From Londinium to London – IELTS General Reading Passage

Read the text below and answers to the questions 28-40 on your answer sheet.

GT Reading: “From Londinium to London”

Read the text below and answer Question 28-40.

From Londinium to London

A. The history of London spans a period of approximately 2,000 years. On its way to becoming one of the present-day financial and cultural capitals of the world, momentous highs and lows have accompanied the town. By 43 AD, an early point in its history, a time when Romans had invaded Britain, it had already been a target of several external invasions. The Roman settlers there at the time named the area Londinium, which is commonly believed to be the origin of the present-day name, London.

B. Researchers believe that before the Romans, no city existed where London is today. It was just a rural area with significant richness and attractiveness in terms of natural resources and location. They base this on the fact that only very scattered evidence of farming, burial and habitation have been uncovered in the area. Early Roman London, which is also referred to as The First London, was a very small area that existed for just 17 years. Around 61 AD the Celtic-speaking Iceni tribe from Eastern Britain, who opposed the occupying forces of the Roman Empire, stormed the city and burnt it to the ground. By 100 AD it was rebuilt according to a development plan and was made the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. By the 2nd century AD, London had a population of approximately 60,000.  In the 3rd century AD, however, due to internal troubles within the Roman Empire, the city was brought down again. By the 5th century AD, it had become an abandoned city.

C. During the next century, the area near London saw the settlement of a new race of people, the Anglo-Saxons. These people started to migrate about 1 kilometre upstream from the Roman London city. Their settlement was called Lundenwic, and had fishing and trading as its economic base. Disaster struck for the city in 850 AD when its defence was broken down by a major Viking1 raid. However, the Viking occupation which had lasted for 20 years was overturned by Alfred the Great, the new King of England, who succeeded in establishing power via a peaceful agreement. He rebuilt the defensive wall for the city to protect his people. Gradually, as a result of contributions by the then ruling kings, London once again became an international trading centre and political powerhouse. However, in the late 10th century Vikings raided again and took control of the city and forced the ruling King Ethelred to flee.  His army then made a counter attack and won. Thus, English control was once more established.    

D. King Canute ruled London and the adjacent countryside until his death in 1042, when his son, Edward, took control and re-founded Westminster Abbey. By this time London had already become the largest city in the whole of England. In 1066 William the Conqueror became the King of England and built a castle in the southeast part to better keep a watchful eye on its inhabitants. The later kings expanded the castle, which is now known as the Tower of London. During 1097 William II built Westminster Hall adjacent to the Westminster Abbey as a key structure in the new Palace of Westminster, which was the main royal residence all through the Middle Ages. Primarily, because of the unique administration through the Corporation of London, which was the municipal governing body that later became the City of London Corporation, London became a centre of trade and commerce and was named the capital of England in the 12th century.    

E. In 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed against England and was defeated. The defeat of the Spanish led to more political stability in England allowing London to prosper even more.  Good times followed until tragedy struck during the middle and late 16th century through The Great Fire of London. Starting from a small bakery, the fire burnt to the ground, the homes of 70,000 of London’s 80,000 inhabitants. Rebuilding the city would take ten long years. The middle of the 17th century was also a matter of great misfortune for London due to an outbreak of the Great Plague, which caused the deaths of almost a fifth of the population.

F. The first quarter of the 18th century saw London become and remain the world’s largest city. Major developments within this period included the building of a rail network and a city metro system; the systematic development of a workforce; a local government system and other large-scale building of infrastructure. After World War II, London became home to a large number of immigrants – especially those from other parts of the Commonwealth – making London one of the most culturally diverse cities in the whole of Europe. Despite occasional set-backs – like the Brixton Riots in the early 1980s – the integration of new migrants into London was comparatively smoother than other regions around the United Kingdom.

G. From the 1980s onward, some successful economic reforms and revival programs were implemented in London that significantly contributed to re-establish it as a pre-eminent international centre. Today London is considered by many to be the most important and influential city in Europe with around 32% of all foreign exchange around the world occurring in the city on a daily basis. The British government continues to devote more resources to the development of London with the people of the city now preparing to hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics.

1Ship-borne warriors originating from Scandinavia i.e. northern Europe.

Questions 28 – 35

The passage has seven paragraphs A-G.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-G in boxes 28-35 on your answer sheet.

NB.  You may use any letter more than once.

28. an example of two groups of people making an agreement, not to war
29. a big upcoming event for London
30. London as a deserted city
31. commonly believed to be the origination of the word ‘London’
32. London and a mass disease
33. most of the city dwellers lost their dwelling place
34. the main reason why London became the capital of England
35. an example of a conclusion made by those who study history.

Questions 36-40

Do the following information agree with the information given in the passage?

In boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet, write:

    TRUE  if the statement agrees with the information
    FALSE   if the statement contradicts with the information
    NOT GIVEN   if there is no information in this

36.  The Romans gave London its name.
37.  A sudden attack on The First London totally destroyed it.
38.  The area, once known as Early Roman London, now joins with modern-day London.
39.  In order to control the people of London more effectively, William the Conqueror built a castle.
40.  70,000 houses were burnt by the Great Fire of London.

28. C
29. G
30. B
31. A
32. E
33. E
34. D
35. B
37. TRUE
39. TRUE