Cherbourg (Normandy), France
The seaport and naval station of Cherbourg is situated along the English Channel northwest of Paris at the mouth of the Divette River. Believed to rest on the site of an ancient Roman station, Cherbourg has been occupied since ancient times and was frequently contested by the French and English in the Middle Ages because of its strategic location. Most recently passed to France in the late 18th century, the town was extensively fortified by Louis XVI. During WWII the Germans held Cherbourg until it was captured by the American forces shortly after the Normandy landings. Following a vast rehabilitation program that returned it to working condition, Cherbourg became an important Allied supply port. Today, Cherbourg is important for transatlantic shipping, shipbuilding, electronics and telephone equipment manufacturing, yachting and commercial fishing.