The NWMP established Fort Battleford in 1876 after it was declared capital of the North-West Territories. Originally known as the Battle River Post, Fort Battleford consisted of about ten buildings including stables, barracks, officers' quarters, a storehouse and a workshop. A palisade was added by 1880.
Fort Battleford was built on lands historically used by the Cree. The NWMP were deeply involved with the signing of the treaties then the annual distribution of treaty payments. When the North-West Rebellion blazed to life in 1885, the Fort was in the middle of all the action. Its contingent of 12 men under Superintendent Crozier was quickly joined by about 500 settlers from the area looking for a safe escape from the angry Native and Metis people. As violence mounted, almost 200 other policemen were assigned to Fort Battleford.
Fort Battleford became the base of operations for many of the Rebellion's conflicts including battles at Cut Knife Hill, Fort Pitt, Frenchman Butte, Steele Narrows and the search for Big Bear. The townsite and farms were looted, first by the Native and Metis people, and later by the Colonel Otter's soldiers. The settlers remained in the fort for almost a month.
After the Rebellion, the post continued as a divisional headquarters until 1924. Local people preserved its remaining buildings and opened a museum within its walls. In 1951 the site became a national historic site and is now managed by Parks Canada. Since then, many of the original buildings have been restored or reconstructed. Costumed interpreters bring to life the days of the Rebellion.