Fortress Louisbourg, a National Historic Site, is an intimate part of the fabric of the history of Nova Scotia, involving French, English, American, and Mi'kmaq peoples and their history.
Louisbourg has been called the Gibraltar of North America and was so expensive to build, that Louis XIV of France "expected to see its walls from Paris". It is the largest historic reconstruction in North America. In 1713, Louisbourg, was settled by a French expedition relocating from Placentia, Newfoundland. By, 1740 the population reached 2500 civilians and 700 garrison personnel, a mixture of Bretons, Normans, Basques and other French, along with Germans, Swiss, Irish and Africans, plus local Mi'kmaq.
In 1744, France and Great Britain declared war on each other. In 1745 an army of 4000 New Englanders captured the Fortress after a 6-week siege and the inhabitants of the garrison were deported to France. From 1745 to 1749 New Englanders and British forces occupied the Fortress.
A 1748 treaty gave Louisbourg back to France and the French inhabitants returned. In 1758 British forces, including New Englanders, totalling 30,000 re-captured the Fortress. The French inhabitants are once again deported to France. In 1760 the British blew up the fortifications, preventing yet another return of the French.
In 1763 with the Treaty of Paris, France ceded New France to Great Britain and in 1768 the British Garrison withdrew from Louisbourg.
In 1928, Fortress Louisbourg was proclaimed a National Historic Site. Beginning in 1961 the Government of Canada began to reconstruct one-fifth of original Louisbourg, using the original blueprints to recreate identical buildings (there are more than 25 open for viewing). During your visit, you will find dozens of costumed animators who portray the residents of 1744. Period costumes and exhibits line the streets and along the busy waterfront. See how the wealthy elite lived in contrast to the very different life experienced by the poor.
In your visit to the Fortress you will see engineers, musicians, soldiers, merchants, bakers, servants and fishermen.
As an option, you may wish to have private guided tour of Louisbourg.
Following your time at Louisbourg, and as an option, you may return to your ship via the Marconi Trail. It will add additional time to you outing, but you will experience, hear, understand and see much more of Cape Breton, learning about the history, the peoples and its unique Cape Breton culture.