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Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Old San Juan - Puerto Rico

Fort San Felipe del Morro, and its iconic garitas, have been standing proudly over the shores of Old San Juan since the 16th Century. Puerto Rico was the first large Island in this part of the world with food, supplies, fresh water and shelter. San Juan was also a mid way point between Europe and the New World. It's course on the Eastern Trade Winds and it's easily defended harbor made this the most important strategical place in the history of the Western Hemishphere. To have control of San Juan meant control of all the riches of the New World. El Morro, and San Juan, which were under Spanish Occupation from the 1500's until the late 1800's, Survived many serious attacks from foreign powers, who desperately wanted to control San Juan Harbor. Sir Francis Drake attacked the fort from the sea with his British fleet, but was unsuccessful after taking canon fire from the Spanish. England attacked once again, this time from land, but were once again unsuccessful at breaching the walls of El Morro. Other serious attacks came from the Dutch, who sacked the city but were forced off the island by the cannons of El Morro. It wasn't until 1898 during the Spanish - American War when a naval bombardment by the United States Navy, caused San Juan and the island of Puerto Rico to fall out of Spanish hands. The fort played a role in both World War 1 and and World War 2 for the United States. In 1961 the fortress was retired from service and became part of the National Park Service. In 1983 El Morro was delcared a  UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

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