Dunkirk, or Dunkerque, the most northerly seaport of France, on the Strait of Dover, in the dep. of Nord, 189 miles N. of Paris by rail, and 67 W. of Ghent. It is a very strong place, as well from recent fortification works, as from the ease with which the surrounding country can all be laid under water. As a seaport, both naval and mercantile, it is also a place of much consequence; and great harbour-works have been carried out under the law of 1879, which authorised an expenditure of £2,000,000. The town itself is well built and cleanly, Flemish rather than French; its principal features, the Gothic church of St Eloi, the fine detached belfry (196 feet), and the statue of Jean Barth. Dunkirk has manufactures of linen, leather, cotton, soap, beet-root sugar, etc.; also metal-foundries, salt-refineries, great snipbuilding-yards, and cod and herring fisheries. Since becoming a free port in 1826, it has also carried on a good trade in wine and liqueurs. Pop. (1872) 34,342; (1901) 40,329. Dunkirk is said to owe its origin to the church built by St Eloi in the 7th century, in the midst of the dreary sand-hills or dunes, and hence its name, ' Church of the Dunes.' It was burned by the English in 1388, taken by Cromwell in 1658, but sold to Louis XIV. by Charles II. for 5,000,000 francs in 1662.