Dover, Strait of


Dover, Strait of
French Pas de Calais ancient Fretum Gallicum.

Channel separating southeastern England from northwestern France.

Connecting the English Channel with the North Sea, it is about 20 mi (32 km) wide at its narrowest point. Lined on the British side with the famous White Cliffs, which are composed of soft chalk, it is one of the world's busiest seaways; its chief ports include Dover and Folkestone in England and Calais and Boulogne in France. It was the scene of several historic naval battles, including the repulse by the English of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Allied troops in the Dunkirk Evacuation crossed to Dover in 1940.

* * *

▪ international waterway, Europe
French  Pas de Calais , Latin  Gallicum Fretum 
 a narrow water passage separating England (northwest) from France (southeast) and connecting the English Channel (southwest) with the North Sea (northeast). The strait is 18 to 25 mi (30 to 40 km) wide, and the depth ranges from 120 to 180 ft (35 to 55 m). Until the comparatively recent geologic past (c. 5000 BC), the strait was an exposed river valley, thus making England an extension of the European continent. Because of the prevailing winds, the main flow of water through the strait is from the southwest, but a persistent northeast wind can reverse the current. The White Cliffs on the British side, composed of soft chalk, are receding due to erosion. Although it is one of the world's busiest seaways, a strict system of traffic lanes and navigation information became mandatory only in 1977. The chief ports include Dover and Folkestone (England) and Calais and Boulogne (France). Much of the regular passenger service is carried by hovercraft. A rail-tunnel project across the bottom of the strait, first proposed in 1856, is again under consideration.

      The Strait of Dover was the scene of several historic naval battles, notably the first major repulse by the English of the Spanish Armada (1588). During World War I, Boulogne was a major army base, and Dover was the headquarters for the “Dover patrol,” which protected shipping in the strait. In 1940, the Allied troops evacuating from Dunkirk (Dunkerque, Fr.) crossed the strait to Dover. The name Dover originally meant “the waters” or “the stream.”

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dover,Strait of — Dover, Strait of In French Pas de Ca·lais (pä də kă lāʹ, kălʹā, kä lĕʹ). A narrow channel at the eastern end of the English Channel between southeast England and northern France. * * * …   Universalium

  • Dover, Strait of — strait at the E end of the English Channel; 21 mi. wide …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Dover, Strait of — or French Pas de Calais geographical name channel between SE England & N France, easternmost section of English Channel; 20 miles (32 kilometers) wide at narrowest point …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • DOVER, STRAIT OF —    divides France from England and connects the English Channel with the North Sea, and at the narrowest 20 m. across; forms a busy sea highway; is called by the French Pas de Calais …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Dover, Strait of — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Battle of Dover Strait — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Dover Strait partof=World War One caption= date=20 April 21 1917 place=in the Dover Strait territory= result=British victory combatant1=United Kingdom combatant2=German Empire commander1=Edward Evans… …   Wikipedia

  • Dover — This article is about the English town. For the larger local government district, see Dover (district). For other uses, see Dover (disambiguation). Coordinates: 51°07′46″N 1°18′32″E /  …   Wikipedia

  • Strait of Dover — Map showing the location of the Strait of Dover. Vie …   Wikipedia

  • Dover — /doh veuhr/, n. 1. a seaport in E Kent, in SE England: point nearest the coast of France. 101,700. 2. Strait of. French, Pas de Calais. a strait between England and France, connecting the English Channel and the North Sea: least width 20 mi. (32… …   Universalium

  • Strait of Dover — Pas de Calais Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pas de Calais (homonymie). Pas de Calais Carte de localisation du pas de Calais Type …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.