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Cherbourg-Octeville (/ˈʃɛərbʊərɡ/, also UK: /ˈʃɜːrbʊərɡ/,US: /ˈʃɛərbʊər, ʃɛərˈbʊər/,French: [ʃɛʁbuʁ ɔkt(ə)vil] (listen)) 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[note 1] (over 85,000 with its suburbs)[note 2] 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.
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