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Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) National Historic Site of Canada

Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1924/06/04

View of the cairn commemorating Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) National Historic Site of Canada.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Saint Joseph
Fort Saint-Joseph

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1691/01/01 to 1692/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) National Historic Site of Canada is marked by a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque located in Carleton Park, near the intersection of Union Street and Gibson Street in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Although there are no extant remains or known archaeological evidence of this fort, it was once a typical French fort of the 17th century, with a palisade made of timber piles and diamond shaped bastions. The fort had been constructed at the mouth of the Nashwaak River where it flows into the Saint John River, about 700 metres south of where the plaque is found today. Official recognition refers to the plaque surrounded by a five metre radius.

Heritage Value

Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1924 because:
- erected in 1692 and abandoned in 1698, from this fort the French directed many raids against New England, one of which resulted in the capture of Fort William Henry at Pemaquid in August 1696.

Constructed by the Governor of New France, Joseph Robineau de Villebon, during the winter of 1691-1692, Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) served to stabilize the New England-Acadia boundary, and prevented annexation of the French colony by the English. From the fort, the French, with the help of the Abenakis, organized and launched various raids against New England settlements. During a summer 1696 raid, a French force under de Villebon and his brother attacked and captured Fort William Henry. Though the English retaliated by attacking Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) by way of the Saint John River, the seige failed and was lifted after two days. In 1698, de Villebon was ordered by the King to build a new fort at the mouth of the Saint John River and Fort Nashwaak (Naxoat) was demolished. The site and any archaeological evidence has subsequently been washed away due to erosion.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1924, 1925, 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its location in a landscape along the historic Acadian-New England boundary;
- its relationship with the Saint John and Nashwaak rivers, which provided natural barriers to attack;
- the plaque’s relationship to the fort’s original location, which lies 700 metres south of the plaque at the north-eastern tip of the intersection of the Saint John and Nashwaak rivers;
- the integrity of any as yet unidentified archaeological remains relating to the fort which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent.




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)

1692/01/01 to 1698/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

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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