Fort Celeste

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Fort Celeste (1789-1804) - A Spanish Colonial Fort established in 1789 near New Madrid, New Madrid County, Missouri. Named Fort Celeste after Celeste Miro the wife of Spanish Governor Estevan Miro. Abandoned after 1804.


Established in 1789 by the Spanish colonial government and located on the west bank of the Mississippi at present-day New Madrid, Missouri. Fort Celeste was erected at the direction of Spanish Governor Estevan Miro. The original fort was built too close to the river and was damaged when a bank eroded away. The post was rebuilt farther down on more elevated land sometime before 1796.

The new fort was a palisaded square, with blockhouses at all four angles and surrounded by a moat. It mounted eight cannons.

The post was garrisoned in 1796 with 24 army regulars, it served as the residence of the Spanish commandant of the Illinois or Upper Louisiana military district. All vessels using the river were stopped at this point for payment of duty and search of cargo. A small Spanish fleet was anchored by the fort to guard the river.

New Madrid's first census was taken on 31 Dec 1796 and showed 159 families.

In 1801 the fort burned down and was rebuilt.

On 9 Mar 1804 Spanish rule came to an end with the transfer at St. Louis of Upper Louisiana to France. This was followed by the transfer from France to the United States on 10 Mar 1804.

New Madrid was the only one of the remaining posts and settlements of Upper Louisiana that marked the transfer with a ceremony. There on 18 Mar 1804, Don Juan La Valle surrendered the fort and district under his command to Captain Daniel Bissell, 1st U.S.Infantry, the representative of the United States of America. The fort was regarrisoned by U.S. troops for a time but was abandoned for the Post at New Madrid later in 1804.

Current Status

Fort Celeste Damaged Marker and Stone.

Marker only located across from the New Madrid Museum. The plaque has fallen off the stone and has deteriorated to the point where it is not readable.

Location: New Madrid, New Madrid County, Missouri.

Maps & Images

Lat: 36.58386 Long: -89.52696

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Visited: 9 Sep 2020

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