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Owes its importance to the magnificent estuary into which drain the rivers Plym and Tamar. The original settlement was at Sutton, the name Plymouth being attached to the harbour. By Leland's time, in the 1530s, it was ‘very large’ with ‘a goodly rode for great shippes’. During the civil wars, Plymouth was of great strategic importance as a parliamentary bastion in a predominantly royalist region and resisted repeated attempts to subdue it. After the Restoration it increased with the growth of the navy. As a vital naval base, within easy bombing range from occupied France, Plymouth suffered heavily in the Second World War, and the subsequent replanning did not command total enthusiasm.

Subjects: Literature — British History.

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