Place:Cherbourg-Octeville, Manche, France


Located inManche, France

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The arrondissement of Cherbourg is an arrondissement of France in the Manche department in the Normandy region. Since the January 2017 reorganization of the arrondissements of Manche, it has 151 communes.

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Cherbourg-Octeville is a city and former commune situated at the northern end of the Cotentin peninsula in the northwestern French department of Manche. It is a subprefecture of its department, and was officially formed when the commune of Cherbourg absorbed Octeville on 28 February 2000. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. The city is a Maritime prefecture and sub-prefecture of la Manche. Due to its union, it is the most populated city in its department with 37,121 inhabitants (over 85,000 with its suburbs) making it the first city of the department before the Saint-Lô prefecture and the second in the region after Caen.

Cherbourg-en-Cotentin is protected by Cherbourg Harbour, between La Hague and Val de Saire, and the city has been a strategic position over the centuries, disputed between the English and French. Cited as one of the "keys to the kingdom" by Vauban, it became, by colossal maritime development work, a first-rate military port under the leadership of Louis XVI and Napoleon, and holds an arsenal of the French Navy. A stopping point for prestigious transatlantic liners in the first half of the 20th century, Cherbourg was the primary goal of US troops during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Along with its use as a military, fishing and yachting port, it is also a cross-Channel ferry port, with routes to the English ports of Poole and Portsmouth, the Irish port of Rosslare Harbour and St Helier on Jersey. Limited by its geographical isolation from being a great commercial port, it is nonetheless an important shipbuilding centre, and a working-class city with a rural hinterland. On Wednesday, 10 April 1912 the RMS Titanic crossed the English Channel and docked here at 7:00pm local time before raising anchor at 9:10pm local time and sailing to her final stop Queenstown, Ireland.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Main article:


The origin of the coat of arms is disputed.

According to Victor Le Sens, it is of religious origin: Fess argent charged of stars represents the belt of the Virgin Mary, one of the two patrons of the city and the number of stars, like the bezants, evokes the Trinity, the other patron of the city. The bezants would be the expression of the redemption of the captives, illustrating the participation of the notables of Cherbourg on the Third Crusade. The coat of arms of Cherbourg dates from the late 12th century, at the time of the Crusades.

According to M. Le Poupet, which relies in particular on the works of Vulson de la Colombière and Ségoing, the content of the coat of arms evokes the maritime trade of the city, the bezants - traditional furniture of the arms of ennobled financiers - represent wealth and fortune, while the star shows peace and prudence. The sable signifies prudence and constancy in adversity, the azure denotes activity and the seas. M. Canel had explained before him that the bezants and stars respectively illustrated trade and sea port.

The stars, absent from the armorial of d'Hozier in 1697,[1] were added in the 18th century. Under the Empire, the coat of arms was completed by a free area of second-class towns which is to dexter azure to an "N" of or, surmounted by a pointed star of the same, brocading at the ninth of the escutcheon.[2]

Regarding the external ornaments, the mural crown symbolises protection and happiness, the caduceus of trade and business, the olive tree of peace, the oak of strength, recalling the role of both the military and commercial port. The argent means that Cherbourg was a second class city under the Empire.[3]

Today, the municipality of Cherbourg-Octeville uses a logo, entitled "mouette musicale" [musical seagull]. Initially adopted by Cherbourg, it consists of a gull, symbolising the maritime character of the town, on a musical stave, evoking the musicality of the port: "The cry of the seagulls that dance between sky and sea, the mermaids of ships and the melodious song of the waves".

Origins and toponymy

The date of Foundation of Cherbourg can not be set precisely, although several local historians, including Robert Lerouvillois, trace the origin of the city to Coriallo (for *Coriovallo) of the Unelli. According to Pierre-Yves Lambert, the Celtic element corio- means "army, troop" and the element vallo- similar to the Latin vallum, would be "rampart, fortification".

Mentioned on the Tabula Peutingeriana (c. 365), in the Antonine Itinerary and the Gesta de Fontenelle ("In pago Coriovallinse", 747-753), Coriallo, Latinised then as Coriallum, hosted a Roman garrison during the late Roman Empire, and the recovered remains would be the village between Cherbourg and Tourlaville, on the Mielles. The Germanic-sounding name of the city comes from Old English Ċiriċeburh ("village of the church") and was coined during the Migration Period.

