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(both: lătəkē`ə, lätə–), city (1995 est. pop. 320,100), capital of Latakia governorate, W Syria, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is Syria's leading port, exporting bitumen, asphalt, cereals, raw cotton, fruit, and the famous Latakia tobacco (cultivated since the 17th cent.). Industries include sponge fishing, vegetable-oil milling, and cotton ginning. Formerly the ancient Phoenician city of Ramitha, it was rebuilt (c.290 B.C.) by Seleucus ISeleucus I
(Seleucus Nicator) , d. 280 B.C., king of ancient Syria. An able general of Alexander the Great, he played a leading part in the wars of the Diadochi. In the new partition of the empire in 312 B.C. he received Babylonia.
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 and later prospered as the Roman Laodicea ad Mare. Byzantines and Arabs fought over it from the 7th to 11th cent. A.D. The city was captured in 1098 by the Crusaders and flourished in the 12th cent. until after its capture in 1188 by SaladinSaladin
, Arabic Salah ad-Din, 1137?–1193, Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, the great opponent of the Crusaders, b. Mesopotamia, of Kurdish descent.
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. From the 16th cent. to World War I it was part of the Ottoman Empire. While Syria was under the French League of Nations mandate, Latakia was (1920–42) the capital of the territory of the Alawites. A deepwater port was completed in 1959. Landmarks include ancient columns and a Roman arch. The city is the seat of the Univ. of Latakia.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



al-Ladhiqiya, a muhafaza (governorate) in Syria, located on the Mediterranean Sea. Area, 6,300 sq km. Administrative center, Latakia.

In the Middle Ages the mountains of Latakia served as a refuge for such Shiite sects as the Ismailites and the Nusayrites (Alawites), who were persecuted by the Arabian Caliphate. In the early 16th century Latakia, along with all of Syria, was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and annexed to the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Latakia was occupied by British and French forces. In late August and early September 1920 the French authorities proclaimed Latakia the Autonomous Territory of the Alawites. In 1936, Latakia’s autonomy was annulled; after Syria’s proclamation of independence in 1943, Latakia was included in its territory as an ordinary muhafaza.

During the period of Ottoman Turkish sovereignty in Syria and during the French Mandate, Latakia was one of the centers of anti-Turkish, antifeudal (particularly in 1859), and anti-French uprisings (in 1919–22, 1923 and 1925–27).



or al-Ladhiqiya, a city in Syria and the administrative center of the muhafaza (governorate) of Latakia. Population, 126,000 (1970).

A port with a freight turnover of about 1 million tons a year, Latakia is located on the Mediterranean seacoast. It gins cotton, mills flour, and produces tobacco, soap, olive oil, and silk textiles. Bitumen is mined nearby. Latakia is the starting point for the Latakia-Aleppo (Halab)-Qamisliyah railroad, on which construction began in 1973 with Soviet aid.

Latakia was originally the Phoenician settlement of Ramitha; later (the reign of Seleucus I) it became the town of Laodicea. It was conquered by the Arabs in the seventh century. During the Crusades, Latakia was one of the objectives of the wars between the Crusaders and the Arabs. From 1516 to 1918 it was a part of the Ottoman Empire. During the 16th through 18th centuries Latakia was the center of the semi-independent Latakian principality. [14–514—4]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Lattakia
the chief port of Syria, in the northwest: tobacco industry. Pop.: 486 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005