The Prince of Wales Fort is a historic Bastion fort on Hudson Bay across the Churchill River from Churchill, Manitoba.
The European history of this area starts with the discovery of Hudson Bay in 1610. The area was recognized as important in the fur trade and of potential importance for other discoveries. The fort is built in a European 'star' shape.
The first wooden fort was built in 1717 by James Knight of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and was originally called the 'Churchill River Post'. In 1719, the post was renamed Prince of Wales Fort, but is more commonly known today as Fort Prince of Wales. It was located on the west bank of the Churchill river to protect and control the Hudson's Bay Company's interests in the fur trade.
The original wooden fort was replaced by a massive stone fort, perhaps to abide by the Royal Charter which required that Rupert's Land should be fortified. Construction of this fort, a structure still standing today, was started in 1731 near what was then called Eskimo Point. It was in the form of a square, with sides 100 metres long and walls six metres tall and 10 metres thick at the base.
It had forty-two cannons mounted on the walls. There was also a battery across the river on Cape Merry meant to hold six more cannons. Work on the fort continued almost without break until 1771, but it was never truly completed.
In the 1780s, the French government launched a 'Hudson Bay Expedition' to damage HBC activities in that bay. Three French warships of the Expedition, led by Jean-François de La Pérouse, captured the Prince of Wales Fort in 1782. The fort was manned by only 39 (non-military) men at the time, and the fort's Governor, Samuel Hearne, recognised the numerical and military imbalance and surrendered without a single shot being fired. The French partially destroyed the fort (but its mostly-intact ruins survive to this day).
The fort returned to the HBC in 1783. Thereafter, its importance waned with the decline in the fur trade although the post was refounded a little way up the river. The remains of these buildings still stand in the Fort, although none of them are intact, with roofs long since deteroriated.
After the construction of the Hudson Bay Railway to Churchill was completed in 1929, railway labour and railway construction equipment was used to restore the fort. Restoration work was also performed in the late 1950s. Archaeological investigations at and around the fort began in 1958.
Since 2005, Parks Canada archaeologists have been working in and around the fort in conjunction with a large-scale wall stabilization work and a fort interpretation program.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.