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London was first permanently settled by Europeans between 1801 and 1804 by Peter Hagerman and became a village in 1826. Since then, London has grown into the largest Southwestern Ontario municipality, annexing many of the smaller communities that surrounded it. The city has developed a strong focus towards education, health care, tourism, and manufacturing.
London is home to Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario, which contributes to the city's reputation for research and cultural activity, as well as for athletics. The city hosts a number of musical and artistic exhibits. London's festivals contribute to its tourism industry, but its economic activity is centred on military vehicle production, insurance, and information technology. London lies at the junction of Highway 401 and 402, connecting it to Toronto, Detroit, and Sarnia, but lacks an internal freeway. It also has an international airport and train and bus stations.