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Stuart London

About Stuart London

Stuart London refers to London’s history from 1603 to 1714. This period begins with the accession to the throne of Charles I and continues to the reign of Queen Anne. During this period, London started being famous for its vibrant social life. Not only those who had specific business at court, London started playing host to increasing numbers of country landowners and their families who lived in London for part of the year for its vibrant social life and nothing else.

Stuart London Timeline

London witnessed the beginnings of a Civil War in 1642 which ended in a defeat for the Royalists. The execution King Charles on the 30th January 1649, heralded Oliver Cromwell's short lived Commonwealth.

Many people believe that this period was one of Puritan repression. However, the history of this period suggests otherwise. Music and opera flourished in London in this period under Cromwell's patronage. In 1656, London played host to The Siege of Rhodes - the first true English opera.

Lack of sanitation and the population explosion of the City of London made the city vulnerable to natural calamities and disasters. This period saw the outbreak of the Great Plague – the last major outbreak of plague in Britain. The Great Plague occurred in 1665 and 1666 and took the lives of around 60,000 people. This calamity was followed in quick succession by another catastrophe. On Sunday, September 2, 1666 the Great Fire of London broke out at an hour past midnight at a house in Pudding Lane in the southern part of the City. This fire spread, and engulfed major parts of the city. The fire could finally be extinguished on Thursday. The fire was devastating and destroyed close to 60% of the City, including old St Paul's Cathedral.

This period saw the rise of London as the leading financial center in the world. The British East India Company was expanding its influence across the world and the Bank of England was founded in 1694. Lloyd's of London also began to operate in the late 17th century. In 1700 London handled 80% of England's imports, 69% of its exports and 86% of its re-exports. London became a global city in this period and its expansion beyond the boundaries of the city was decisively established in the 17th century.

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