Louisbourg has always depended on the sea. The earliest recorded European visit to the harbour was by the English in 1597. Recognizing the economic and military potential of Louisbourg’s harbour and fishery, Louis XIV secured it for France in 1713 by constructing a well-fortified, walled city. Louisbourg, the Dunkirk of America, was the third busiest seaport on the continent during the 18th century.
Because of its strategic position, the fortress was successfully besieged by New England troops in 1745 and by British troops in 1758. But people who made their livelihoods from the sea continued to dwell in this rugged coastal area. Over the centuries local industries have included coal shipping, swordfishing, lobster, crab, and cod fishing and processing, and, of course, tourism plays a large part in the economy of the area.
In the 1960s reconstruction began on the fortress ruins, and it became the largest reconstruction project in North America. Today it is the masterpiece in Parks Canada’s portfolio. (read longer version)