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Seaport (pop., 2006 est.: 74,888) on the Strait of Dover, northern France. Originally a fishing village built on an island, it was improved by the count of Flanders in 997 and fortified by the count of Boulogne in 1224. Calais was taken in 1347 by Edward III of England, and after 1450 it was the only remaining English possession in France. The 2nd duke de Guise took Calais from the English in 1558. In World War II it was a main objective in the German drive to the sea in 1940. It is an important passenger port and is near the French terminus of the Channel Tunnel. The city is famous for its lace and embroideries.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Calais, visit Britannica.com.