industrial town, Nord departement, Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, northern France, just northeast of Lille. It is situated on the Canal de Roubaix in the plain of Flanders near the Belgian frontier and is united in the north with Tourcoing. Roubaix obtained its first manufacturing charter in the 15th century. After a long struggle in the second half of the 18th century, it obtained the same privileges as Lille to manufacture all of the textiles that the English made. The population tripled to 25,000 in the first half of the 19th century and reached over 122,000 before World War I. The town was occupied by the Germans in World War I and in World War II. Roubaix and Tourcoing, with their suburbs, have become part of the Lille urban agglomeration. One of the most important manufacturing centres of France, Roubaix specializes in textiles. More than 200 factories are engaged in the production of natural and man-made fibres, of which wool is the most important. The city is an important centre for mail-order sales and has chemical industries. Pop. (1982) 101,488.
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