4. Square Fortresses in America

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La Real Fuerza (Cuba)

The castle of  La Real Fuerza in the city of Havana begun construction in 1558 and was completed in 1582. This small castle is the second oldest in the New World. It was  built on the water's edge on the site of an earlier stockade destroyed by French pirates in 1555. The defense of the harbour mouth of Havana was completed in 1589 with the castle of Los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro ("Headland of the Three Wise Men of the Orient") , and with the castle of San Salvador de la Punta. This third one was made by Italian military engineer Giovanni Batista Antonelli and was was finished in 1600. In moments of danger a big chain was placed across the river mouth between the Punta and the Morro forts to prevent ships from entering.

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Castillo de San Marcos (St. Augustin, Florida)

The history of the castle start in 1564, when the French settled Florida at Fort Caroline near modern day Jacksonville, which was a clear threat to Spanish treasure ships. The next year, Spaniards under the command of Pedro Méndez de Avilés settled at St. Augustine  to protect the sea route of  ships returning to Spain and slaughtered the French settlers. St. Augustin was the first permanent European settlement in the North America, a century before the Pilgrims first set foot onto Plymouth Rock. The Castillo de San Marcos, built 1672-1695, served primarily as an outpost of the Spanish Empire, guarding St. Augustine. Although the Castillo has served later to a number of nations throughout its history, it has never been taken by military force.  In May 2001, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía visit the Castillo de San Marcos. Here you can make a link for a virtual visit.

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