Fort Nashwaak

Awarded in 2008
Fort Nashwaak

The late 1600s were a nervous time. Port Royale, capital of the French territory known as Acadie, had already been lost to the British once, and the Governor of Quebec, Count Frontenac, was worried it could happen again. So he ordered the Governor of Acadie, Sieur de Villebon, to find a more secure location. In 1692, Villebon chose a snug inland spot where the Nashwaak River meets the St. John. On the southwest edge of the confluence, he built a fort he called St. Joseph but which became known as Fort Nashwaak. It was a typical 17th Century fort, with pointed, palisaded walls and four corner bastions. Inside were three other essential structures: the commandant’s quarters, soldiers’ barracks, and guardhouse. The mouth of the Nashwaak was a convenient place from which to nurture a close alliance with the native people while also mounting occasional harassments of settlements in New England. It also proved its worth as a fortress when, in 1696, it repulsed a major attack by a combined force of the British and New England settlers. Villebon, though, had plans for a new fort downriver, and it was built in 1696 near where the St. John enters the Bay of Fundy. Known as Fort Menagoeche, or Fort de la Riviere Saint-Jean, it was subsequently abandoned and re-occupied many times. The French did not return to Fort Nashwaak. Still, it was, for a brief time, the capital of Acadie.