This week, our Travel pics series has been F for Fort-de-France.
Our final picture is Fort Royal. You mean Fort Edward? No, Fort Royal. Are you sure it’s not Fort de la Republique? No, it’s Fort Saint Louis, I tell you!
Confused? Don’t be – I will explain, I promise!
The naval base and fort at what is now Fort-de-France was first built in 1638, and named Fort Royal by the then governor.
But it was destroyed and then rebuilt in 1669, as a ‘detached’ fort – separate from, but responsible for the protection of, the nearby town of Fort Royal.
Over the ensuing years, it came under attack a number of times – first against the Dutch (who were repulsed) and then the British (who took the fort by taking the hills behind it, and then bombarding the facility).
After they took control, the British renamed it Port Edward – but when they were forced out of Martinique by the Treaty of Paris, the fort (and its nearby town) were returned to Port Royal.
Then in 1793, in a fit of revolutionary zeal, both were renamed Fort De La Republique.
About a year later, Britain took advantage of the chaos France found itself in – and again attacked and conquered Martinique. And again, they changed the name – to Fort Edward.
Three years later, France is back in charge – and this time, THEY renamed the fort to Fort Saint Louis.
But apparently the residents of the town didn’t much favour that name – so the city became Fort-de-France, while the military base remains Fort Saint Louis.
Today, Fort Saint Lewis is both a working naval base and a historical site – and the four metre high, two metre thick walls which were first built in the 17th century still stand – as you can see in today’s picture.