Located on Mount Pleasant, Vieux Fort or “Old Fort” was built by France in 1662 to help fortify the colony in Plaisance or Placentia (see map in the accompanying images which identifies the various forts and fortifications in the Placentia area).
An earlier map completed in 1675 (see accompanying images) may not be reflective of reality, as we know it. Still, it helps to locate the fort. And inadvertently, it may also provide a sense of the ideological bent of a state seeking to encompass what was becoming an increasingly valuable holding in the so-called New World. The objective was to control this part of the new world.
Vieux Fort was used until approximately 1685 when it was abandoned and left unoccupied (Crompton 2003). According to Jean Pierre Proulx in The Military History of Plaisance: A Study of the French Fortifications, (p.14), 1662 saw le Comte de ("the Count of") Plaisance, Nicholas Gargot de la Roche, sending Thalour du Perron to Plaisance with "30 soldiers and some settlers." Hence, every indication was that Vieux Fort was intended for occupation. Still, there are many questions.
And in recent years, archaeologists have sought to expand our understanding of this fortification and to answer some of these questions. Led by Amanda Crompton, archaeologists have excavated the area and found a large, stone-walled structure (23 x 7m) within the fort. Consisting of two rooms, each warmed by fireplaces, evidence suggested that the structure must have been a residence for military personnel or perhaps a barracks.
In any case, Vieux Fort is yet another structure that helps to animate the history of the Placentia area. Moreover, it cements in our minds the role that Placentia played in the world. It was a world characterised by powers who sought control over the assets of what eventually became Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hours Open: All day
Time Period Represented: Seventeenth Century
Seasons Open: All seasons
Visitor Fees: No fees
Vieux Fort is located on Mount Pleasant. Visitors would have to cross the Northeast Arm and hike to a location near the top of this elevation.