Fort Sault St-Louis
Fort Sault St-Louis
Fort St-Louis National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Fort St-Louis National Historic Site of Canada is located on River Front Road in Kahnawake, Québec, within the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. The site is delineated by three bare sections of wall from the original fortification, which dates from the early 18th century, that are approximately three metres high, and adorned with two bastions pointing northwest and southwest. The original eastern wall of the fortification cannot be seen today. The Caughnawaga Mission / Mission of St. Francis Xavier National Historic Site of Canada and the Caughnawaga Presbytery National Historic Site are located in the northeast section of the fort. Official recognition refers to the footprint of the fort.
Fort St-Louis was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1930 because:
- it was erected in 1725 by the French for the protection of the Christian Iroquois.
Jesuit missionaries founded the Mission of Caughnawaga at the French colony of La Prairie in 1667 for Iroquois Christians; however, it was displaced several times before coming to rest in Kahnawake. The different migrations of the mission were the result of economic influences; the agricultural methods of the Iroquois caused the depletion of nutrients in the soil, which required them to move their village every 10 to 15 years.
The presence of an Iroquois village contributed to the importance of building a fortification in Kahnawake. While there had been proposals for a fort to be built at that location since 1720, it was not until 1725 that a wooden palissade was constructed to serve as a defence for the village and the mission. In 1747, with the threat of war, the wooden palisade was partially replaced with a fortification made of stone.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1930; 2009.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
- its location in the semi-urban city of Kahnawake, Québec;
- its setting overlooking the St. Lawrence River in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory;
- the remains of the original stone walls and bastions of the fortification;
- the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archeological remains relating to the fort, which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent;
- viewscapes across the St. Lawrence River;
- its relationship with the Caughnawaga Mission / Mission of St. Francis Xavier National Historic Site of Canada and the Caughnawaga Presbytery National Historic Site of Canada.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1747/01/01 to 1747/01/01
1754/01/01 to 1754/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection