A Strategic Location
Aware of the strategic importance of its First Nations allies in the St. Lawrence Valley, the government of New France encouraged its Abenaki partners to settle there. The Abenaki settlement on the Saint-François River was thus not only a mission, but also a fortified village where warriors lived with their families. The village served as a rampart against British and Iroquois incursions and protected the Abenakis and French colonists.
The fort was situated on an elevated terrace on the east bank of the Saint-François River, about 10 km from its junction with the St. Lawrence. This was a choice location for spotting the enemy from afar, should it approach from the north or the south on the river. The Saint-François’ many tributaries fostered navigation between the Yamaska, Nicolet and Richelieu rivers and between the Champlain and Magog lakes. Abenaki warriors and the French could thus cover a wide area from the fortified village.
These water routes were also used to transport military equipment and commercial goods. The low-lying terrace next to the fort provided easy canoe access. In addition, the river and its tributaries, the nearby forest, and the fertile land surrounding the village provided the population with a ready supply of food and fresh water.