Fortín de San Gerónimo

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It is a small fort located in the entrance to what is known today as the Condado Lagoon which faces the historic town of Miramar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built during the 17th century to replace a smaller battery that stood at the easternmost end of the San Juan islet. The original Boquerón battery defended San Juan from attacks by Sir Francis Drake in 1595 and George Clifford, the third Earl of Cumberland, in 1598 who destroyed it after his attack. The San Gerónimo became part of San Juan’s First Line of Defense, along with the San Antonio Fort/Bridge and Escambrón Fort, being the Fourth and final Line of Defense the majestic San Cristóbal Castle, guardian to the city entrance. Between the years 1591 to 1595 were built several temporary positions and one of them was El Boqueron. During the attack Drake, El Boqueron and the San Antonio bridge was defended by 150 soldiers and four guns, a total of 15 pieces of artillery and 400 men stationed on the banks of the Isleta eastern flank. Two other batteries besides El Boqueron Bridge and San Antonio were: Cabrón The cove located between the tip of Escambrón and El Boqueron, and Morrillo Cove at the eastern end of the islet. ( Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra ) . In 1591, Captain Pedro de Salazar, who had been commissioned by the military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli, demolished all works, trenches and redoubts erected by the Valdes governor in the eastern part of the island of San Juan. This action proved to be a monumental military error, as verified Drake attacks and Cumberland in 1595 and 1598 respectively, since it was key to the defense of San Juan that the city was impregnable to an attack by land. The experience gained in the attacks of the English and Dutch, showed that Menendez had acted wisely, choosing fortified positions had amazing success. The extraordinary thing is that this dark veteran of the wars in Flanders and Italy saw the problem of the defense of San Juan in relation to the geographical factor Antilles. With unique insight and an advanced strategic, Valdés Menendez argued, in 1587, a defense plan of the city based on the position of Puerto Rico with respect to the other islands of the archipelago, the accessibility of the port main effect prevailing winds and other conditions affecting navigation in the Caribbean Sea. This stopped the attack Fortin Englishman Sir Francis Drake in 1595. The fort is still in remarkably good shape, is open for visitors and has access to the Caribe Hilton Hotel and Plaza Caribe complex.

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