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The Northern Fortress


Abandoned Battlements


- Manitoba

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When the Hudson Bay company was formed in 1672 and began to trade for furs in North America it's Royal charter stated that it was granted all of the land with waters that ran into the Hudson Bay. The strategic positioning of trading posts at the mouths of the main rivers was the first step which the HBC took.

In 1717 James Knight  established the Churchill River post for the HBC on the west bank of the Churchill River. This post was a log fort, In 1719 the post was given the new name of Prince of Wales Post. In 1731 construction of the large stone fort began on Eskimo Point and continued for hundreds of years but was never truly finished. 42 gun emplacements were built and a battery was built on the other side of the river at Cape Merry in order to bombard any attackers from both sides.

Fort Prince of Wales only saw battle once when in 1782 three French warships appeared, during the American Revolution, under the command of Jean Francois de La Perouse, appeared and demanded that the fort surrender. The HBC governor of the fort, the great explorer, Samuel Hearne, understood that he would not be able to resist with just 22 men and turned the fort over to the French.

The terms of the peace treaty returned the fort to Britain but it's use as a strategic position became less and less relevant as the years went by.

Today it is maintained and operated by Parks Canada and offers many exhibits at the fort and in Churchill which depict life under the HBC and the fur trade.


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