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College of Extended Learning

About the Fortress of Louisbourg

Established in 1713, Louisbourg was initially an important French fishing port in the North Atlantic and then evolved into a military stronghold, transhipment centre, and the capital of Ile Royale in the 1720s. By the middle of the 18th century, Louisbourg consisted of a 60 acre fortress with additional coastal defences and a harbour lined with fishing concessions for the lucrative cod trade. Louisbourg was successfully besieged twice, first by a New Englander force in 1745 and then by a massive British force in 1758. The second siege marked the end for Louisbourg, as the British decided to destroy the fortifications in 1760.

Rochefort Point, a narrow peninsula extending just beyond the east gate of the Fortress, was the primary burial ground for the inhabitants of Louisbourg after c.1739; however, sea level rise and coastal erosion have greatly narrowed this strip of land and the burial ground is at risk.

Efforts to manage coastal erosion impacts at Louisbourg has prompted this long-term rescue excavation and analysis of these burials.