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Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Northern Early America

Picture at Fort de Chartres

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site
1260 State Highway 155
Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277

For more than a century beginning in 1673, France claimed the Illinois Country, an undefined area that extended from lakes Michigan and Superior to the Ohio and Missouri rivers. French leaders hoped that the Illinois Country, which was governed from distant Canada, would be a rich source of furs and precious metals. To better exploit those riches, the French in 1718 reorganized the administration of their American possessions. The Illinois Country was removed from Canadian jurisdiction and made a part of Louisiana. Government of the vast territory was turned over to the Company of the Indies, a commercial enterprise chartered by King Louis XV. The company's power was considerable; it was granted a trade monopoly, given jurisdiction over all forts, posts, and garrisons and empowered to appoint all officials. In December 1718 the newly organized government at New Orleans sent a contingent of army officers, government officials, company employees, mining engineers, workmen, and soldiers to establish civil government in the Illinois Country. French leaders also hoped that a military presence would pacify the Fox Indians, whose frequent attacks put great pressure on French villages. Workmen soon began constructing a wooden fort on the Mississippi River eighteen miles north of Kaskaskia.

French officials named their stockade Fort de Chartres in honor of Louis duc de Chartres, son of the regent of France. The fort was completed in 1720. More

Hours

Closed on the following holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Thursday thru Sunday

They are generally open all year round with the exception of holidays.

Communities and Related Links
Fort de Chartres Web Site
Illinois Visitors
In the 1840's Fort Crawford was involved with the removal of the Winnebago from this area, but the frontier had moved faster than anyone predicted. Fort Crawford closed in 1856 and the last US troops left.

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Further reading