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Fort St-Louis National Historic Site of Canada

Kahnawake, Quebec, J0L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1930/05/16

General view of Fort St-Louis, showing the remains of the original stone walls and bastions of the fortification, 1969.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1969.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Fort Sault St-Louis
Fort Sault St-Louis
Fort St-Louis
Fort St-Louis
Fort St-Louis National Historic Site of Canada

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1725/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/09/11

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.

Heritage Value

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.

Character-Defining Elements

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.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1930/05/16

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1747/01/01 to 1747/01/01
1754/01/01 to 1754/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Defence
Military Defence Installation
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mission

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

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

623

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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