|Copyright 2008 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Fort Crevecoeur - Port St. Joe, Florida
Prior to its transfer from Spain to the United States in 1821,
Florida was contested by three major European nations.
Spain, England and France all attempted the conquest of parts
of the colony.
France was involved in the settlement of Florida as early as
1564 when Fort Caroline was established at present-day
Jacksonville. The Spanish destroyed this effort, however, but
150 years later the French tried again, this time in Northwest
After establishing settlements at Biloxi, New Orleans and
Mobile, the French sent an expedition to St. Joseph Bay in
1717. There, near the site of today's Port St. Joe, they
constructed a fort in an effort to extend their influence into the
The new outpost, named Fort Crevecoeur ("Broken Heart"),
stood on the north shore of the bay opposite the point of St.
Joseph Peninsula. Constructed just far enough inland to be
concealed from the view of ships in the bay by sand dunes and
trees, the rectangular fort was built of logs and earth and
included bastions on each corner for added strength.
Armed with artillery and garrisoned with a small force of French
troops, Fort Crevecoeur was the strongest military outpost
between Pensacola and St. Augustine.
The Spanish objected to the presence of the fort immediately
upon learning of its presence. After considering the situation
and deciding that the outpost on St. Joseph Bay was not worth
fighting over, the French ordered the abandonment of Fort
Crevecoeur and concentrated their efforts in Louisiana. The
stockade was burned during the same year it was constructed
and the French soldiers sailed away.
Although speculation through the years has placed the site of
Fort Crevecoeur somewhere in the Mexico Beach vicinity,
recent study has located the possible site of the outpost near
the bay much closer to Port St. Joe.
A historic marker interpreting the history of the French
settlement can be found at Mexico Beach and there is an
exhibit on the fort at the Constitutional Convention State
Museum in Port St. Joe.
Fort Crevecoeur: Port St. Joe's French Fort
|St. Joseph Bay
The French came to St. Joseph Bay in 1717
seeking to extend their colony east from Mobile to
offset Spanish expansion int he region.
|The entrance of St. Joseph Bay
This view looks out into the Gulf of Mexico through
the entrance to St. Joseph Bay. Fort Crevecoeur
was constructed on the inland side of the bay.