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Charleville-Mézières

Charleville-Mézières (shärləvēl´-māzyĕr´), town (1990 pop. 59,439), capital of Ardennes dept., NE France, on the Meuse River, in Champagne. It was formed in 1966 when the twin cities of Charleville and Mézières were merged, along with three small communities. It is a commercial center and railway hub with a variety of heavy and light manufactures. Mézières was an old fortified town, founded in the 9th cent.; Charleville was founded (1606) by, and named for, Charles de Gonzague, duke of Rethel. The area has often been captured by the Germans (1815, 1870, 1914, 1940), and Mézières in particular suffered heavy damage in both World Wars. Its recovery (1918) by the Allies marked the last major battle of World War I.

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