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History - Louisbourg   


Following the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, France lost Plaisance (now known as Placentia), an important base located on the island of Newfoundland, as well as l’Acadie (Nova-Scotia), however l’île Royale and l’île Saint-Jean remained in her possession. The settlers thus had to find another location that would satisfy their requirements, such as a prime fishing location, easily reachable by ships in the winter, accessible for the trade industry, etc. One location that seemed to meet these requirements was found on île Royale (Cap-Breton).

Interestingly, when the settlers from Plaisance first made their “prise de possession” of Louisbourg on September 2nd 1713, they had no intention of building a fort. They were simply looking for a place mainly to protect their cod fishing industry. However, after several years, Louisbourg was chosen, above several other areas, as the location for construction of the fortress.

At the very beginning of its foundation, Louisbourg was known as Havre à l’Anglois, the name was later changed to Port Saint-Louis, and finally France changed it one last time to Louisbourg. Also, the original layout of its houses and streets did not have much order. Jean-François de Verville, an engineer, was responsible for giving Louisbourg a more organized structure. The walls of this fortress enclosed an area of 60 acres, in which a city of some 30 city blocks was built. Spanning from the bay to the harbor, on the western side of the fortress, was a wall one kilometer in length. This wall, facing a marsh, rose up to ten meters high and measured 4 meters thick. It also had 148 cannon emplacements and 3