Havre, Le lə ä´vrə [key], city (1990 pop. 195,932), Seine-Maritime dept., N France, in Normandy, at the mouth of the Seine River on the English Channel. It was founded in 1517 as Le Havre-de-Grâce by Francis I. Le Havre became a major seaport in the 19th cent. and is now the second-most-important port in France after Marseilles. It was a major port for transatlantic travel until the advent of widespread commercial air travel in the 1970s. Among the city's industries are oil refining and the manufacture of automobiles, cement, synthetic rubber, and fertilizers. During World War II the British bombed the city to prevent its use by the Germans for an invasion of England.
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