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There are three recorded Viking assaults on London; two of these were successful, in 851 and 886, although the Vikings were defeated during another attack in 994.

During the Tudor period the Reformation produced a gradual shift to Protestantism, and much of London property passed from church to private ownership, which accelerated trade and business in the city.

At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000.

With the collapse of Roman rule in the early 5th century, London ceased to be a capital, and the walled city of Londinium was effectively abandoned, although Roman civilisation continued in the St Martin-in-the-Fields area until around 450.

In 1475, the Hanseatic League set up its main trading base (kontor) of Britain in London, since called Stalhof or Steelyard.

It existed until 1853, when the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg sold the property to South Eastern Railway.

By about 680, it had revived sufficiently to become a major port, although there is little evidence of large-scale production of goods.

From the 820s the town declined because of repeated Viking invasions.

A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford".