Louisbourg restored in the modern day...
Established: 1719
Established by: French

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave Britain control of Port Royal and Newfoundland; however, France refused to relinquish its colonies at St. Anne and Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island).  The French also wanted to secure their access to the Grand Banks; therefore, France began construction of Port Dauphin on the island of  Ile Royale (Cape Breton).  The choice of location was not a good one as the chosen harbor was prone to icing in the winter months.

An alternate site was selected on the extreme southeastern part of Ile Royale.  The harbor, being ice-free and well protected, soon became a winter port for French naval forces on the Atlantic seaboard and they named it Louisbourg Harbor.  In 1719, France began construction of Fort Louisbourg—a combined military and naval installation with an adjacent colony.  The shear amount of money poured into the new colony (combined with the lucrative fishery) resulted in the new colony being profitable.

In 1745, construction of the fort was finally completed.  Before the paint was dry, though, the fort was besieged by an English-American force from New England.  To the surprise of pretty much everyone, Louisbourg surrendered on June 16 (my birthday!), 1745 (not my birth year!).  The French attempted to take the fort back the next year but failed.  However, the fort was returned to France three years later with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748).  In 1749, the British responded to the French threat at Louisbourg with the construction of Fort Halifax.  Halifax became the largest Royal Navy base for Great Britain on the Atlantic.

The second siege of Louisbourg came in 1758 during the French-Indian War.  The Thirteen Colonies were upset that France and their native allies were preventing them from expanding into the Ohio Valley.  The fortress fell on July 26, 1758, to a combined land and naval assault by the British led by Brigadier General James Wolfe.  British engineers demolitioned the fort to prevent it from falling back into the hands of the French.  The site was completely abandoned at the end of the French-Indian War.

In 1748, the New Englanders were forced to give Louisbourg to the French.  The Americans took a souvenir (the Louisbourg Cross which had hung in the fortress chapel).  The cross was rediscovered in the Harvard University archives in the latter half of the 20th Century; it is now on long-term loan to the Louisbourg historic site.

Click here to open up a detailed blue-print of Fort Louisbourg.