/pawrts"meuhth, pohrts"-/, n.
1. a seaport in S Hampshire, in S England, on the English Channel: chief British naval station. 200,900.
2. a seaport in SE Virginia: navy yard. 104,577.
3. a seaport in SE New Hampshire: naval base; Russian-Japanese peace treaty 1905. 26,254.
4. a city in S Ohio, on the Ohio River. 25,943.
5. a town in SE Rhode Island. 14,257.

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City (pop., 2000: 100,565) and seaport, southeastern Virginia, U.S. Located on the Elizabeth River opposite Norfolk, with Norfolk and Newport News, Portsmouth makes up the Port of Hampton Roads.

Founded in 1752 and named after Portsmouth, Eng., it was occupied by both British and American troops during the American Revolution. It was incorporated as a city in 1858. During the American Civil War the U.S. Navy Yard was evacuated by Union troops, allowing Southern troops access to stores of equipment; Portsmouth was recaptured in 1862. It is part of the U.S. military complex at Hampton Roads. Shipbuilding and ship repair are the main economic activities, augmented by various manufactures.
City and unitary authority (pop., 2001: 186,704), geographic and historic county of Hampshire, southern England.

The seaport city is a major naval base and, with Southsea, a popular holiday resort. Located on the island of Portsea in the English Channel, Portsmouth was founded and received its first charter in 1194. A naval dockyard was established in 1496 and greatly expanded after 1698. Covering more than 300 acres (120 hectares), the dockyard is the city's main source of employment. Portsmouth suffered extensive damage from German bombing in World War II. Important industries are shipbuilding and aircraft engineering. The city was the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

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      city, Rockingham county, southeastern New Hampshire, U.S., across the Piscataqua River from Kittery, Maine, on the Atlantic coast. It is New Hampshire's oldest settlement, second oldest city, first capital, and only seaport. In 1623 a fishing settlement was built at the river's mouth. First called Piscataqua and then Strawbery Banke, it became a bustling colonial port. The town, incorporated by Massachusetts in 1653 and named for Portsmouth, England, served as the seat of New Hampshire's provincial government until the American Revolution. The state's first newspaper, the New Hampshire Gazette (1756), began publication there. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (actually in Kittery), dating from the 1790s, has been an important factor in the city's economic growth. The yard was the site of the 1905 treaty negotiations ending the Russo-Japanese War. For almost all of the 20th century Portsmouth was a centre for the building and repair of submarines; since 1971 submarines have only been repaired there. Connected with it is a naval hospital.

      Portsmouth is the trade centre for an agricultural and resort region and has light manufacturing industries. The city's historic buildings include the John Paul Jones (Jones, John Paul) House (1758), where the naval commander lived, and the homes of the author Thomas Bailey Aldrich (Aldrich, Thomas Bailey) (1797) and of John Langdon (1784), three-term governor of New Hampshire. The Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, a national historic landmark 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Portsmouth, was the home and council chamber of New Hampshire's first royal governor (1741–67). Strawbery Banke Museum is a 10-acre (4-hectare) restoration of historic houses and shops dating from 1695 to the 1950s on the original site. St. John's Church (1807) has a pipe organ dating from 1708. Inc. city, 1849. Pop. (1990) city, 25,925; Portsmouth-Rochester PMSA, 223,271; (2000) city, 20,784; Portsmouth-Rochester PMSA, 240,698.

      city, seat (1816) of Scioto county, southern Ohio, U.S. Portsmouth lies along the Ohio River at the mouth of the Scioto River, about 90 miles (145 km) south of Columbus. It was founded in 1803 by Maj. Henry Massie, a land speculator, who named the place for Portsmouth, N.H., hometown of Massie's friend Josiah Shackford. Its early growth was spurred by the opening (1832) of the Ohio and Erie Canal, when it became a point of transfer from canal barges to river packets. With the end of the steamboat era it developed as a railway centre; the first railroad arrived in 1853. Bridges now connect the city to South Portsmouth and Fullerton, in Kentucky. Following disastrous river floods in 1937, a floodwall 77 feet (23 metres) high was built (completed 1948) to protect the city. Between 1992 and 2002 the city decorated the wall with a series of more than 50 murals by artist Robert Dafford depicting scenes from Portsmouth and Scioto county history. The Greenup Locks and Dam complex is 10 miles (16 km) up the Ohio River.

      Nearby stone quarries and clay deposits have supplied building materials for many notable structures, including the Canadian Parliament buildings at Ottawa. The city's diversified manufactures include steel, chemicals, plastics, firebricks, and iron castings. The city is the seat of Shawnee State University (1986). Horseshoe Mound is in the city; Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park are nearby, and portions of Wayne National Forest are to the north and east. The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center displays traveling and permanent exhibitions of American art, including a large collection of paintings by Clarence Carter, a Portsmouth native. The River Days festival and the National Outboard Motor Boat Championship Races are annual events. Inc. town, 1814; city, 1851. Pop. (2000) 20,909; (2005 est.) 20,101.

      town (township), Newport county, southeastern Rhode Island, U.S. Portsmouth lies on the northern end of Rhode (Aquidneck) Island (Rhode Island) and along the Sakonnet River. It was founded in 1638 by William Coddington (Coddington, William), John Clarke, Anne Hutchinson (Hutchinson, Anne), and associates from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was first called Pocasset, an Algonquian word referring to the width of the river. The Portsmouth Compact, by which the settlers established a democratic government, is inscribed on a bronze and stone marker at Founder's Brook. The settlement was incorporated as a town in 1640 and was probably renamed for Portsmouth, England; in that year it also entered into an agreement to share government with Newport that lasted to the 20th century. During the American Revolution the British general Richard Prescott was captured on July 9, 1777, by William Barton at Overing House in Portsmouth. Butts Hill Fort (remnants exist) was the scene of a delaying action by American forces during the Battle of Rhode Island (1778).