The Cotentin Peninsula was the first territory conquered by the Vikings in their 9th-century invasion. They developed Cherbourg as a port. After the Anglo-Scandinavian settlement, a new name appeared there in a still Latinised form: Carusburg Castellum (1026-1027, Fauroux 58) then Carisburg (1056–1066, Fauroux 214), Chiersburg (William of Jumièges, v. 1070), Chieresburg (Wace, Roman de Rou, v. 1175). Carusburg would mean "fortress of the marsh" in Old Norse kjarr (marsh), and borg (castle, fortified town) or "city of the marais" in Old English ker (bog) and burgh (town). The element kjarr / ker is also found in Normandy in Villequier and Orcher. According to François de Beaurepaire, it comes rather from the Old English chiriche (spelled ċiriċe, Church) or [tch] is reduced to [s], as the commune of Chirbury, in the County of Shropshire, formerly also spelled Chirichburig (915) and Chiresbir (1226).[4]

The name of Octeville appears meanwhile, in 1063, in a Charter of William the Conqueror about allocations made to the Collegiate Church of Cherbourg. It means: "the rural area of Otti", a Scandinavian male name also found in Octeville-l'Avenel, Octeville-sur-Mer and Otby (Lincolnshire, Ottebi, 11th century).

Cherbourg is also the name of a Canadian township, located between Matane and Les Méchins, which gave its name to the communes of Saint-Thomas-de-Cherbourg, merged in 1954 into Les Méchins, and Saint-Jean-de-Cherbourg. This name, including the proclamation date of 7 May 1864, could be due to the impact by the local newspapers of the inauguration of the military port by Napoleon III in 1858. Cherbourg is also the name of a town in Queensland, Australia.

Middle Ages

The Cotentin, conquered by Quintus Titurius Sabinus in 56AD, was divided between the pagus constantiensis ("County of Coutances") and the pagus coriovallensis ("County of Coriallo"), within Gallia Lugdunensis. Coriallo housed a small garrison and a castrum was built on the left bank of the Divette as an element of the Litus saxonicum, after Saxon raids at the beginning of the 4th century.[5]

In 497, the village was sold with all of Armorica to Clovis. It was evangelised by in 432, then by Saint Exuperat, Saint Leonicien, and finally Saint Scubilion in 555. In 870, , landing in Kent, was ordained priest of Cherbourg and established a hermitage in the surrounding forest.

After several Norman raids in the 9th century, Cherbourg was attached to the Duchy of Normandy along with the Cotentin, in 933, by William Longsword. The Danish King Harold moved there in 946.

In the face of English threats, Richard III of Normandy strengthened the fortifications of the castle at the same time as those of the other major strongholds of Cotentin. In 1053, the city was one of the four main cities of the Duchy of William the Conqueror to receive an annuity in perpetuity for the maintenance of one hundred needy.

In 1139, during the struggle for succession to the Anglo-Norman Crown, Cherbourg fell after two months of siege to the troops of Stephen of England before being resumed in 1142 by Geoffrey of Anjou, whose wife, Empress Matilda, founded three years later the .[6]

During the conquest of Normandy by Philippe Auguste, Cherbourg fell without a fight in 1204. The city was sacked in 1284 and 1293, the abbey and the Hôtel-Dieu looted and burned, but the castle, where the population was entrenched, resisted. Following these ravages, Philip the Fair fortified the city in 1300.[6]

Its strategic position, a key to the kingdom along with Calais as a bridgehead for invasion by the English and French, the town was much disputed during the Hundred Years' War. Having one of the strongest castles in the world according to Froissart, it changed ownership six times as a result of transactions or seats, never by force of arms. The fortress resisted the soldiers of Edward III in 1346.

