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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


Extracts of Matters of Historical Interest from "The Huissier, News For and About the Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff" By The Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff


(August 18, 2002)

Trade Patterns of Louisbourg
by Sandy Balcom

In the main Louisbourg's trading vessels shuttled goods between the port's major trading partners - France, the French Caribbean, New England, Quebec and Acadia. While the overall flow of goods was triangular between Europe, North America and the Caribbean, Louisbourg's portion of this trade was distinctly shuttle in nature. Vessels typically sailed between Louisbourg and one of its trading partners rather than following the triangular flow of goods in single extended voyage.

The port’s trade was not equally proportioned among its different markets. As the average vessel size varied between the different routes, average annual tonnage per market gives a more accurate picture of the relative importance for the different trade routes than does the average number of vessels.

We have relatively good information for vessel arrivals at Louisbourg for five of the years between 1733 and 1743. Allowing for some discrepancies in the figures for individual years, the average annual tonnage arrivals for Louisbourg's different trading partners during these years are:

  Major commodities:

Trading Partner

To Louisbourg

From Louisbourg


Food, Cloth, Manufactures

Dried Fish

New England

Lumber, Bricks, Food

Sugar, Molasses, Rum

French Caribbean

Sugar, Molasses, Rum

Dried Fish

Canada (Quebec)

Flour, Dried Vegetables

Manufactures, Sugar, etc.


Cattle, Sheep

Manufactures, Sugar,

  etc. Ñ