMS were used was that the Musicians' Union would not agree to a single fee for the singers and musicians if the jingles were made "in-house" by the BBC.
The first music to be heard on the station was "Theme One", specially composed for the launch by George Martin. It was followed by an extract from "Beefeaters" by Johnny Dankworth; the first complete record played on Radio 1 was "Flowers in the Rain" by The Move, the number 2 record in that week's Top 20. The second single was "Massachusetts" by The Bee Gees; the breakfast show remains the most prized slot in the Radio 1 schedule, with every change of breakfast show presenter exciting considerable media interest. The initial rota of staff included John Peel and a gaggle of others, some transferred from pirate stations, such as Keith Skues, Ed Stewart, Mike Raven, David Ryder, Jim Fisher, Jimmy Young, Dave Cash, Kenny Everett, Simon Dee, Terry Wogan, Duncan Johnson, Doug Crawford, Tommy Vance, Chris Denning, Emperor Rosko, Pete Murray, Bob Holness. Many of the most popular pirate radio voices, such as Simon Dee, had only a one-hour slot per week Initially, the station was unpopular with some of its target audience who, it is claimed, disliked the fact that much of its airtime was shared with Radio 2 and that it was less unequivocally aimed at a young audience than the offshore stations, with some DJs such as Jimmy Young being in their 40s.
The fact that it was part of an "establishment" institution such as the BBC was a turn-off for some, needle time restrictions prevented it from playing as many records as offshore stations had. It had limited finances and as in January 1975, suffered disproportionately when the BBC had to make financial cutbacks, strengthening an impression that it was regarded as a lower priority by senior BBC executives. Despite this, it gained massive audiences, becoming the most listened-to station in the world with audiences of over 10 million claimed for some of its shows. In the early-mid-1970s Radio 1 presenters were out of the British tabloids, thanks to the Publicity Department's high-profile work; the touring summer live broadcasts called the Radio 1 Roadshow – as part of the BBC'Radio Weeks' promotions that took Radio 1, 2 and 4 shows on the road – drew some of the largest crowds of the decade. The station undoubtedly played a role in maintaining the high sales of 45 rpm single records although it benefited from a lack of competition, apart from Radio Luxembourg and Manx Radio in the Isle of Man..
Alan Freeman's'Saturday Rock Show' was voted'Best Radio Show' five years running by readers of a national music publication, was axed by controller Derek Chinnery. Annie Nightingale, who joined in 1970, was Britain's first female DJ and is now the longest serving presenter, having evolved her musical tastes with the times. On Thursday 23 November 1978 the station moved to two new medium wave frequencies which allowed a major increase in transmitter powers and improved coverage of the UK. 247 metres was passed to Radio 3. The station was on medium wave only until the early 80s, when it took over the Radio 2 FM frequency for a number of hours on weekend afternoons and late weekday evenings; the BBC set up an FM channel specifically
Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of Washington. With an estimated 730,000 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U. S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.87 million, ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U. S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States; the city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 100 miles south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015; the Seattle area was inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers.
Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon, on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851; the settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named "Seattle" in 1852, in honor of Chief Si'ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Today, Seattle has high populations of Native, Scandinavian and Asian Americans, as well as a thriving LGBT community that ranks 6th in the United States for population. Logging was Seattle's first major industry, but by the late 19th century, the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. Growth after World War II was due to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing; the Seattle area developed into a technology center from the 1980s onwards with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region. Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle in 1994, major airline Alaska Airlines is based in SeaTac, serving Seattle's international airport, Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.
The stream of new software and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by 50,000 between 1990 and 2000. Owing to its increasing population in the 21st century and the state of Washington have some of the highest minimum wages in the country, at $15 per hour for smaller businesses and $16 for the city's largest employers. Seattle has a noteworthy musical history. From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District; the jazz scene nurtured the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, others. Seattle is the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix, as well as the origin of the bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters and the alternative rock movement grunge. Archaeological excavations suggest that Native Americans have inhabited the Seattle area for at least 4,000 years. By the time the first European settlers arrived, the people occupied at least seventeen villages in the areas around Elliott Bay.
The first European to visit the Seattle area was George Vancouver, in May 1792 during his 1791–95 expedition to chart the Pacific Northwest. In 1851, a large party led by Luther Collins made a location on land at the mouth of the Duwamish River. Thirteen days members of the Collins Party on the way to their claim passed three scouts of the Denny Party. Members of the Denny Party claimed land on Alki Point on September 28, 1851; the rest of the Denny Party set sail from Portland and landed on Alki point during a rainstorm on November 13, 1851. After a difficult winter, most of the Denny Party relocated across Elliott Bay and claimed land a second time at the site of present-day Pioneer Square, naming this new settlement Duwamps. Charles Terry and John Low remained at the original landing location and reestablished their old land claim and called it "New York", but renamed "New York Alki" in April 1853, from a Chinook word meaning "by and by" or "someday". For the next few years, New York Alki and Duwamps competed for dominance, but in time Alki was abandoned and its residents moved across the bay to join the rest of the settlers.
