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Has the United States Built Forts in Other Countries?

By Kevin Hellyer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Lake Champlain in upstate New York was a hot spot during America’s fractious history with Great Britain during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The lake on the U.S. border with Canada provided a direct route into the fledgling country. After a number of fierce battles, President James Madison ordered that a fort be built on a tiny spit of land called Island Point, with 30-foot octagonal walls and 125 cannon positions -- enough firepower to blow any British ship out of the water.

But after two years of construction, beginning in 1816 and costing about $275,000, a problem was discovered. The fort was actually sitting on Canadian land. The actual border was nearly a mile south of there, earning the partially-completed structure the nickname Fort Blunder.

A bit of a blunder:

  • In 1842, American and British diplomats sat down to discuss various boundary problems. During the talks, the boundary between the U.S. and Canada was altered, putting old Fort Blunder on American soil.

  • The United States also began constructing a new fort on Island Point, naming it Fort Montgomery in honor of Revolutionary War hero General Richard Montgomery, who was killed during the 1775 invasion of Canada.

  • Over the years, scavengers picked Fort Montgomery apart, carting off bricks, lumber, and other recyclable building materials. Much of the fort was dismantled, and its massive stones were used in the construction of a new bridge across Lake Champlain.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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