Soldiers of the Atlantic Seaboard


France was not totally ousted from its possessions on the Atlantic by the Treaty of Utrecht because it maintained its sovereignty over he Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island) and Cape Breton Island, which was officially renamed Île Royale. In 1713, the four companies from Acadia were united with the three from Placentia to form the Compagnies franches de la Marine of Île Royale. Each comprised three officers and 50 soldiers. This number increased later, but as in other cases, full strength was rarely achieved because recruits were hard to find.

From a strategic point of view, Île Royale was better located than Île Saint-Jean. It was therefore decided to locate the new colony here, including a large military port to protect fishing and merchant vessels. In 1719, Louisbourg was chosen as the site of a naval base and a strongly fortified port. Although a prosperous little French colony, living essentially from fishing and agriculture, remained on Île Saint Jean and in a few other small settlements on Île Royale, most of the French colony on the Atlantic was henceforth concentrated at Louisbourg. As the years passed, massive fortifications were built, and the vast majority of troops on Île Royale came to be stationed at Louisbourg. The garrison included not only Frenchmen but also, eventually, Swiss mercenaries.