Fort Saint Jean Baptiste
Fort Saint Jean Baptiste (1719-1819) - First established by the French in 1719 on an island in the Red River and moved twice with the final version built on the mainland in 1737. The Spanish occupied the fort 1762 as a result of France’s defeat in the French and Indian War. Site ceded to the United States by Spain in 1804 as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. Finally abandoned in 1819. Also known as Fort Natchitoches, Post of Natchitoches, Post on Cane River and Fort St. John.
French Occupation (1719-1762)
The fort was established in 1719 at a site where a French Canadian named Louis Juchereau de St. Denis had established a small trading settlement. St. Denis was commandant of the fort 1722-1744. In 1731, a Natchez Indians attack prompted the French to construct a larger and stronger fortification in a new location. The new fort was garrisoned by French marines until 1762.
Spanish Occupation (1762-1804)
Spanish occupation began with the French loss of the French & Indian War and the subsequent ceding of the Louisiana Territory from France to Spain in 1762.
United States Occupation (1804-1819)
U.S. occupation of the fort began in 1804 after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Spanish flag was lowered on 26 Apr 1804 when Lt. Edward D. Turner, 2nd U.S. Infantry, took possession for the United States. The fort was in ruins at the time and Lt. Turner ended up building a new fort, Fort Claiborne, nearby. Fort Saint Jean Baptiste was finally abandoned in June 1819.
Must see! Fort reconstructed on the west bank of the Cane River based on the original 1733 engineer François Broutin's plans. Reconstructed fort buildings include the commandant’s house, barracks, a guardhouse, bastions, and a powder magazine.
Visited: 8 Apr 2016