London is the capital of England and the largest city in the United Kingdom. For two millennia, it has been an important community on the River Thames in south-east England, at the head of a 50-mile (80-kilometer) estuary down to the North Sea. The old center and financial centre of London, the City of London, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retains medieval limits. Since the 19th century, “London” has also referred to the metropolis surrounding this core, which was historically divided between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, and which now forms the majority of Greater London, the region governed by the Greater London Authority. West of London is the City of Westminster.
Since the nineteenth century, “London” has also applied to the metropolis around this center, traditionally divided between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, which mostly comprises Greater London, the territory managed by the Greater London Authority. The City of Westminster, to the west of the City, has housed the national government and parliament for centuries.