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London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in southeast England at the head of a 50-mile (80 km) estuary down to the North Sea and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The City of London, its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retained boundaries close to its medieval ones.
London's diverse cultures encompass over 300 languages. The mid-2018 population of Greater London of about 9 million made it Europe's third-most populous city, accounting for 13.4% of the population of the United Kingdom and over 16% of the population of England. The Greater London Built-up Area is fourth-most populous in Europe, with about 9.8 million inhabitants at the 2011 census. The London metropolitan area is third-most populous in Europe, with about 14 million inhabitants in 2016, granting London the status of a megacity.
London has four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the combined Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and also the historical settlement in Greenwich, where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the prime meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and Trafalgar Square. London has many museums, galleries, libraries, and cultural venues, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library, and numerous West End theatres. Important sporting events held in London include the FA Cup Final (held annually at Wembley Stadium), Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and the London Marathon. In 2012, London became the first city to host three Summer Olympic Games.