Toul

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Toul (tōōl), town (1990 pop. 17,702), Meurthe-et-Moselle dept., NE France, on the Moselle River. It is largely an agricultural center but has clothing and glass industries. A Gallo-Roman city, it became a bishopric in the 4th cent. During the Middle Ages, Toul, along with Metz and Verdun, was one of the bishoprics vital to the defense of France's eastern border. These bishoprics were almost continuously independent until their seizure by Henry II of France in 1552. Confirmed as a French possession by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Toul played a significant role during the Franco-German conflicts of succeeding centuries. A suppression of the episcopal see (c.1801) led to a decline in the city's civil importance. Although severely damaged in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and in World War II, Toul preserves the Church of St. Gengoult (13th and 16th cent.); the Cathedral of St. Étienne (13th–14th cent.); an interesting 17th-century fortified enclosure; and ramparts from Gallo-Roman times and from the 16th cent.