Sunday, 16 December 2012

The fort in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia: Fort Charlotte

Although the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia is dominated by Fort George (which is possibly better know as the Halifax Citadel), that fortress forms only part of a much larger defence system that protected the cit. Part of that defence system was Fort Charlotte, which was situated on Georges Island in the middle of the harbour.

The island's original name was île à la Raquette (Snowshoe Island), but it was renamed George Island (in honour of King George II) in 1749. It retained this name until 1963, when it was renamed Georges Island.

The first fortifications were erected on the island in 1750, just after work had begun building Fort George on Citadel Hill.


The fort was one of several used as a prison camp for Arcadians (the descendants of the French colonists who had settled in Acadia, part of the colony of New France, during the 17th century) when they were forcibly removed from their lands by the British. Some of the Arcadians eventually returned to France and some settled in Louisiana, but many later returned to the Maritime Provinces of Canada.


During the American War of Independence the fort was garrisoned by a detachment from the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), which had been raised from Scottish soldiers who had served in the Seven Years' War and who had chosen to stayed in North America.


Fort Charlotte remained an important part of the defences of Halifax for over two hundred years, and was remodelled several times so that larger guns could be mounted and her buildings and facilities were able to cope with the changing demands placed upon them.



Fort Charlotte is now a National Historical Site, and it is currently undergoing restoration by the Federal Heritage Department prior to being opened to the public at some time in the foreseeable future.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Bob. When I lived near Halifax I always wished that the island was open to visitors. One day I hope to see what Parks Canada has done with it. There are rumours of tunnels running under the harbour from the Citadel to Georges Island. I've never heard any local historians categorically deny this.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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  2. Mad Padre (Mike),

    I have also heard the rumour about the tunnels ... and heard similar tales in other similar locations. I suspect that such stories are quite common.

    I wish that I had had the opportunity to visit the island. If I ever return to Halifax it would be on my list of places to visit.

    All the best,

    Bob

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