Georges Island, located in the inner harbour, was fortified by the British shortly after Halifax was established in 1749 to protect the settlement from seaward attack. The island’s fortifications would undergo a number of changes over the years as part of the extensive Halifax Defence Complex covering both sides of the harbour. In the late 1790s Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent built a star-shaped fortification and named it Fort Charlotte in honour of his mother. Advances in weaponry and military technology in the mid-1800s required further changes in the fortifications.
The role of George's Island was reduced in the late 1800s as the main harbour defences were moved farther out from the central harbour (including building new forts on nearby McNabs Island). During the First World War Fort Charlotte coordinated operation of a submarine net on both sides of the island to prevent enemy subs from entering the inner harbour. An anti-aircraft battery was operated during the Second World War which marked the last time soldiers served on the island. George Island is administered by Parks Canada; plans call for restoring Fort Charlotte, upgrading visitor facilities and opening the island to the public.