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The Castillo de San Cristobal also known as "Gibraltar of the Caribbean" was first built in 1634 by the Spanish settlers. This large fortress was built for the defense of San Juan to protect this city from attack by land from the east.The fort was named in honor of Saint Christopher. Several attacks were on this island that were from the English in 1598, Dutch in 1625, and British in 1797. After the attacks occurred, the government decided it was best to have the fort established. This fort is now a national historic site and park that was restored in 1983.


  • Fort Caristobal
  • Overall look of the fort
  • One of the tunnels
  • One of the drawings in the fort

The construction began in 1625 and was completed in 1783. Many drawings are appeared on the thick walls that described the attacks that were in this fort. The fort had underground tunnels that were utilized for communication, transportation, military materials, and levels of difficulty for the attackers. The tunnels were completed in 1780 and provided the disadvantages from the attackers with the shaping of the tunnels and darkness. These tunnels were a lot easier for the troops to move to different places a lot faster.

The attack from the English in 1598 was led by George Clifford, who wanted to clean England's honor which ended up being dirty by Sir Francis Drake's defeat. After this occurred, he then organized the English to go against Spain. The Spanish won the first battle, however the Spanish troops couldn't hold up the English's entry in the city. The attack from the Dutch in 1625 were trying to take the land side of San Juan. This attack was led by General Hendricksz Boudewijin; however, the Spanish troops forced him and his troops to leave the city but did not burn the town. This attack showed the community the defenses and improvements that built a wall that surrounded the village. In 1797, the British troops made their first attack which was the last attack on this fort. This attack was led by General Ralph Abercromby in April. He sent nearly 7,ooo troops and 64 warships. The Spanish made them retreat 13 days after this final battle.

Because of his voyage and success, the government named it in honor of Christopher Columbus.His high religion, aspirations with trading, competition, and colonialization left his mark on the island. Many admired his work and commitment on the island was special to them. The colony was called "rich port" and it became a way of the military outpost.

The fort was active up to 1961 and was served as a military base to the U.S. army. From there, it was restored in 1983 and was declared as a national park and museum. Many people visit this historical site to get a clue of how the attacks were and the history of it that it made in the city. The U.S. army used the fort's artillery post often in WWII. This fort is also where the first shots were fired during the Spanish American War.

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THE TRAVELLING HISTORIAN. Accessed April 19, 2020. http://travellinghistorian.com/cris.html.

“Fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico.” GPSmyCity. Accessed April 23, 2020. https://www.gpsmycity.com/attractions/fort-san-cristobal-32747.html.

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“Fort San Cristóbal.” Tour Old San Juan, March 7, 2018. https://www.touroldsanjuan.com/fort-san-cristobal/.

Southwest Airlines. “Fort Castillo San Cristobal in Old San Juan Puerto Rico.” Calculated Traveller Magazine, February 14, 2020. https://www.calculatedtraveller.com/blog/fort-castillo-san-cristobal-san-juan-puerto-rico/.

Whelan, Ed. “Fort of Castillo San Cristóbal: Built to Defend Against the English, Dutch and Marauding Pirates.” Ancient Origins. Ancient Origins, July 16, 2019. https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places/castillo-san-cristobal-0012145.

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