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sábado, 9 de agosto de 2014

The Fortifications of Cartagena de Índias

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

The original fort was built in the 17th century but it was a small one. In 1762 it was enlarged and became the greatest and strongest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in their colonies.

It was never taken, despite numerous attempts to conquer it by the enemies of Spain. Antonio de Arévalo was the main military engineer, who finished its construction.

A complex system of tunnels connected strategic points of the fortress to distribute provisions and to facilitate evacuation. The tunnels were constructed in such a way that sounds echo all the way along them, making it possible to hear the slightest sound of the approaching enemy fleet.

Alarm bell

Cartagena de Índias was born as a military city.


Its awesome defenses can be explained in geopolitical terms as a vital link between Spain and the kingdoms of Mexico and Peru both rich in silver. 

Antonio de Arévalo worked in the fortifications of Cartagena for almost 50 years but the work started 300 years before during the reign of Phillip II.

In the XVIII century, their final cost was so high that King Charles III of Spain said: “ they should reach the clouds and be seen from Spain”.

In front of the fortress there is a statue of Blas de Lezo, a Spanish admiral who is best known for his defensive tactics at the Battle of Cartagena de Índias (1741), where Spanish forces won a decisive victory against the British. In his life he was known as "Patapalo" (peg leg) and later as "Mediohombre" (half-man), for the many wounds  he suffered in his military life.

Cartagena, 7th August 2014

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