David Swinson "Doc" Maynard, one of the founders of Duwamps, was the primary advocate to name the settlement after Chief Seattle of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. The name "Seattle" appears on official Washington Territory papers dated May 23, 1853, when the first plats for the village were filed. In 1855, nominal land settlements were established. On January 14, 1865, the Legislature of Territorial Washington incorporated the Town of Seattle with a board of trustees managing the city; the Town of Seattle was disincorporated on January 18, 1867, remained a mere precinct of King County until late 1869, when a new petition was filed and the city was re-incorporated December 2, 1869, with a mayor–council government. The corporate seal of the City of Seattle carries the date "1869" and a likeness of Chief Sealth in left profile. Seattle has a history of boom-and-bust cycles, like many other cities near areas of extensive natural and mineral resources. Seattle has risen several times economically gone into precipitous decline, but it has used those periods to rebuild solid infrastructure
Mark Radcliffe (radio broadcaster)
Mark Radcliffe is an English radio broadcaster and writer. Born in Bolton, Lancashire, he is best known for his broadcasting work for the BBC for whom he has worked in various roles since the 1980s. Radcliffe began his broadcasting career in local commercial radio in Manchester before a move to the national station BBC Radio 5, where he met and formed a partnership with former the Fall guitarist Marc Riley. In 1991 he moved to BBC Radio 1 followed by Riley with whom, under the moniker Mark and Lard, he worked for 14 years on the station; the pair's stint on Radio 1 included a brief and opinion-dividing spell on the flagship The Radio 1 Breakfast Show and a subsequent afternoon slot show which garnered three prestigious Sony Radio Academy Awards. When the Mark and Lard duo departed BBC Radio 1 in 2004, Radcliffe joined BBC Radio 2 and has presented various TV shows for the BBC including their coverage of the Glastonbury Festival, he remains a presenter on BBC Radio 2. On BBC Radio 6 Music he co-hosts the weekend breakfast show with Stuart Maconie.
Radcliffe was born in Bolton and educated at Bolton School and the University of Manchester, where he studied English and American studies and classical civilisation. He took an interest in music from a young age; as of 2007, he lives in Knutsford, Cheshire is married with three daughters and became a grandfather in October 2008. Radcliffe is a supporter of Manchester City. In July 2011 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Bolton. In October 2018 he announced on his BBC Radio 2 show that he had "cancerous tongue and lymph node issues" and he was to take a break from all work. Radcliffe returned to the show on 13 February 2019. During his student years, Radcliffe was a member of a number of bands, including a short stint as the drummer for the band Skrewdriver but left before their transformation into a White Power outfit. Radcliffe's radio career began in late 1982 at Piccadilly Radio, where he hosted a Friday night show called Cures For Insomnia, he hosted Transmission, an eclectic show playing local and nationally recognised New Wave and Post-Punk bands as well as European avant-garde and electronic music.
He came to prominence as a DJ on BBC Radio 5's Hit the North in 1990 but appeared on other shows such as Cult Radio. Nearly twenty years in 2009 he stood in as a presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live, the station that replaced it, to cover the Simon Mayo afternoon show. Radcliffe's Radio 1 career started in 1983 when he produced sessions at Maida Vale Studios for John Peel's show. In 1991, he started presenting the one-hour Monday evening show Out on Blue Six. Starting in early 1993, he presented. In 1993, Radcliffe presented Skyman, an odd show which he presented in character as a visiting alien, all the records played were space-related; this half-hour show aired before Out on Blue Six on Monday evenings. His most famous work was as part of the act Mark and Lard on BBC Radio 1; the duo began in a 10pm–midnight slot on Mondays to Thursdays in October 1993. This show was unique for Radio 1 because it was based around non-playlist music and featured live music sessions, poetry readings and comedy. Having taken over the graveyard slot from October 1993 onwards and Riley hosted a show of unprecedented variety incorporating poetry readings from regular guest Ian McMillan, off the wall, irreverent comedy, bizarre quizzes'Fish or Fowl','Bird or Bloke','Bard or Blake', a play list that rivalled John Peel in terms of eclecticism.
The show held some of the best sessions from up and coming and alternative bands of the time, including Throwing Muses, Nick Cave, The Bluetones, The Divine Comedy and Mice. He is credited with the success of White Town's "Your Woman" in January 1997. Following Chris Evans' sudden departure from BBC Radio 1 in early 1997, Radcliffe and Riley were moved to a brief and unsuccessful position on the breakfast show, their style of music and broadcasting was not a success in this slot, which catered for a more mainstream audience, they were soon moved into the early afternoon slot where they resided for the next seven years. This show saw them win three Sony Gold awards for Best Daily Music Show. Radcliffe left Radio 1 in March 2004 and moved to an evening slot on BBC Radio 2 in June of the same year, with Riley moving to BBC Radio 6 Music; the new show was reminiscent of the graveyard slot he had occupied on BBC Radio 1. The respect Radcliffe had garnered as a broadcaster was cemented when he scooped a major interview with Kate Bush in late 2005, her first in several years.