      Now an outlying suburb of Newport city, Portsmouth includes the villages of Bristol Ferry and South Portsmouth and the islands of Prudence and Patience in Narragansett Bay. There is some industry, including the manufacture of electronic equipment and boatbuilding; tourism also is important. Area 23 square miles (60 square km). Pop. (1990) 16,857; (2000) 17,149.

 independent city and port, southeastern Virginia, U.S. It lies on the south shore of the Elizabeth River, opposite the city of Norfolk (connected by two bridges). The Elizabeth River flows into Hampton Roads and forms part of a fine natural harbour there. Portsmouth was the seat of Norfolk county from 1803; the county ceased to exist in 1963, when it was divided into independent cities.

      The land was first granted in 1659 to Captain William Carver, but his execution during Bacon's Rebellion (1676) delayed the town's establishment. The area was later granted to Colonel William Crawford, then justice of Norfolk county, who founded it in 1752 and named it for Portsmouth, England. The town was occupied alternately by British and American troops during the American Revolution. A shipyard, built in 1767 by Andrew Sprowle, a wealthy Scottish merchant, was reestablished in 1801 as the Norfolk Navy Yard by the U.S. government. In 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War, Union troops evacuated the navy yard and burned it. The South fell heir to great stores of equipment there and built the Confederate ironclad Virginia from the hull of the scuttled USS Merrimack. The yard was recaptured by Union troops in 1862. In response to American needs in the war against Spain in 1898, the navy yard converted to using steel and steam for shipbuilding. It subsequently produced the USS Texas, the navy's first commissioned battleship, and the USS Langley, the navy's first aircraft carrier.

      Portsmouth forms part of the important U.S. military complex at Hampton Roads. Shipbuilding and repairing in the port's navy yard, officially called the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, are the main economic activities. The city has varied manufactures, including chemicals, fertilizers, plastics, and railroad equipment, and Tidewater Community College (1968) is located there. Naval relics are displayed in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. The Portsmouth Naval Hospital (1830) is near the site of old Fort Nelson (a former British stronghold). Many colonial buildings have survived in the city, including Trinity Church (1762; Episcopal) and Monumental United Church (1772; Methodist). Inc. town, 1752; city, 1858. Pop. (1990) 103,907; (2000) 100,565.

▪ city and unitary authority, England, United Kingdom
      city and unitary authority, geographic and historic county of Hampshire, England. It is a major naval base and, with Southsea, a popular holiday resort. Portsmouth lies on Portsea Island, a narrow peninsula that separates two inlets of the English Channel: Portsmouth Harbour to the west and Langstone Harbour to the east. Portsmouth's naval base and Royal Dockyard occupy the southwestern part of the peninsula, and Southsea lies on the peninsula's southern tip. Portsmouth Harbour widens inward in bottle form, with Portsmouth on the east shore and Gosport on the west. The harbour opens out into Spithead, which is the eastern end of the Solent—the channel that separates the English mainland from the Isle of Wight offshore. Portsea Island's excellent position commanding two of the finest anchorages along England's southern coast helped make Portsmouth the country's preeminent naval base for many centuries.

      Portsmouth owes its origin to the retreat of the sea from the earlier settlement of Portchester at the head of Portsmouth Harbour. No town existed at the site until 1194, when the strategic importance of Portsea Island induced King Richard I to build a settlement there and to grant it a charter, fair, and market. The city is governed by a royal charter of 1627, modified by later municipal acts.

      The dockyard, which is still the principal source of employment, dates from 1496, when the town was already a naval base. It was greatly expanded after 1698 and now covers more than 300 acres (120 hectares), with numerous dry docks and fitting and repairing basins. In the 1860s four conspicuous masonry forts were built along the Spithead to defend the port and naval base. Portsmouth suffered severe bomb damage in World War II, and substantial clearance and rebuilding took place in the postwar decades.

      The tourist trade, which is centred primarily on Southsea, is very important to the city's economy. Tourism is also important for the area's ports, which are bases for sailing to France. Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar (Trafalgar, Battle of) (1805), HMS Victory, lies in the dockyard, as do the 19th-century HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, the latter from Henry VIII's navy; nearby is the Royal Navy Museum. The Guildhall, seriously damaged in World War II, reopened in 1959; it serves as civic headquarters, concert hall, and conference hall. Other notable buildings include a cathedral (12th century), Southsea Castle, and the birthplace of Charles Dickens. Shipbuilding and aircraft engineering are also important to the economy. Area city and unitary authority, 15 square miles (40 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) city and unitary authority, 189,600; (2001) Portsmouth urban area, 442,252.

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Universalium. 2010.

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