EUROPEAN FORTS IN NORTH AMERICA: -c1899

 

King George III 12 pdr cannon; one of 11 at Fort Charlotte, St Vincent, with 34 smaller guns.

 

I have included these European fortifications built in British North America (BNA) to show the enormous breadth of European involvement in the BNA and the cost of empire.[1] I have chosen to use the geographical definition of North America, which includes the Caribbean and Central America. I have further broadened the foregoing definition to include South America, since the Europeans felt that America was all one. I have tried to bound the time-frame based on primary British interests in the BNA and thus arbitrarily to Canadian affairs. The War of 1812 (1812-1816) had a significant impact in BNA and this seemed a good general point to stop, but some dates go past WW II. Most forts had artillery guns of some calibre, often these were organised in batteries, although the men's technical competence varied widely.

Readers should note that there are no-doubt errors - despite my good intentions and efforts - and ommissions. My purpose has been to reveal imperial costs and areas of development, rather than unique detailed history. Historical data is not universally available and I have not been able to capture many locations, names, events, and dates for these forts (presidios in Spanish were forts with tough men equipped and 'on-call' as a garrison to ride and take action). I have tried to show the duration of operation from initial site construction to out-of-service dates.

There is an additional question ...,when is a fort a fort? I have not included most mere trading posts, which reasonably to the locals might have meant safety, but might in reality have been little more than armed, fellow Europeans and a log cabin. Many genuine forts are also now lost in time and their physical structures vanished. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that of the several thousand European forts I have captured at least the main sites, names, events, and most key dates.

The names by which local forts were known varied over time; and I have tried to show all names associated with the same location; where this was a deliberate re-naming I have indicated that in the short detail area, otherwise the spelling variations are merely listed in the first column. I have tried to list the eldest name at a location first, although it is often less well-known than a later name. In the same column I have shown commanders' names where known. I have shown the first structure's nationality and I have not shown exclusively American, Mexican, or Canadian fortifications, which might have extended the numbers to closer to 10,000. Since England's Act of Union with Scotland was not proclaimed until 26 March 1707, although confusing, I have reflected both English and Scottish forts as separate from British where appropriate. I have shown some basic details of the actual construction and type, where known, and also significant events impacting locally on the fort. These forts are sorted by date.

Select the era below and then search for a fort by date and then by name. You may wish to use search automated capabilities to find a specific fort. All major site names should be included below, however, names changed over time you may have to search further back in time to find a particular fort if it had been renamed, or if it was rebuilt on an earlier site. This data is all organised by the initial site date with multiple names shown in text. Some readers may wish to correlate forts with ORBATS to identify implications for battles and unit histories.

ENDNOTES

1         There are many sources, including endless internet sites, however, I found some paricularly helpful. The website at http://www.geocities.com/naforts/ provides a large database of forts listed separately by state. Bruce Grant, American Forts, Yesterday and Today; and Pete and Phil Payette's NORTH AMERICAN FORTIFICATIONS at http://www.geocities.com/forts. The latter is an extended site covering the American states and Canadian provinces, plus some Mexican and Caribbean forts. Therre is a history of Illinois forts at http://www.genealogytrails.com/ill/forts.html#PREHISTORIC, a list of Pennsylvania forts is at http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/pa/1pa/1picts/frontierforts/frontierforts.htm, West Virginia forts at http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvwags/forts.txt. For specific French details see http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/6750/links.htm and http://www.mlrmag.com/pubaddnl/TonyG/french.htm, a specialist list of Florida forts ia at http://www.treasurelore.com/florida/florida_forts.htm, New York forts are at http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/forts/fortsA_D/anneFort.htm, and Canadian forts see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Hudson%27s_Bay_Company_forts. I also consulted authors like Frank McLynn,1759, the Year Britain Became Master of the World; and Fred Anderson, Crucible of War for more specific details. A full list of useful websites may be found in the bibliography under Internet Citations.

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