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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada



Microfiche Report Series 83


Margaret Fortier


Fortress of Louisbourg

Part One - Louisbourg - The Land and its Utilization

Louisbourg - Crops and Livestock

 Crops and Livestock

Fortress Site and Environs 

Louis Chancels de Lagrange visited the port of Louisbourg in 1716. Though he noted that no farming was carried on in the colony, he claimed that the land around the harbour was capable of producing a wide variety of grains and vegetables. [1] It was a unique assessment of Louisbourg's agricultural capabilities which, to just about everyone else, were nil. Louisbourg is repeatedly described as an unfertile, unproductive place. [2] No hay, oats or grain was attempted in the Rochefort Point and fauxbourg areas, and there is no known reference to any of the garden produce.

One plant presumed to have been cultivated at Louisbourg is angelica, which continues to thrive today. According to a study done in 1978 by the research branch of Agriculture Canada, the type of angelica found at Lousibourg, Angelica sylvestris L, is indigenous to Europe and found nowhere else in North America. There are no historical references to the cultivation or use of angelica from the French period, but it would appear that they did bring the plant with them from France. Angelica was highly regarded in the 18th century for its medicinal value and was also used in food preparation.[3]

Livestock and poultry were kept by most Louisbourg residents. However, for the Rochefort Point and fauxbourg areas the only references which have come to light are:

Harbour Area 

At a trial in 1742 soldier's accused of trying to steal one of Fizel's sheep testified that they had cut hay at the Vielle Intendance, as De Mezy's property was known. At the time of the crime they were on their way to spend the night on the land Muiron had leased from St. Ovide where they would cut hay the next day. [6] There are no other specific references to crops grown in the harbour area.

Many people kept livestock for their own use, and possibly for sale. Besides those previously mentioned in connection with the menageries, the records include reference to the following:

A dispute between Petitpas and Detcheverry over a heifer indicates that she was one of several animals kept by Petitpas, but nothing specific is mentioned. The animal in question had a long red coat with a black snout. She was easily recognizable since she had only five udders - four large and one small. [12]