In February 1354, Cherbourg was transferred by Jean le Bon to Charles II of Navarre, called the Bad, with the bulk of the Cotentin. The city was of Navarre from 1354 to 1378, and Charles II stayed in Cherbourg on several occasions. In 1378, the city was besieged by Charles V as the rest of the Norman possessions of the King of Navarre, but in vain. Navarre troops who had dropped the County of Évreux and the Cotentin were entrenched in Cherbourg, already a difficult taking, and defended it against French attacks. In June 1378, having lost ground in Normandy, Charles II of Navarre rented Cherbourg in 1378 to Richard II of England for a period of three years. Bertrand du Guesclin besieged it for six months using many machines of war, but abandoned the siege in December 1378. The King of England then refused to return the city to the Navarrese, despite the efforts of Charles II. It was only his son Charles the Noble who recovered it in 1393. In 1404, it was returned to Charles VI of France, in exchange for the Duchy of Nemours.

Fallen in 1418 to the hands of the English, Cherbourg, the last English possession of the Duchy of Normandy after the Battle of Formigny, was released on 12 August 1450.[6]

On 28 April 1532, Cherbourg was visited with great fanfare by Francis I and the dauphin.[6] At that time, Cherbourg was described by Gilles de Gouberville as a fortified town of 4,000 residents, protected by drawbridges at the three main gates which were permanently guarded and closed from sunset until dawn. Inside the city walls, the castle, itself protected by wide moats and equipped with a keep and twelve towers, was south-east of the city. Outside and to the south of the city walls, the suburb along the Divette was frequented by sailors.

Cherbourg was not affected by the wind of the Reformation that divided Normandy, consolidated and heavily guarded by , Henry III thanked his defense against the troops of Montgomery, as lieutenant-general of Normandy and Governor of Cherbourg in 1578, and then marshal the following year. The bourgeois also remained loyal to Henry III and Henry IV, when Normandy was mostly held by the Catholic League.[6]

17th to 19th century

To complement the two major ports of Brest on the Atlantic Ocean and Toulon on the Mediterranean Sea, Louis XIV wished to build a new port on the side of the English Channel, facing England, in order to shelter the passing ships. In 1686, Vauban offered to strengthen the fortifications of Cherbourg, and close Cherbourg Harbour with two sea walls, but preferred La Hogue for the establishment of a major military port. Fortifications and the castle development work began the following year but were stopped by the King in December 1688, influenced by Louvois and fear of English attacks.[5] In the absence of these fortifications, the population of Cherbourg attended to the destruction of the three ships of Admiral Tourville at the end of the Battle of La Hogue.[5]

The commercial port dug at the current position of the place Divette between 1739 and 1742, was devastated in August 1758 by an English attack under the orders of General Bligh and Admiral Howe. During the Seven Years' War, the British briefly occupied the town after the Raid on Cherbourg in 1758. The British destroyed military buildings and warehouses before departing. With the development of a new pool of trade in 1769, Cherbourg - a longstanding commercial port of minor importance, a city without a university or cultural activity, regularly looted, and having weak relations with Paris - acquired a weight in the Cotentin which translated, on the eve of the French Revolution, by the creation of networks of sociability by the middle-class united in associations - such as the in 1755 and the lodge "Faithful mason". The population increased from 800 feus (4,000 inhabitants) in Cherbourg and 95 in Octeville, around 1715, to 7,300 people in Cherbourg by 1778.

Louis XVI decided to relaunch the project of the port on the English Channel. After many hesitations, it was decided in 1779 to build a -long sea wall between île Pelée and the tip of Querqueville, using a method developed by Louis-Alexandre de Cessart, a pier of 90 wooden cones of by 20, filled with masonried rubble, connected by iron chains. The first cone was immersed on 6 June 1784, and the King attended the on 22 June. But the technique did not withstand storms, and it was abandoned in 1788 in favour of scuttling of old warships and a rockfill to lost stones that had been touted by La Bretonnière. However, the reduction of subsidies and the revolutionary events slowed work down, until its suspension in 1792.

First Consul Bonaparte wanted to turn Cherbourg into a major military port, for the invasion of the United Kingdom. He charged Joseph Cachin with the resumption of the work of the sea wall, the digging of military outer harbour, and the construction of the new arsenal. After a visit in 1811, Napoleon made Cherbourg a maritime prefecture, a chef-lieu of the Arrondissements of the Manche department and the seat of a court of first instance.

The work of the central sea wall, interrupted again between 1813 and 1832, ended in 1853, the east and west sea walls in 1895. The Charles X docks (begun in 1814 - 290 × 220 × 18 metres) and Napoleon III (started in 1836 - 420 × 200 × 18 m) of the military port were respectively opened on 25 August 1829, in the presence of the Dauphin, and 7 August 1858, by the Imperial couple. The work of the sea wall was concluded by the construction of the small harbour (Homet sea wall, 1899-1914 and sea wall of the Flemings, 1921-1922).

The work of the port led the intensification and spread of a modernising and developing Cherbourg, while contractors, owners, and local merchants were getting richer. Rural village housing scattered in hamlets made up around large farms (La Crespiniere, La Prevallerie, Grimesnil, La Gamacherie, etc.), connected between them and the Saint-Martin Church by a network of paths, Octeville became chef-lieu of the canton in 1801 (Decree of 23 Vendémiaire, year X) and also its population, to increase by the influx of workers who came to build the port of Cherbourg and work at the Arsenal. After the creation of the Route des Pieux (current Rue Salengro and Rue Carnot), the town was formed around an homogenised street-village then urbanising at the beginning of the 20th century.[7]

On 16 August 1830, King Charles X, dethroned, departed into exile from the military port of Cherbourg aboard the Great Britain, leaving room for the July Monarchy.[6] After seeing anchor in its harbour of Le Luxor carrying the Obelisk of Luxor in August 1833, Cherbourg welcomed the return of the remains of Napoleon to France aboard the Belle Poule. On 4 August 1858, an equestrian statue of Napoleon by the sculptor Armand Le Véel, was erected on the occasion of the visit of Napoleon III to the inauguration of the railway line from Cherbourg to Paris.

On 19 June 1864, a naval engagement in the American Civil War was held off the coast of Cherbourg: The warship of the Confederates, the CSS Alabama was sunk by the ship of the Union USS Kearsarge after two hours of fighting [see the Battle of Cherbourg (1864)], under the eye of thousands of spectators, who had arrived by train for the inauguration of the casino. Visualizing the fight from a sailboat, Manet immortalised it in The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama. In November 1984, the French Navy mine hunter Circé discovered a wreck under nearly of water off Cherbourg. The location of the wreck (WGS84) was 49°45'147N / 001°41'708W. Captain Max Guerout later confirmed the wreck to be of the CSS Alabama.

Early 20th century

From 1847, the geographical and technical properties of the port of Cherbourg attracted shipping companies linking European ports to the east coast of the United States. At the end of the 1860s, the ships of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and the Hamburg America Line anchored in the harbour before crossing the Atlantic. After leaving Southampton, England, the RMS Titanic made its first stop at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912, during its maiden voyage, where an additional 274 passengers embarked. In 1913, Cherbourg received 500 ships and 70,000 passengers.

On 31 July 1909, tsar Nicholas II and French president Armand Fallières met officially in Cherbourg to reinforce the Franco-Russian Alliance.

During the First World War, traffic was completely suspended. Cherbourg became the place of arrival for equipment and the British and American troops, and for departure on leave and injuries. The military port experienced an increase in activity, and the garrison stationed at Cherbourg was reinforced. The port infrastructures were developed to receive coal and oil required for the conflict. Traffic doubled, reaching 600,000 tons in 1918.[8]

Transatlantic transit resumed in the aftermath of the war with the British, American and Dutch transatlantic companies. To welcome the best stopovers, the Chamber of Commerce built a deep water port, a new ferry terminal, and an area dedicated to loading, unloading and storage of goods in the field of Mielles. Cherbourg became the first port of migration in Europe, and Cunard Line, White Star Line and Red Star Line companies united to build the Hôtel Atlantique [Atlantic Hotel] intended to receive emigrants before crossing. At the same time, the downtown was renovated, especially in the architectural projects of René Levesque, Drancey and . However, the 1929 crisis put an end to the transatlantic peak.

Second World War

During the Second World War (1939–1945), the German Army occupied the north of France and fortified the coastline against invasion. As a deep-water port, Cherbourg was of strategic importance, very heavily protected against seaborne assault.

The Germans arrived on the outskirts of Cherbourg on 17 June 1940, towards the end of the Battle of France. Two days later, the City Council declared the city open, and Generalmajor Erwin Rommel, commander of the 7th Panzer Division, received the surrender of the city from the hands of the maritime prefect, Vice-Admiral , who had earlier destroyed submarines under construction at the arsenal and East Fort.

Four years later, Cherbourg, the only deep-water port in the region, was the primary objective of the American troops who had landed at Utah Beach during the Battle of Normandy. The Battle of Cherbourg was required to give the Allies a point of logistic support for human resupply and material of the troops. American troops encircled the city on 21 June 1944. At the end of furious street fighting and bitter resistance from the Fort du Roule, Generalleutnant Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben, Konteradmiral Walter Hennecke and 37,000 German soldiers surrendered on 26 June to Major General Joseph Lawton Collins, Commanding General (CG) of the U.S. VII Corps. After a month of demining and repairs by American and French engineers, the port, completely razed by the Germans and the bombing, welcomed the first Liberty ships and became, until the victory of 1945, the largest port in the world, with traffic double that of New York. It was also the endpoint of the gasoline which crossed the English Channel via the underwater pipeline PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean), and the starting point of the Red Ball Express, truck transport circuit to Chartres.

Cherbourg was returned to France by the Americans on 14 October 1945. It was cited in the Order of the Army on 2 June 1948 and received the Croix de guerre with Palm.


The wartime destruction was mainly concentrated around the military port in Cherbourg, but had hit 60% of Octeville. Thanks to the urgency of the port reconstruction, economic activity resumed quickly. Cherbourg, headed by former SFIO Minister , built much social housing. The postwar boom led to the modernisation of the economy and a greater role for female employment. Under the leadership of General de Gaulle, Cherbourg became the hub of nuclear ballistic missile submarine construction from 1964, including the first, Le Redoutable, which was launched in 1967. Félix Amiot's shipyard Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie, specialised in military armaments, became famous during the Christmas of 1969 in an episode of the Cherbourg Project.

Incorporated in 1970, the gathered together Cherbourg and Octeville, La Glacerie, Tourlaville, Querqueville and Équeurdreville-Hainneville.

From the end of the 1960s, the nuclear industry emerged through the construction sites of the La Hague reprocessing plant and the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant in addition to submarines of the DCN. A union of trade unions, left-wing activists and environmentalists, formed around the fear of the "nuclearisation" of Nord-Cotentin, crystallised in January 1979 when the Pacific Fisher landed with the first spent nuclear waste from Japan. On the eve of the 1980s, the Cherbourg agglomeration was hit by several violent social conflicts, particularly due to the closure of the Babcock factories.

Turn of the millennium

The major decisions of the public authorities, on which Cherbourg has depended for many centuries, and the nuclear industry, caused a deep economic crisis in the 1990s. The Arsenal was drastically downsized, the Northern Fleet (FLONOR) moved to Brest in 1992, and the closed. UIE, Burty, CMN, Socoval and Alcatel accumulated social plans or closings. Under the auspices of the , the agglomeration developed its academic offerings with the IUT of Cherbourg-Manche, the and a branch of the University of Caen, which complemented and the School of Fine Arts.

The new millennium began with the creation of a new commune. Cherbourg-Octeville was created on 1 March 2000 through the joining of Cherbourg and Octeville, following a local referendum within "Grand Cherbourg". The city revived its tourist and maritime identity through the Cité de la Mer and the opening to the public of the Redoubtable, and became the home of stopovers for cruises and nautical events.[9] The "between land and sea", with an emphasis on the commercial and touristic attractiveness of the city and the Bassins Quarter, as well as the economic specialisation in boating, emerged. Meanwhile, the traditional activities of the port (passengers, freight and fishing) were in crisis.


The Norman language writer Alfred Rossel, a native of Cherbourg, composed many songs which form part of the heritage of the region. Rossel's song "Sus la mér" ("on the sea") is often sung as a regional patriotic song. The local dialect is known as Cotentinais.

La Glacerie was named for glass factory. In 1655, Louis Lucas de Néhou built a glass factory which produced windows and mirrors for such buildings as the Galerie des Glaces and Château de Versailles. The factory in La Glacerie was destroyed by Allied bombardments in 1944 during the Normandy invasion.

Cherbourg was the first site outside the United States to be designated as an American Civil War Heritage Site by the Civil War Preservation Trust, because a sea battle was fought nearby in 1864 by Union and Confederate warships. See the Battle of Cherbourg (1864).

Research Tips

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Cherbourg-Octeville. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.