Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Shakespeare for Kids
• Discover Our Collection
Open City
A Growing City

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

A Growing City

Shakespeare for Kids

The city of London, England changed a lot between the years 1500 and 1700. One of the biggest changes was in population. In 1500, London had about 50,000 people. By 1700, over 500,000 people called London home!


Immigration, or people moving into the city, was one of the main reasons that London's population kept growing. Some people came from other European countries, like France or Holland, while others arrived London from much farther away—Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or the "New World" in what is now North and South America.


Many people moved to London from other parts of England as well. Often they came looking for better jobs and ways to make more money. With all of these new people coming into the city from different parts of the world, London was a busy and exciting place to live.


It could also be dangerous. With so many people living closely together, disease was a major problem. Plague, a type of sickness that caused fevers, swelling, seizures, and sometimes death, killed many people in the city during these two centuries. 1665 was a particularly bad year, during which time the "Great Plague of London" was responsible for nearly 70,000 deaths.


Despite this tragedy, London continued to grow, and by 1700, it was one of the largest and most important cities in the world.    

Morden and Lea. This Actuale Survey. London, ca. 1725

Wenceslaus Hollar. Portrait of a young African woman. Etching, 1645.

City of London. London’s dreadful visitation. London, 1665

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623