A Guide to Sites, Museums, and Memory

Fort Fleur-d’Epée Guadeloupe, France

Entrance of Fort Fleur-d'Épée, Guadeloupe
Entrance to Fort Fleur-d’Epée, Guadeloupe.

Fort Fleur-d'Epée was built in 1763 to defend the bay of Pointe-à-Pitre against English attacks. In 1760, it was only a minor fort and was hastily consolidated for defense against English occupation. In 1794, the fort saw fierce battles between English and French troops.

The island was under English rule when, on May 6, 1794, Victor Hugues and Pierre Chrétien, Commissioners of the French National Convention, who were in charge of enforcing the abolition of slavery in the French colonies as proclaimed on February 4, 1794, landed at Pointe Salines, some ten kilometers southeast of Pointe-à-Pitre. General Grey had occupied the town since April 10, together with Fort Fleur-d'Epée, which guarded the eastern access. At that time, the fort was a semi-fortified mound without any ramparts on one of its sides. On June 3, Republican troops took the fort and marched into Pointe-à-Pitre on June 6.

Taking the fort was a turning point in the fight by Republican troops to regain the island. For three months, some 3,000 freed slaves, now soldiers, would play a major part in France successfully regaining power over Guadeloupe. Slavery was re-established by Napoleon Bonaparte on July 16, 1802.

Fort Fleur-d'Epée is part of the Slave Route—Traces of Memory network organized by the Conseil Général of Guadeloupe.


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