Fort St. Louis (8)
Fort St. Louis (8) (1630-1642) - A French Colonial Era Fort established in 1630 near Port La Tour, Nova Scotia (see Location Controversy below). Named Fort St. Louis after Saint Louis IX, King of France (1215-1270). Destroyed by fire in 1642.
The origins of French Fort St. Louis lie with the abandonment of the Port-Royal Habitation in 1623 and the subsequent relocation of the remaining colonists to what became Fort Lomeron on the east side of Cape Sable. At this point Charles de La Tour had assumed command of the group after the death of Charles de Biencourt in 1623 and it was he who oversaw the building of Fort Lomeron at what became Port la Tour. Fort Lomeron was built as a fortified trading post on an exposed spit of land just above sea level, well suited for a trading post but ill-suited to hold off large numbers of attacking ships.
In 1627 the King of France (Louis III) and Cardinal Richelieu (French Prime Minister & Foreign Secretary of France) organized the Company of New France. Soon after Charles La Tour wrote to the King and Richelieu explaining that English and Scottish forces had plans to take over all of Acadia and that he needed a stronger fortification to hold them off.
The King and Richelieu decided to have the Company of New France build a fort for Charles La Tour to defend the Cape Sable region. The fort was to be called Fort St. Louis after Saint Louis IX, King of France (1215-1270) and it would be the first fort constructed under the auspices of the Company of New France. Charles La Tour selected a site later praised for its strength and suitably. The location is disputed with one camp favoring the original east location of Port La Tour and the rest favoring the west location in the Sand Hills near present-day Villagedale.
With Quebec taken by the English in 1629, La Tour’s Fort Lomeron was in 1630 the sole French fort in New France. Construction on Fort St. Louis would not begin until June 1630 and would not be complete until December 1830.
Claude de La Tour (Charles de La Tour's father) had been captured at sea in 1628 by an English ship and was taken to England where he promptly switched sides, married a lady in waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria and struck a deal with the English. The deal included a title and large grant of land in “New Scotland” in return for his promise to get his son to surrender Fort Lomeron and accept a title and generous land-grant.
In May 1630 Claud de La Tour and his new wife set out with two British warships bound for the now Anglo-Scottish settlement at Port-Royal. During a stop at Cap de Sable Claude told his son of the English offer and urged him to accept the title and land-grant being offered. Charles refused and his father then resorted to force by attacking Fort Lomeron for two days. The attacks were unsuccessful and Claud retired with the English to Port-Royal having been unable to keep his part of the deal. Now in disgrace, Claud told his new wife that she was free to go back to England but she refused. He then wrote to his son and asked if they could come and live with him. Charles reluctantly agreed with a stipulation that Claud and his wife would live outside the fort and never enter it. Claud and his wife moved outside Fort St. Louis where Charles built him a house and generously provided for his needs until he died sometime after 1636.
Acadian Civil War (1635–1654)
Charles La Tour had been granted a governorship over a portion of Acadia which unfortunately overlapped a portion of Acadia that had been granted to Charles de Menou d'Aulnay. The resulting conflict between the two men became known as the Acadian Civil War.
In the Fall of 1642, Charles de Menou d'Aulnay, on his way from France to Port-Royal, stopped at Fort St.Louis where he discovered that La Tour and his wife were away. He overcame the guards and set Fort St. Louis on fire. The fire consumed everything, including the church. Charles La Tour moved his headquarters to Fort La Tour where in April 1645 d'Aulnay would again attack. See Fort La Tour.
A controversy exists over the location of this fort.
Site #1 - Port La Tour. A Cairn has been placed at a site near Port La Tour on the east side of the cape but it seems deliberately vague about the fort. The cairn addresses only an incident where an Anglo-Scottish expedition aided by Charles La Tour's father, Claud La Tour, attempted to take the fort from Charles La Tour in 1630. This is also probably the site where Charles La Tour established an earlier fortification, Fort Lomeron, with the remnants of the Port-Royal Habitation colony in 1623.
Site #2 - Sand Hills at Villagedale. Charles La Tour petitioned the King of France and Minister Richelieu in 1627 to provide protection from English forces attempting to take over all of Acadia. In response, Fort St. Louis was built, some think on the west side of the cape at Sand Hills, now near Villagedale.
Part of the Fort St. Louis National Historic Site of Canada at Port La Tour, Nova Scotia, Canada. HSMBC cairn and plaque mark the site of the conflict between the Father & Son.
Visited: 3 Jun 2018