Louisbourg

Louisbourg, known as the Gibraltar of North America, located on the Ile Royale (present-day Cape Breton Island) had been designed in accordance with the fortification theories of Sebastian Le Prestre de Vauban, the greatest military engineer of the 16th and 17th centuries. Construction began in 1719, and continued for more than 25 years.

The considerable cost of the fortress made Louis XV to complain: Are the streets being paved with gold over there? I fully expect to awake one morning in Versailles to see the walls of the fortress rising over the horizon.

In fact, the French monarch knew very well than the expense was justified, as Louisbourg became center of French cod fishery, a major shipping hub and a major station for privateers preying on New England.

It also provided a training base for the French navy. Greater than all, was the role of Louisbourg in guarding the gateway to New France, as its position on the central east coast of Ile Royale prevented the Royal Navy from accessing the St. Lawrence River. For the first time the fortress of Louisbourg had been seized by British colonists, supported by the Royal Navy in 1745, during the King George’s War.

The British had managed what had been thought impossible through a siege that lasted 46 days. In fact, while Havre Louisbourg was strongly defended, the site upon which the fortress had been constructed was overlooked by a number of slight hills.

This situation was advantageous for the British who had thus excellent positions for their cannons. After the capture, the British had had the fortress of Louisbourg for three years until the 1748 years Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle obliged them to return the fortress to France.

Louisbourg thrived for the decade that followed. By 1758 its garrison had grown to about 3050 regulars, supported by 400 militia. Besides 10 warships, with crew of 2606, stationed in the port.

On 15 May 1756 Great Britain declared war on France, This war, known as Seven Years’ War was fatal for Louisbourg and for New France.

In 1758 the British sent a new expedition for the capture of Louisbourg as a necessary step for the conquest of all the colony.

See also:

  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis