Four forts

Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site

The first fort

The first fort to occupy the top of the cliff at Quebec City was the one Champlain constructed in 1620. It consisted of a few wooden buildings surrounded by a palisade.

The second fort

Champlain began expanding his facilities in 1626. This second fort was surrounded by ramparts of wood and soil.

The third fort

The third fort was constructed in 1636 by Charles Huault de Montmagny, who covered the second fort's earthen ramparts with stonework. Construction lasted 24 years, finishing in 1660.

Description of the fort, Quebec 1635 Description of the fort, Quebec 1635 by Jean Bourdon.
© Library and Archives Canada, H12/340, Quebec 1635

The fourth fort

Governor Frontenac undertook in 1692 construction of the fourth Saint-Louis fort following admiral Phips' siege of Quebec. The enceinte was completed in 1693 and would not change until 1759, when the British army once again attacked Quebec. From the late 1680s to the end of the French regime, the Saint-Louis fort sheltered a small garrison of at most 25 men as well as the governor's personal guard of 17 soldiers.

In 1762, governor Murray indicated that the Saint-Louis fort no longer had a defensive value. It was therefore not strengthened. Only the part overlooking the cliff was stabilized.

Instead, from 1779 to 1783, during the American War of Independence, British soldiers constructed a temporary citadelle on Cap Diamant where the current Citadelle is located. The Saint-Louis fort therefore lost its defensive function. In 1782, the cannon balls stored in its court were moved to the temporary citadelle.

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