For many months prior to this, he had been running his own'Bush-O-Meter' on his show, questioning the possible whereabouts and activities of the elusive singer-songwriter and adding a photo of the day's guest or the'Blessed Kate' to the chart until she appeared on the show. Radcliffe won a Sony award for this show. Starting on 16 April 2007, Radcliffe joined forces with Stuart Maconie to present a new show on BBC Radio 2 on Mondays to Thursdays from 8pm-10pm to much critical acclaim, including winning the prestigious Sony award for best Radio show of 2009. From April 2010, the show was reduced to Mondays to Wednesdays. For a time, he was a frequent stand-in in partnership with Emma Forbes or Liza Tarbuck during the 2pm-5pm slot when Steve Wright was away on holiday, thus taking him back to a
Story of O
Story of O is an erotic novel published in 1954 by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage, published in French by Jean-Jacques Pauvert. Desclos did not reveal herself as the author for forty years after the initial publication. Desclos claims she wrote the novel as a series of love letters to her lover Jean Paulhan, who had admired the work of the Marquis de Sade; the novel shares with the latter themes such as love and submission. Story of O is a tale of female submission involving a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer named O, taught to be available for oral and anal intercourse, offering herself to any male who belongs to the same secret society as her lover, she is stripped, blindfolded and whipped. The story begins when O's lover, René, brings her to the château in Roissy, where she is trained to serve the members of an elite club. After this initial training, as a demonstration of their bond and his generosity, René hands O to his elder stepbrother Sir Stephen, a more severe master.
René wants O to learn to serve someone whom she does not love, someone who does not love her. Over the course of this training, O falls in love with Sir Stephen and believes him to be in love with her as well. During the summer, Sir Stephen sends O to an old mansion in Samois inhabited by women for advanced training and body modifications related to submission. There she agrees to receive permanent marks of Sir Stephen's ownership, in the form of a brand and a steel tag hanging from a labia piercing. Meanwhile René has encouraged O to seduce Jacqueline, a vain fashion model, lure her to Roissy. Jacqueline is repulsed when she first sees O's chains and scars, although O herself is proud of her condition as a willing slave. However, Jacqueline's younger half-sister becomes enamored of O, begs to be taken to Roissy. At the climax, O is presented as a sexual slave, nude but for an owl-like mask and a leash attached to her piercing, before a large party of guests who treat her as an object. Afterward, she is shared by Sir Stephen and an associate of his, referred to only as "The Commander".
Some early editions included several different variations of an epilogue which note that O was abandoned by Sir Stephen, though there is debate as to whether Desclos intended it to be included in the finished work. In February 1955, Story of O won the French literature prize Prix des Deux Magots, although this did not prevent the French authorities from bringing obscenity charges against the publisher; the charges were rejected by the courts. The first English edition was published by Olympia Press in 1965. Eliot Fremont-Smith called its publishing "a significant event". A sequel, Retour à Roissy, was published in 1969 in French, again with Jean-Jacques Pauvert, éditeur, it was published again in English by Grove Press, Inc. in 1971. It is not known. Emmanuelle Arsan claimed. A critical view of the novel is that it is about, derives its erotic power from, the ultimate objectification of a woman; the heroine of the novel has the shortest possible name, consisting of the letter O. Although this is in fact a shortening of the name Odile, it could stand for "object" or "orifice", an O being a symbolic representation of any "hole".
The novel was criticized by many feminists, who felt it glorified the abuse of women. The book has been the source of various terms that are used in the BDSM subculture such as Samois, the name of the estate belonging to the character Anne-Marie, who brands O; when the film of The Story of O was released, L'Express magazine ran a feature on the novel and film. This resulted in L'Express being picketed by feminists from the group Mouvement de libération des femmes, who found the novel and film objectionable. Journalist François Chalais criticized Story of O, claiming the novel glorified violence; the author used a pen name later revealed herself under another pen name, before prior to her death, revealing her true identity. Her lover, Jean Paulhan, wrote the preface. According to an article by Geraldine Bedell, published in The Observer on Sunday 24 July 2004, "Pauline Réage, the author, was a pseudonym, many people thought that the book could only have been written by a man; the writer's true identity was not revealed until ten years ago, when, in an interview with John de St. Jorre, a British journalist and sometime foreign correspondent of The Observer, an impeccably dressed 86-year-old intellectual called Dominique Aury acknowledged that the fantasies of castles and debauchery were hers."
According to several other sources, Dominique Aury was itself a pseudonym of Anne Cécile Desclos, born 23 September 1907 in Rochefort-sur-Mer and deceased 26 April 1998 in Paris, France. The Grove Press edition was translated by editor Richard Seaver under the pseudonym Sabine d'Estree and published by Barney Rosset, the publisher of Grove Press. Jean Paulhan, the author's lover and the person to whom she wrote Story of O in the form o
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion