Monday, September 11, 2006

Medieval London

In some ways the medieval history of London can be said to have begun on Christmas Day, 1066, when William the Conqueror was crowned king of England in a ceremony at the newly finished Westminster Abbey, just three months after his victory at the Battle of Hastings.

William granted the citizens of London special privileges, but he also built a castle in the southeast corner of the city to keep them under control. This castle was expanded by later kings until it became the complex we now call the Tower of London.

The Tower acted as royal residence, and it was not until later that it became famous as a prison. During the medieval period it also acted as a royal mint, treasury, and housed the beginnings of a zoo.

In 1097 William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall was to prove the basis of a new Palace of Westminster, the prime royal residence throughout the Middle Ages. On William's death his brother Henry needed the support of London merchants to maintain his dubious grip on the throne. In exchange, Henry I gave city merchants the right to levy taxes and elect a sheriff.

By the early 12th century the population of London was about 18,000 (compare this to the 45,000 estimated at the height of Roman Britain). In 1123 St. Bartholomew's Priory was founded in the city, and other monastic houses quickly followed.

At one point in the medieval period there were 13 monasteries in the city. Today, these houses are remembered only by the names they gave to their area, such as Greyfriars, Whitefriars, and Blackfriars.

The city played a role in the outcome of the struggle between Stephen and Maud for the crown in the 12th century. Although they initially supported Maud, her arrogant behavior when she occupied Westminster so angered the citizens that they rose in revolt and Maud was forced to flee London.

In 1176 the first stone London Bridge was built, mere yards from the original Roman bridge across the Thames. This bridge was to remain the only one in London until 1739. Because the passage across this one bridge was narrow and clogged with traffic, it was much quicker and easier for travelers to hire waterboatmen to row them across the river, or transport them up or down river.

In 1191 Richard I acknowledged the right of London to self-government, and the following year saw the election of the first Mayor. This right was confirmed by later monarchs.

In 1245 Henry III began his lifetime work of rebuilding Westminster Abbey, which was reconsecrated in 1269. The other major building project of the medieval period was Old St. Paul's. The cathedral was finished in 1280.

In 1381 the city was invaded by peasant's during the Wat Tyler's Peasant's Revolt. Although the major complaints of the peasants were aimed at the advisors of Richard II, they took advantage of their occupation of London to loot houses within the city. The Lord Mayor, William Walworth, stabbed Wat Tyler to death in a confrontation at Smithfield.

The London merchants supported Edward IV in his grab for the throne in 1461. In gratitude Edward knighted many of the merchants. A few years later in 1477 William Caxton made history when he printed the first book on his new printing press near Westminster.

Daily Life
Medieval London was a maze of twisting streets and lanes. Most of the houses were half-timbered, or wattle and daub, whitewashed with lime. The threat of fire was constant, and laws were passed to make sure that all householders had fire-fighting equipment on hand. A 13th century law required new houses to use slate for roofing rather than the more risky straw, but this seems to have been ignored.

The government of the city was by a Lord Mayor and council elected from the ranks of the merchant guilds. These guilds effectively ran the city and controlled commerce. Each guild had its own hall and their own coat of arms, but there was also the Guildhall (1411-40) where representatives of the various guilds met in common.

Many of the streets in the city were named after the particular trade which practiced there. For example, Threadneedle Street was the tailor's district, Bread Street had bakeries, and on Milk Street cows were kept for milking. There was also a very active livestock market at Smithfield.

Plague was a constant threat, particularly because sanitation was so rudimentary. London was subject to no less than 16 outbreaks of the plague between 1348 and the Great Plague of 1665.

The prime real estate in London was the Strand, where many rich landowners built homes. Lawyers settled at the Temple and along Fleet Street. The Fleet River (which was called the Holborn) was navigable by boats, and docks were set up at what is now Farringdon Street. The Fleet River was covered over in the 18th century.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Telephone calling cards

Telephone calling cards
IP-telephony phone cards experience great popularity all over the world.
And it is not surprising, the newest information technologies offer Internet-users opportunities unattainable in the past.
IP-telephony is the most modern technology, that provides an alternative way of low tariff long-distance and international telecommunication by means of the Internet.
The use of Internet reduces the price of telecommunication multiple times!
How to call using IP-telephony?
You buy a virtual phone card on the Internet. The virtual phone card works the same way as a real phone card, but You receive a PIN-code — not a real card.
To use the card You dial specially assigned Access number, enter card’s PIN number after a prompt, and then dial the destination number.
This service contributes large savings and is especially important for firms and private individuals who frequently make long distance and international phone calls.
For example, one minute of usual phone conversation between USA and France costs 50 cents; with phone cards' use it costs 2.30 cents. Therefore you save up near 4.8 US dollars for each ten-minute conversation. Savings are significant, aren' they!
How to earn with IP-telephony?
As the question of savings is important for all peoples, IP-telephony becomes a very attractive direction for improving profits.
Within the framework of Affiliate Program WebSTel.com company suggests it’s partners to participate in two Programs: “The Referral Program” and “Own Shop” as well.
Using already designed templates You create your own phone cards Internet shop and receive 10% to 20% from each sale.
What kinds of telephone cards does “Master-Bell” offer?
Master-Bell.pushline.com offers a variety of high quality prepaid phone cards that can be used all over the world for domestic and Long Distance calls.
There are rechargeable and non-rechargeable phone cards, Permanent PIN phone cards with PIN Free Access feature; cards with limited expiration period and unlimited use.
Who are IP-telephony phone cards major buyers?
It is very important to understand which Internet users are most interested in IP-telephony services. IP-telephony cards are used for calls from different countries, but the majority of customers are residents of the United States of America (97%) and Canada (2%).
As a rule, residents of these two countries not only have an access to the Internet, but also use it actively to make purchases from Internet-shops.
Immigrants, students, tourists and visitors use long-distance communication for business or personal contact most frequently