French annexation and construction of the Fort
This little town as the rest of the area has for centuries underwent throughseveral dominations: Aragon, Majorca, French. To the almost incessant wars there was also many other nuisances(inundation, epidemic). The plague killed many people during the sixteenth century. In addition to all this, there was a political climate in which the people did not participate but suffered the consequences.
Catalunya, first oppressed by the Spanish absolute monarchy returnedto a French occupation after the conquest of Perpignan in 1645 by Louis XIV’s army. The annexation of Roussillon by France became a reality with the Treaty of Pyrenees in 1659 under Louis XIV’s reign.
The tower built on the peak was demolished in 1668 to make way to the current Fort. This work was made by M. Saint-Hilaire, the very same engineer who had fortified Fort Bellegarde. Vauban contemptuously called his work a gentry and only made minor improvements to the work already done. It’s a small square Fort, fortified on 80 meters outside. It could easily worry an enemy who penetrated into the valley. The fort was part of several glorious events that will be discussed later
The Glory Days of Fort-Les-Bains
The reign of the Sun King in our province was marked by the creation of the Sovereign Council which has its headquarters in Perpignan. Its first act was to register the Constitutions of Catalonia which governed the country. The salt tax was established in 1662 and applied strictly. Disturbance broke out in Vallespire in June1667. The Miquelets killed several employees and the sub-provost in Prats de Mollo in jully 1668.
The King tried to promote the French language but without much success outside of Perpignan. Public acts continued to be written in Catalan until 1700 and even later.
In the years following the Revolution Fort-les-Bains will face the intrusion of Spanish troops. The Fort will fell in 1793 before that the peace is signed for good in 1795. The Fort will then serve as barracks until 1873.