Fort Rupert, or T'sakis
Fort Rupert is on the southeast shore of Beaver Harbour, which is on northeast Vancouver Island. Captain McNeill superintended the fort's construction, with assistance from George Blenkinsop, his second in command, in 1849.1
Fort Rupert was named after Prince Rupert (1619-82), famed most, perhaps, for his larger claim of Rupert's Land. Coal deposits in the area drove the fort's construction more so than the HBC's push for a trading post—by the time the first coal shaft had sunk, richer deposits drew extraction interests southward, particularly near present-day Nanaimo.2
Once Fort Rupert was built, a number of Kwagiulth people settled nearby, in the present-day community of T'sakis.3 Today, the term Kwakiutl applies to only those from T'sakis; along with other groups in the area, the Kwakiutl are part of the Kwakwaka'wakw—people who speak Kwakwala.4 In 1889, the fort burned down, and now only a rubbled chimney marks the presence of the original Fort Rupert.5
  • 1. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1971), 185.
  • 2. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 513-514.
  • 3. Scott, Raincoast Placenames, 513.
  • 4. Kwakiutl in Fort Rupert: A Short History, Kwakiutl Indian Band.
  • 5. Scott, Raincoast Placenames, 514.
Mentions of this place in the documents