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salcc historical fortAfter the French had transferred their main fort from Vigie to Morne Fortune (St. Lucia) in 1768, the island became the focal point of dispute between the British and French who struggled desperately for the possession of the island.

Four battles were fought on Morne Fortune, viz in 1778, 1794, 1796 and 1803.  These wars were fought on and for Morne Fortune, because it was the chief fort and to hold it was to hold St. Lucia.

 

The battle of 1778 started when the British troops invaded St. Lucia in December that year.  Britain and France were at war - The war of American Independence and France had joined the war on the side of the Americans - and Britain, acting on Admiral Rodney's advice sent troops to capture the island.  The British landed at Cul-de-Sac bay, forced their way up the Morne, attacked the small garrison left there and forced them to surrender.  They thus became the masters of St. Lucia. However, this ownership was short-lived for St. Lucia was finally ceded to France in 1784 by the "Treaty of Versailles."

In 1794, another war hit the Morne.  Britain and France were again at war and the British troops invaded St. Lucia.  The war started in 1793 and reached St. Lucia a year later.  All that the British Constitutional Monarch stood for was opposing the Republicanism of the French Revolution.

After capturing Martinique in 1794, the British troops landed in St. Lucia and seized Morne Fortune.  On that occasion, Queen Victoria's father - H.R.H. Duke of Kent - landed at Marigot des Rosseaux with his Grenadiers, marched to Morne Fortune and finally raised the British colours on the French Fort on the 4th April.

In 1796, the Battle was also the outcome of an invasion by the British that year.  They had been forced to evacuate St. Lucia by the forces of Revolution in 1795, but returned in May 1796 with great strength, determined to reoccupy and hold the island.  Troops were landed at Cap, Choc Bay and Anse La Raye and they all converged on the Morne.  After a terrific struggle, the French finally surrendered to the British on 26th May, 1796.

The British troops under the leadership of Sir Ralph Abercrombie saw 2,000 Republicans put down their arms and marched out as prisoners or war.  Then the island was again handed back to France in 1802 by the Treaty of Amiems.

The peace in 1802 which seemed to be there to stay did not last very long for was was again declared in 1803.  The British troops invaded St. Lucia in June of the previous year landing at Choc.  They received no opposition and asked the French Commander to surrender.  He refused and retreated to the fort on the Morn.  The Britons stormed the stronghold and the French finally gave up.  The fort was captured at the point of the bayonet.  This 1803 battle was to be the last to be fought on the Morne and in St. Lucai.  It brought an end to the period of blood shed between Britain and France for the "Helen of the West" a name which St. Lucia gained for her rare beauty and the fatal consequences it brought.

Reference: Vertical Files Morne Fortune - History #6, Hunter J. Francois Library, Morne Fortune, St. Lucia

"The fundamental cure for poverty is not money, but knowledge."

Sir William Arthur Lewis

Sir William Arthur Lewis
(Our island's first of two Nobel Laureates)

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