Fort William (9)

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Fort William (9) (1697-1867) - An English Colonial Fort established in 1697 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada. Abandoned in 1867.

History of Fort William

Construction of Fort William began in 1697 during King William's War under the direction of English Colonel John Gibsone to guard the entrance to the St. John's Harbour. The fort was built to mount 40 guns, surrounded by ramparts and pallisades with a glacis descending down from the parapet. It was located at the narrow entrance to the harbour and commanded that entrance along with fortifications on the opposite shore. The fort itself was poorly sited and vulnerable from the land side. It was captured by the French three times during the 18th century.

Fort William was attacked by the French in 1705, 1709 and 1762. The English repelled the 1705 attack during Queen Anne's War but on 1 Jan 1709, under the command of Joseph de Mombeton de Saint-Ovide de Brouillon, the French captured and demolished Fort William. The fort was rebuilt by the British in the summer of 1709.

Civil Fort

There was a second fort south of Fort William that was surrounded by a pallisade, for the protection of the town’s civilian inhabitants. This second fort was known as the Civil Fort.

Fort St. George

By the 1740s, a battery with twelve 24-pounders was constructed just south of Fort William, near the same location as the civilian fort from the early eighteenth century. This battery was known as Fort St. George. Both Fort William and Fort St. George were captured by the French in 1762 during the French & Indian War and retaken by the British in the fall of 1762.

By the 1850s both forts were gone. At this time the area was being taken over by roads and dwellings. The houses were later burned down in 1892 and were subsequently rebuilt. By the early 1920s most of the homes were gone and a hotel was built on the site in 1926.

Current Status

Part of Fort William National Historic Site of Canada. Marker only in downtown St. John’s, across from The Fairmont Newfoundland hotel, on a retaining wall at the corner of Cavendish Square and Duckworth Street. The original site has been overbuilt several times and the area is physically changed.

Location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Fort Map Point is approximate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.57078 Long: -52.7006

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