Nantes is a city in western France on the Loire River, 50km from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of nearly 300,000 in Nantes and an urban area of 600,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis.It is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique département and the Pays de la Loire région, one of 18 regions of France. Nantes belongs historically and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, and its omission from the modern Brittany région is controversial.Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the Loire. It was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851. Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France. During the 17th century, after the establishment of the French colonial empire, Nantes gradually became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave trade. The French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed robust industries after 1850 . Deindustrialisation in the second half of the 20th century spurred the city to adopt a service economy.
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