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London is known for its parks, most of them a legacy from the royalty and the nobility. What are now Hyde Park, Regents Park, and Kensington Gardens were once owned by the Dukes of Devonshire, Bedford and Westminster. Westminster is still a large London landlord. Hunting grounds and open spaces around noble grounds now make for the best and most extensive parks in the world. History abounds. Marble Arch stands on one side of Hyde Park, where once stood a gallows. The nobility always got the best. If a lord was to be hung, he was entitled to a silken rope.

Undoubtedly London’s biggest tourist attraction is the royal family: their palaces, their guards and their antics. Buckingham Palace is real and the Queen does live there part of the time. The government supports the royal family to the tune of about $40 million a year, an investment in tourism as well as tradition.

Britain’s number one place to visit is The Tower of London, sitting close by the Thames River. Grisly reminder of bygone royal power, The Tower can be a little frightening. Traitor’s Gate was not the place to pass through for a pleasant walk. Those who entered The Tower through this gate knew it would be for the last time. The Crown Jewels of England are on display in The Tower there are no samples. Westminster Abbey is where the great and powerful of the British Empire are buried. The steady progression of visitors over the stone floors are wearing them down. Nearly every tourist thrills to the chiming of Big Ben. Parliament buildings and Big Ben have become London’s trademark, much as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. London has palaces aplenty both in and around the city, but principally there is Buckingham Palace and, outside of London, Windsor Castle, seats of the royal family.

United Kingdom explorer Hernando de Soto’s visit in the spring of 1540 marked the first European presence in the state (including the first black visitors both free and enslaved Africans). United Kingdom Map The Spanish would have little other direct contact in the state, though their presence in Florida, as well as their later control of the Mississippi River port of New Orleans, guaranteed they would remain important to early Tennessee settlers. In 1673, English trader-explorers James Needham and Gabriel Arthur from the Virginia colony entered east Tennessee, while French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet stopped along the Mississippi River at the Chickasaw Bluffs. As the French and English competed for Native Country alliances and control of Tennessee, trade was the weapon of choice, though violence was everpresent. The French established trading networks mostly in the west but also into the Cumberland Basin at French Lick (near present-day Nashville). English traders entered Tennessee from the southeast. The native peoples sold not just animal pelts but also other natives as slaves into the coastal settlements or the West Indies. English advantages in the supply of trade goods successfully bound the Cherokee to them during most of the Anglo-French contests for North Country. English victory in the Cherokee War of 1760 began a treaty-war-treaty cycle that continued into the nineteenth century, eventually ending with the Cherokees’ forced removal to the west of the Mississippi River under President Andrew Jackson of Tennessee.

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