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Damietta

town, city and principal

DAMIETTA, Egypt, town in Lower Egypt, on one of the principal branches of the Nile, 125 miles north-northeast of Cairo; at. 31 25' N.; long. 31 5' E. It is irregularly built, and contains some fine mosques, bazaars and marble baths. Damietta was at one time a very important place, with 80,000 popula tion, and carried on an extensive foreign trade, but is now eclipsed by Alexandria. The weaving of cotton fabrics is the principal industry. Rice, fish and fruit are exported. A bar at the mouth of the Nile prevents large vessels from reaching the town, compelling them to anchor outside, and to load and unload by means of small craft of from 30 to 60 tons burden. A military school and cotton-factory were established here by Mehemet Ali. In 1219 Count William of Holland, with his fleet of 12 ships, manned chiefly by men of Haarlem, by means of a high platform built on their masts and a scuttle let down, captured the out lying tower, broke the great chain between this and the mainland and captured the city. In

commemoration of this event, the city of Haar lem bears on its shield a cross and a sword be tween four stars, with the motto aVirtus Vim Victus" (Courage conquers force) and the carillon of bells, nightly at nine o'clock, sounds out the aDamietje.a The ancient town of Damietta (Tamidthis) stood about five miles nearer the sea, or farther north. The danger to which it was exposed, however, from its posi tion on the shores, induced the Egyptian caliphs to change its position, and to remove it to where the modern town now stands about the year 1251. The present town contains many antique columns and blocks, supposed to have been brought from the old city. It is the terminus of a railway from Cairo. Pop. 29,354.