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Charles Fort National Historic Site of Canada

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1951/05/30

General view of the Charles Fort National Historic Site of Canada, showing the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque, 2005.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2005.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Charles Fort National Historic Site of Canada
Charles Fort
Fort Charles
Scots Fort / Fort Scots / Fort des Écossais
Scots Fort / Fort Scots / Fort des Écossais
Scotch Fort
Fort des Écossais

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located underneath the restored Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada, there are no above ground resources to show where Charles Fort once had been. Nevertheless, from the site where the fort once stood, one can look out over the confluence of the Annapolis and Allain Rivers. Official recognition refers to a perimeter around the supposed location of the fort.

Heritage Value

Charles Fort, also known as Scots Fort, was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1951. The reasons for designation, as derived from the text of the plaque erected in 1952, are:
- it was the fort built by Sir William Alexander to plant the colony of “Nova Scotia”;
- it was occupied by Scottish colonists from 1629 to 1632, when the territory was restored to France.

Charles Fort was erected in 1629 by Sir William Alexander, as the base for his colony of New Scotland, or “Nova Scotia” in Latin. James I of England and VI of Scotland had granted this colony to Sir Williams Alexander by charter in 1621. The charter covered the geographical area made up today of the Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé peninsula. At this time, the French claimed part of this area as Acadia and the Aboriginal peoples knew it as Mi’kmaki. Scottish colonists occupied the fort from 1629 to 1632 when Nova Scotia was restored to France by peace treaty. Charles Fort forms part of the important story of early European colonization in Canada.

Source: Commemorative Integrity Statement.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the landscape provided a strategic location for construction of Charles Fort;
- the elevated terrace which gives a commanding view of the Annapolis River and the entrance to the river from the Annapolis Basin;
- the relationship with the Annapolis and Allain rivers provided natural barriers to attack;
- all archaeological remains, both underground and in the object collection related to Charles Fort;
- the object collection retrieved during recent archaeological investigations.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1629/01/01 to 1632/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type



Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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