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Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada

Natural Wonders & Cultural Treasures

The First Inhabitants

Old map showing the forts along the Richelieu, the Hudson and the St.Laurent rivers.
Map of the forts of New France.
© Parks Canada / François Pellerin / 87-G-D6

Île aux Noix has been occupied for nearly 6000 years. During the prehistoric period, the region falling between Missisquoi Bay, Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and the mouth of the Rivière du Sud, just to the north of île aux Noix, was visited by Amerindian nomads, who settled at this location on a regular, seasonal basis. The island is located at the confluence of several rivers and brooks; it thus offered a choice hunting and fishing site. In addition, the bluff at the southern tip of the island provided occupants with a degree of safety.

Following the arrival of the Europeans, the trade route formed by Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River became the theatre of military activities. By the early 18th century, skirmishes had already erupted around Lake George (New York) in relation to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). From that time on, île aux Noix's strategic position would mean the island would play an increasingly important role in defending the country. However, it was during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) that the island truly earned its place in history books.