Fort Rosalie

Fort Rosalie was built by the French in 1716 within the territory of the Natchez Native Americans and it was part of the French colonial empire in the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi.

Fort Rosalie
Drawing of Fort Rosalie, on the Natchez bluff, above the Mississippi River, date unknown
LocationNatchez, Mississippi
ArchitectJean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville
Architectural stylelog-built fort with blockhouses and enclosed within a stockade
Part ofNatchez Bluffs and Under-the-Hill Historic District (#72000685)
Designated CPApril 11, 1972

Early history

As part of the peace terms that ended the Natchez War of 1716, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville required the Natchez to build the fort by providing materials and labor. Sited close to the main Natchez settlement, called the Grand Village of the Natchez, Fort Rosalie served as the primary French stronghold and trading post among the Natchez.

French settlements and tobacco plantations were established in Natchez territory, with the fort serving as the local seat of colonial government. Growing tension between the French and the Natchez erupted into violence several times during the 1720s, culminating in a massive Natchez attack on November 29, 1729.[1] They destroyed the entire French settlement, killing nearly all the men and taking hundreds of women and children captive.[2] The Natchez seized and occupied Fort Rosalie.

Retaliation by the French and allied Choctaw forces in 1730 forced the Natchez to evacuate, leaving the fort in ruins. By 1731 the French, with their more numerous Indian allies, had killed, captured, or dispersed most of the Natchez, and they ceased to exist as a tribe. The French sold surviving Natchez into slavery, many destined for French plantations in the Caribbean. Some escaped and found refuge among the Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee of the region. The French rebuilt Fort Rosalie in the early 1730s.

Fort Panmure

Following the Treaty of Paris in 1763 after the British won the Seven Years' War, the French ceded the fort and part of present-day Louisiana to British control (with New Orleans and the land west of the Mississippi River going to Spain). The British renamed the fort Fort Panmure. The British fort was named after William Maule who was the Earl of Panmure.[3]

Capture of Fort Panmure

The British controlled the fort for less than two years. The fort capitulated to Bernardo de Galvez, the Governor of Spanish Luisiana and Commander of the troops of the Catholic Majesty without any resistance soon after the Battle of Baton Rouge.[4] During the American Revolutionary War, Spain declared war against Great Britain and held control of the fort from 1779 to 1798. After 1798, the United States took over, establishing the Mississippi Territory with Natchez as its first territorial capital.


The U.S. abandoned the fort in 1804. The city of Natchez traces its origin to the founding of Fort Rosalie in 1716. Today the site of the fort is part of Natchez National Historical Park.


  1. Register, James (1969). Fort Rosalie. Mid-South Press. pp. 94–100.
  2. Register, James (1969). Fort Rosalie. Mid-South Press. pp. 102–107.
  3. Clare D'Artois Leeper (19 October 2012). Louisiana Place Names: Popular, Unusual, and Forgotten Stories of Towns, Cities, Plantations, Bayous, and Even Some Cemeteries. LSU Press. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-0-8071-4740-5.
  4. Dunbar Rowland (1907). Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form. Southern Historical Publishing Association. pp. 736–.
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