It is hard to believe that we have been traveling the United States for 400 days. Today we are on Lake Ontario where it meets the Niagara River in Western New York.
As early as 1678 the French claimed the area of what is now Canada and Northern New York, Ohio, and Michigan. All the area around the Great Lakes. However, by 1720 the British were encroaching with their 13 colonies and claims in Canada. To protect their interests, the French wanted to build a Fort where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. This was a strategic area as the narrow river would allow the French to control who entered the river which connected to the other 4 Great Lakes.
The Iroquois Confederacy, which consisted of 5 tribes, did not want the French building forts where they lived. In 1725 the French approached the Iroquois and ask if they could build a “House of Peace” as a trading post to help them trade with the Indians. The Indians said they could.
The French built the building behind this woman who got in my shot.
It is really a fort in disguise. The building is three stories tall with thick stone walls and floor. The dormer windows are actually gun ports. They protrude from the building with a trap door so hot oil could be dropped on enemy intruders. It housed about 60 soldiers. It had a room for arms and munitions, chapel, bakery, and water well.
In 1755 the fort was expanded as tension with England grew. Ramparts were built as well as earthworks with cannon protecting the entry to the river.
In the French and Indian War, the fort fell to the British in a nineteen-day siege in July 1759. The fort remained in British hands for the next thirty-seven years.
Fort Niagara was ceded to the United States after the Treaty of Paris ended the American War of Independence in 1783. Because the new United States did not have sufficient troops to claim the area, the region remained effectively under British control for another thirteen years until US troops showed up on August 11, 1796.
On December 19, 1813, the British attacked the fort and took it from the American garrison. The conclusion of the war brought the fort back under an American Flag on May 22, 1815.