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ENGLISH: Taranto City


Taranto City
TARANTO CITY (Pop. 232,334) Capital of Taranto prov., Apulia, S Italy, on the Gulf of Taranto, an arm of the Ionian Sea. Taranto is the chief military port of Italy. It is also an agricultural, industrial, and fishing center. Manufactures include steel, metal products, refined petroleum, cement, machinery, and ships.

Founded by the Spartans, according to tradition (8th century BC.), in the course of the centuries it became one of the most prosperous cities in Magna Grecia, though often at war with its neighbours (the Messapi, Peucezi and Lucanians). When its ally, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, was defeated in 273 BC., it was forced to pay homage to Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was conquered by the Goths, then the Byzantines and Lombards, followed by the Saracens and again Byzantium until Robert Guiscard conquered it for the Normans in 1063 As a part of the kingdom of Naples the city was strongly fortified and was held as a principality by various lords. Its harbor, protected by the Italian fleet, was bombed several times in World War II. Much of the Italian navy was caught and destroyed there.

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