In 1686, at the request of Louis XIV, Vauban came to Cherbourg. He noted that the town was vulnerable only from its seaward side and suggested important defence works that were undertaken in 1688. However, the following year, Louvois, the War Minister, decided to suspend the work. He ordered the demolition of the castle and the fortifications that were falling into disrepair: Cherbourg was no longer a stronghold.
At that time, the harbour consisted solely of a lagoon with a stable bottom where forty vessels could anchor but there was no protection for this natural harbour as shown by the aftermath of the battle known as the La Hougue in 1692.
From 1739 to 1744, on the orders of Louis XV, the town was given a commercial port that, in 1758, in the course of another Anglo-French conflict, was entirely destroyed. It didn't open to traffic again until 1789.
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