Fort Bourbon

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Fort Bourbon
at Grand Rapids, Manitoba where the Saskatchewan River enters Lake Winnipeg
Coordinates Latitude:
Built 1741
In use 1741-1758
Controlled by France

Fort Bourbon was one of the forts built by La Vérendrye during his expansion of trade and exploration west from Lake Superior. Besides providing support for the important fur trade in what is now Manitoba, La Vérendrye wanted to conduct exploration of potential routes for what he believed was an interior western sea.

The name "Fort Bourbon" was also given to York Factory, Manitoba while it was occupied by the French.

First Fort Bourbon was at the mouth of the Saskatchewan River on Lake Winnipeg. The youngest La Vérendrye son, Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye, led an initial exploration to the area in 1737. An epidemic of smallpox thwarted the mission. In 1740 Louis-Joseph had a successful trip exploring the Saskatchewan River to a short distance west of Cedar Lake and mapping the site for the first Fort Paskoya at the west end of Cedar Lake. On his return toward Lake Winnipeg, he mapped the area and established a site for the first Fort Bourbon. The map of 1740 indicated a site between the Grand Rapids and Lake Winnipeg, on the northern shore of the Saskatchewan or White River. In 1741, the elder La Vérendrye sent an expedition of men to establish the fort.

Second Fort Bourbon: Fort Bourbon was moved upstream at an uncertain date. It was probably[1] at the inflow of the Saskatchewan into Cedar Lake, the same location as first Fort Paskoya. In 1758, when the French withdrew from the west during the French and Indian War, it was plundered and burned. In 1777 Todd&McGill had a post about a mile and a half upstream.


  1. Elizabeth Browne Losey,"Let Them be Remembered:The Story of the Fur Trade Forts",1999,page 60

Coordinates: 53°11′09″N 99°15′45″W / 53.1857°N 99.2625°W / 53.1857; -99.2625

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