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A Survey Of French Fortifications In The New World,1530–1650

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Chapter Summary

Fortifications were inextricably linked with colonial settlement, administration, economy, and relations with Native Americans. This chapter reviews the physical evidence for the earliest French fortifications in the New World and explores how their design and use responded to a range of New World conditions. Before Vauban, fortification design was less formulaic and spoke directly to the imminent concerns of builders. In colonial America these included: 1) defense against both European artillery and indigenous peoples armed with traditional weapons; 2) protection of populations and structures rarely found in Europe such as trading posts, missions, and frontier settlements; 3) construction in a tabula rasa devoid of European infrastructure such as roads, quarries, and mines; 4) perennial lack of financial resources and labor. These issues are considered in the study of French fortifications constructed in Canada, Brazil, Florida, and the Caribbean between 1530 and 1650.

Keywords: Brazil; Canada; Caribbean; Florida; French fortifications



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