This week I would like to shine a light on Fort Charlotte, which is one of the key theaters of action in Children of the Ocean God. Fort Charlotte was the main British military stronghold in Kingstown, the capital of the Colony of St. Vincent. During the Second Carib War it was used not only as a refuge for much of the islands British population, but it was also the main military hub from which the war was orchestrated by the British. It’s strategic location, perched atop Berkshire Hill, at a height of 636 feet above sea level, on the western end of Kingstown, made it an ideal site for both defensive and offesnsive militay action.
On top of this Fort Charlotte has a fascinating story in its own right because of it’s unique design and history. It was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III. The fortress was built by the British starting in 1763, after retaking the island of St. Vincent from the French. It was in fact not completed until 1806, more than 9 years after the end of the Second Carib War. What is most striking about Fort Charlotte is that most of it’s 34 guns and cannons are pointed inland and not out to sea as would typically be expected for a coastal fort. The curious question is, why would the british do this?
The answer is an intriguing one. The British had learnt a lesson when the French invaded the island at Calliaqua in 1779. This proved that any likely attack on the island could come from any location, rather than directly on Kingstown itself or from the sea. Consequently, the fort was built as a redoubt which is accessed by a viaduct; with most of its artillery pieces pointing inland. Moreover, the construction of Fort Charlotte was not only intended to avert an attack from the French. Equally concerning was unrest from the Black Caribs and the risk posed by slave rebellions. The Black Caribs had indeed waged a previous war (the First Carib War) against the British from 1769-1773, which had ended in a stalemate so this was likely on their minds when they were building Fort Charlotte.
Fort Charlotte is also known for its spectacular views of the Leeward side of the island of St. Vincent and beyond. Apart from Kingstown, several notable islands can be seen including Young Island, Bequia and the Grenadines. So Fort Charlotte is not just an amazing historical location, but also a great sightseeing spot worth visiting if you are ever in St. Vincent. Till next time, have a great weekend!
[Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fort_Charlotte_panoramic_view.jpg The image has not been modified.]
What do you think about the design of Fort Charlotte? Do you know about any other forts with unusual layouts? Please feel free to leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.