Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rochefort is a commune in western France, a seaport on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a sous-préfecture of the Charente-Maritime département. Population (1999): 25,797. The city's non-official name is Rochefort-sur-Mer but the last part of the name is normally omitted.
In December 1665 Rochefort was chosen by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as a place of "refuge, defense and supply" for the French navy. Its military harbour was fortified by Louis XIV's commissary of fortifications Vauban. Between 1666-1669 the king had the "Corderie Royale" constructed to make cordage for French ships of war. The making of cordage ceased in 1867, and in 1926 the arsenal of Rochefort was closed. The building was burned by occupation forces in 1944 and left abandoned for twenty years. Today it has been restored for municipal and tourist purposes.
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