Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust

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Fort Charlotte

As Admiral Nelson’s fleet went into battle against Napoleon’s Navy, thousands of miles away, in Kingstown a fort was being constructed using slave labour. Completed in 1806, Fort Charlotte was named after the wife of King George III and appears to be a conventional Napoleonic era fort, guarding the harbour of Kingstown. But there is something unusual about the fort on the hill - its guns all point inland.


The reason for this is because the commanders of the garrison were not worried about a naval invasion by a European power. They were worried about the Black Caribs – the descendants of the indigenous population and shipwrecked of escaped slaves. These fearsome tribes controlled the interior of St Vincent and had caused mayhem in 1779 when they had allied with a French invasion force. While the French landed at Calliaqua, the Balck Caribs, under the leadership of Chief Chattoyér, tore through the settlements of St Vincent, burning sugar plantations, overrunning the colony’s weak defenses and seeking vengeance for atrocities committed by white settlers. The French successfully took St Vincent but Chattoyér was killed in the action, possibly in a duel with a certain Major Leith, who is buried in the Anglican Cathedral far below the fort.


It was a repeat of 1779 that the British had in mind when they commissioned Fort Charlotte. A series of paintings in the old bakery of the site tells this Story of Chattoyér and the Black Caribs.


600ft above the bay, the views from the parapets of Fort Charlotte are breathtaking, on a clear day being able to see the Grenadine islands and Grenada to the South. Below lies the small but fast-paced city of Kingstown with the ferries to Bequia coming and going from the opposite side of the bay.


The fort is accessible by road but the walk up is breathtaking and takes about half an hour.


Don’t miss:


• The pool on the rocks below, used for bathing lepers in the 19th century


• The signal station above the gate


• The views of Mount St Andrews and the interior

Opening Times:

Monday to Friday 8:00AM-3:pm

Open on weekends if a cruiseship is in port

Admission Price:

$5 EC entry ($2US)


$20 EC entry with guided tour (on public holidays and other occasions) ($8US)


Seating and shade

Getting there:

From the back street of Kingstown the road snakes up battery hill, towards Edinboro. the Fort is at the top.


Can be reached by Taxi or by walking.