Fort Charlotte, the largest fort in Nassau was named in honor of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. It is made of solid rock and actually consists of three forts: Fort Charlotte, the eastern section, Ft. Stanley the middle section and Ft. D'Arcy the western section. The fort is surrounded by a dry moat, has several underground passageways and 42 cannons. Located on a hill overlooking Arawak Cay, Fort Charlotte commands an impressive view of Paradise Island and the Nassau harbour.
Lord Dunmore who was named Governor of The Bahamas in 1787, immediately set out to strengthen the defenses of Nassau with the construction of Fort Charlotte and Fort Fincastle. He had been previously Governor of Virginia at the start of the revolution and perhaps he wanted this time to be better prepared to face an adversary. Fort Charlotte was manned for most of its occupied years by the West Indian Regiment.
Despite a war with France 1793 and a war with the United States in 1812, the capital of the British colony was never attacked, probably because of the insurmountable defense that deterred any potential invader. As a result the two forts never fired a gun in battle.
An interesting feature of the fort are the many graffiti left by the soldiers on the interior walls. These were carved into the stone walls to alleviate boredom and to affirm the soldiers’ presence in the event they died from tropical disease such as malaria and yellow fever.
See more pictures in the Fort Charlotte Gallery
How to get there
The fort is about one mile west from downtown. Walking will take you about 25 minutes. Take West Bay Street, past Junkanoo Beach and turn left on Marcus Bethel Way. The fort is at the top of the hill. Alternatively you can take the Jitney (local bus) #10 at the corner of George Street with Bay Street or in front of the downtown Mc Donald’s. The fare is $1.25 per person (exact change preferred) and paid upon exiting the Jitney. Let the driver know in advance where you are going. It will drop you off at the bottom of the hill at Marcus Bethel Way.
Open seven days a week from 8 am to 4 pm (except on holidays), admission is just $1 per person and tour guides (working for tips) are available on site to provide a complete history of the fort.
Fort Charlotte walking directions