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The Tower of London

exterior of The Tower of London
Exterior of The Tower of London
William the Conqueror originally started work on the Tower a few months after his successful invasion of England in 1066. It was supposed to inspire awe in the conquered English. It's equally likely it was designed to protect the new king from the notoriously ungovernable population of London.

In the 500 years since it was started the Tower has grown additional towers, out-buildings, walls and walkways, evolving into the fortress prison of Elizabeth's reign. It was used to confine the enemies of the State prior to their brutal executions. Some 36,000 people died on the scaffold or in prison in Elizabeth's reign - members of Shakespeare's own family among them.

Today the Tower houses a museum that is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.

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