Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada

Cultural Heritage

History

The commemorative intent of Fort Beauséjour National Historic Site of Canada is to commemorate the role of the Fort in the struggle between France and Britain, and subsequently between Britain and the American colonies, for North America, 1751-1783.

At Fort Beauséjour National Historic Site, you will step back in time to an era when England and France were caught up in a tug-of-war for supremacy in Acadia. You will also learn about the origins and history of the area's inhabitants.

The Isthmus of Chignecto, the land bridge between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has been a focus of overland travel routes for centuries for the area's Aboriginal peoples and the Europeans who followed.

In the middle years of the 18th century, a small river called the Missaquash traversed the area and served as a frontier between the imperial forces of England and France.

Overview of the fort's ramparts and soldiers' barracks in the foreground. In the background a panoramic view of the Bay of Fundy and the Tantramar marshlands.
Overview of the fort's ramparts and soldiers' barracks.
© Parks Canada

Fort Beauséjour was built by the French in 1751 to defend their interests in the region and to counterbalance the construction of the British Fort Lawrence built a year previously in the area. After four years of an uneasy stalemate, the Fort fell to British and colonial forces after a two-week siege in June 1755. It played a role in the Deportation of the Acadians in the late 1750s and early 1760s.

The fort was renamed Fort Cumberland after it was captured by the British in 1755. A generation later, in 1776 during the early stages of the American Revolution, dozens of disgruntled English-speaking inhabitants of the Chignecto region and beyond, along with smaller numbers of Acadians, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Mi'kmaq, joined a group of American patriots to attack Fort Cumberland. The British soldiers successfully defended the fort, dispersing the rebels and capturing many of them. Reinforced for the War of 1812, it was abandoned in 1835 and declared a national historic site in 1926.

For a more comprehensive history of Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada please click on the above image.

This publication/booklet offers an overview of the colourful past that occurred within and near Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada, both when it was known as the French fort at Beauséjour and when it defended British interests and was called Fort Cumberland. The basic elements of the story communicated are:

  • Acadians first settled in the region in the 1670s;
  • the French erected a fort atop Beauséjour ridge in 1750-51, to protect strategic interests in the Chignecto Isthmus;
  • British and New England troops captured the fort from the French after a siege in June 1755;
  • The Nova Scotia council used the limited Acadian participation in the defence of Fort-Beauséjour as one of the reasons to begin a Deportation of Acadians in the Chignecto region in 1755;
  • and under the name of Fort Cumberland, this same fort witnessed a British garrison rout a rebel force from the United States under Jonathan Eddy on November 1776.

To access the content of this booklet please click on the image of the booklet above Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland Une Histoire / A history

NOTE-This publication is available in the museum boutique at Fort Beauséjour -Fort Cumberland National Historic Site For information, E-mail Fort beauséjour-Fort CumberlandNHSC: (fort.beausejour@pc.gc.ca)