Prime Real Estate always gets a good price. In the matter of the Niagara River, gateway to the interior of the North American Continent, three major countries fought and paid with blood to control this important spot.
Travel by europeans began with the French fur trade industry, the first non-native people to travel deep into the cold upper regions of this inhospitable land. Inhospitable to those not willing to trudge along "Indian" paths and ford rocky rivers. North American was a land of abundant trees. Rivers were its highways.
What we know as Fort Niagara is at the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario, the last (or first) lake to tie into the great St. Lawrence River. (Depending if you are going with the current or against it!)
The Great lakes are central in the continent and connected all the way out to the north Atlantic, making them a most important travel route.
The current site of Fort Niagara began around 1679 when it became a small, temporary French Fort called Fort Conti. Facing a cruel winter, the soldiers left and it wasn't until 1687 that a large effort was made to build Fort Denonville. Without any reason to tough out another brutal winter, the fort was again abandoned until politics forced a permanent site. In 1726 the incredible building known as The French Castle was erected, making it a site worth fighting over. British soldiers and navy men took it over in 1759 during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years War), only to give it up again in 1796 to the new country of The United States.
But wait, there's more...
Britain gained it back in another battle during the War of 1812. They remained there from 1813-1815, then returned it to those ungrateful rebels, the U.S. Army.
This is the story of so many forts throughout North America and I imagine around the globe.
|The French Castle|
|The view from the south block house toward French Castle along the lake shore, during a reenactment weekend.|
I hope you've had a chance to read The Backcountry Brides Collection and The Captive Bride, both from Barbour Publishing, and both utilizing this tremendous historical treasure in upstate New York.
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Buy Links for The Backcountry Brides Collection
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|Wolf Pelt and Musket and Feeling Silly|