Southampton is a seaport on the English Channel
, located 80 miles SW of London
. Southampton Water, a deep channel relatively free of silting and easily dredged, is admirably sheltered by the Isle of Wight
and is one of the best natural harbors. It was developed particularly as a port for London and the port of call for great ocean liners.
The Romans had a station about a mile northeast of the present city site, remains of which have ben excavated. The port has considerable trade with Venice after the Norman Conquest. The Crusaders under Richard I and Henry V on his 1415 expedition to France, embarked from Southampton. The Pilgrims arrived at Southampton from Delfthaven to take ship for America. The modern growth of the port dates from around 1840, when railway communication with London and new docks were opened.