Fort Pitt at the Juncture of two rivers...
FORT PITT
Established: 1758
Established by: England



Fort Pitt was constructed in 1758 during the French-Indian War next to the site of Fort Duquesne.  The French built Fort Duquesne (1754) which made it a focal point of the conflict because of its strategic location.  In 1755, the English-led Braddock expedition was repulsed by the French on the Monongahela River; however, a second attack on Duquesne during the Forbes’ expedition in 1758 led the fort’s destruction.

Forbes’ succeeded because the English (through the Treaty of Easton) convinced France’s Indian allies to abandon their alliance with the French.  The understanding was that the British military would leave the area after the successful close of the war.  The local indigenous population wanted a trading post at Duquesne but they did not want a British army garrison.  The British, nevertheless, built a new fort on the site and named it Fort Pitt (in honor of Britain’s prime minister).

As a result, in 1763 local Delawares and Shawnees took part in Pontiac’s Rebellion—an effort to drive the British from the region.  The Indians' siege of Fort Pitt was repelled.  During the peace negotiations, the commander of Fort Pitt gave two Delaware Indian emissaries blankets exposed to smallpox; it was hoped that disease would break out among the surrounding Indian communities thereby guaranteeing Britain’s influence in the area.  The attempt failed; but the Indians lifted the siege to intercept a relief force.  The English relief force defeated the Indians and relieved Fort Pitt.

After Pontiac's Rebellion, Fort Pitt was no longer necessary to the British Crown and was abandoned to the locals in 1772.



FAST FACT
In 1772, the Pittsburgh area was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania, and a power struggle for the region began between the two American colonies.  Virginians took control of Fort Pitt and for a brief time in the 1770s it was called Fort Dunmore, in honour of Virginia's Governor Lord Dunmore.  The fort served as a staging ground for Dunmore’s War of 1774.