Quick Facts

Location:
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Significance:
one of the oldest extant European fortifications in the New World
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes
Construction of Fort Salé was started by the British in 1641 and eventually finished by the Dutch in 1642, making the earthwork one of the oldest extant European fortifications in the New World. This triangular-shaped earthen fort sits at the western entrance to Salt River Bay, adjacent to the prehistoric Amerindian village and ballcourt/ plaza complex, providing a strategic location for competing European colonial interests in the Caribbean. Fort Salé and the surrounding settlement became an important center of colonizing efforts by a number of European powers on the Island of St. Croix, until the focus of shipping and settlement moved to Christiansted during the French occupation in the 1650s. The earthen embankments that compose the fort still contain undisturbed archeological materials and its unique defensive shape and ramparts are still evident on the landscape.

Last updated: August 23, 2018