The Downs


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Downs, The,

roadstead, c.8 mi (13 km) long and 6 mi (9.7 km) wide, between North Foreland and South Foreland, off Deal, Kent, SE England, in the English Channel. It is protected, except from strong south winds, by the Goodwin Sands and the coast. Two naval battles were fought nearby—between the Dutch and the Spanish in 1639 and between the British and the French in 1666 (see Dutch WarsDutch Wars,
series of conflicts between the English and Dutch during the mid to late 17th cent. The wars had their roots in the Anglo-Dutch commercial rivalry, although the last of the three wars was a wider conflict in which French interests played a primary role.
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