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Portsmouth (city, England)

Portsmouth, city and unitary authority (2011 pop. 205,056), S England, on Spithead Channel. The city includes Portsea (naval station), Southsea (residential district and resort), and the old town of Portsmouth proper. Since Henry VII had stone fortifications and docks built there, Portsmouth city has almost continuously been Britain's foremost naval base. There are also aircraft-engineering and other industries, and tourism is important. The Cathedral of St. Thomas of Canterbury dates partly from the 12th cent. Southsea Castle was built under Henry VIII. The 1st duke of Buckingham was assassinated in Buckingham House (then the Spotted Dog Inn) in Portsmouth in 1628. The house in which Charles Dickens was born has been converted into a museum, and the H.M.S. Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar in 1805, and other warships and museums are part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Charles II married Catherine of Braganza in Portsmouth, and George Meredith and Walter Besant were also born there. An 18th-century boys' school and a teacher-training college are in the city.

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth is not mentioned in Domesday Book (1086) but began to develop on Portsea Island as Portchester, on a Roman site, started to silt up. It was granted a charter by Richard I in 1194 and the growth of the navy in the 16th cent. established it as a major town. Henry VII began a dry dock there in 1495, the Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth harbour in 1545, and the duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death in the Greyhound Inn in 1628 when leaving for the expedition to La Rochelle. From the time of Charles II, Portsmouth became the chief naval base. The Royal Naval College was founded in 1720, the Royal George went down in the harbour in 1782, and on 15 September 1805 Nelson hoisted sail in Victory for Trafalgar. His flagship is preserved at Portsmouth today. By 1801 the town had a population of 32,000, 94,000 by 1861, and 189,000 by 1993. The naval presence has diminished but Portsmouth has developed engineering and tourism. There are ferry sailings to the Isle of Wight and to France and northern Spain.

J. A. Cannon

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth City and seaport in Hampshire, s England; Britain's principal naval base. The area was first settled in the late 12th century, and was already a base for warships when the naval dockyard was laid down in 1496. Industries: engineering, ship repairing, electronics. Pop. (1994) 189,270.

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