A History of Oxford

Christ Church CollegeFoto di Decan (Opera propria) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], attraverso Wikimedia Commons

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A History of Oxford

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Oxford is a city in central southern England. It is a medium-sized city with about 150,000 inhabitants, but it is growing very fast because it has a strong economy.

The first settlement on the site of modern-day Oxford was called Oxenaforda, meaning “a place where cows cross the river”. It was built around 900A.D. In that period, England was divided into different kingdoms, and Oxford became an important frontier town on the border between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex. In 1066 the Normans invaded England and Oxford was badly damaged. The Normans built a castle at Oxford which survives today.

King Charles I moved his court to Oxford during the Civil War when he was expelled from London by the army of Oliver Cromwell, who wanted to abolish the monarchy. In 1649 Cromwell succeeded and the king was beheaded. For the next twenty years England was a republic, until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The royal court returned to Oxford in 1665 when King Charles II left London to escape from the plague.

Oxford is famous for its university, which is one of the best in the world. From the 12th century, Oxford began to attract students interested in Greek philosophy. In the 13th century the famous Colleges of Balliol, Merton and University College were founded. The distinctive architecture of Christ Church college, which is also the cathedral of Oxford, was the set for Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films.

In the 1920s William Morris opened his car factory Morris Motors Limited, in Oxford. Apart from this, there was little industry in Oxford so it was not bombed by the Nazis during the Second World War. It is said that Hitler admired the architecture of Oxford and planned to make it his capital if he won the war.

Today scholars, tourists and workers from all over the world are attracted to Oxford by its university, architectural beauty and strong economy, making it one of the most multicultural cities in the UK.


army = esercito
around = circa
(to) behead = decapitare
best = migliore
(to) bomb = bombardare
border = confine
century = secolo
Civil War = guerra civile
escape = scappare, evadere
factory = fabbrica
(to) grow = crescere
inhabitants = abitanti
kingdom = regno
medium-sized = di taglia media
modern-day = di oggi
plague = peste
(to) plan = avere intenzione, pianificare
royal = reale
settlement = insediamento
(to) succeed = riuscire
(to) survive = esistere, sopravivere
worker = operaio