Fort Esopus (1658-1677) - A Dutch colonial fort and trading post established in 1658 near present day Kingston, Ulster County, New York. Abandoned in 1677. Also known as Fort Wiltwyck.
History of Fort Esopus
A Dutch colonial fort established in 1658 as a defense against the Esopus Indians. Originally built as a large (1/2 mile in circumference) palisaded fortification that included a moat and guardhouse. Intended as a fur trading post. Used as a base of operations during two Dutch campaigns against the Indians in 1659 and another in 1663.
The fort itself came under seige for two weeks in September 1659. The attackers slaughtered most of the cattle and tried to set fire to barns and outbuildings. The seige was lifted by reinforcements from New Amsterdam. Over the years the palisade was expanded three times, to almost one mile in circumference.
Dutch Governor Stuyvesant surrendered New York to the English in 1664 and later in 1664 the English commander, Colonel Cartwright, secured the surrender of Fort Orange and Fort Esopus. In 1669 the name was changed to Kingston but was renamed Swanenburgh when the Dutch returned in 1673. Their return was short lived and English rule was restored in 1674 along with the Kingston name.
Abandoned as a fortification in 1677.
Fort located in the area of North Front Street, Clinton Avenue, Main Street and Green Street in present day Kingston, New York. The map point is the approximate location of the main blockhouse. The red outline below outlines the approximate location of the palisade.