Castillo de San Filipe de Barajas – Cartagena, Colombia

This impressive battery was the largest in the Americas at its time. Construction began in 1604 and reinforced over the next 200 years with multiple additions to the hill structure this iconic fort was the center of multiple pirate attacks and the point to collect the wealth of treasures from the new world before shipping them off to Spain through the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans.

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Sir Francis Drake successfully sacked the city before the improvements were made which inevitably caused King Phillip to order Italian and Spanish architects to design a more defensible port town defensive system. Additionally a Dutch architect, Richard Essex designed some impenetrable features and structures on the site. The fort was never taken again after this was completed. Lawrence Washington led the English fleet with over 23,000 men and failed to defeat the 3,600 defenders of the fort after his forces were delayed in the attack and consumed the fowl cistern water which was naturally too contaminated for Anglos to consume. This and the mosquitos spread tropical diseases that forced the retreat and saved Cartagena from the attackers, or else most believe that prestent day Latin America would be speaking English! Views from the top are stunning and demonstrate the control of the region from this vantage point and the protection of the city, on the coast, in front. Truly spectacular as it was by far the largest defensive structure in the Americas during the golden age of Piracy and throughout the era of the Spanish Armada.

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