Cartagena the invincible--almost


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South America » Colombia » Cartagena
January 24th 2015
Published: June 16th 2017
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Castillo San Filipe de BarajasCastillo San Filipe de BarajasCastillo San Filipe de Barajas

This humungous fort built on a hill in Cartagena is the largest ever built by Spain in any of her colonies.
Geo: 10.4137, -75.5336

Built in the mid 1600s and expanded a couple of times, this fort became Spain's largest in any of her colonies. It's humungous and entirely takes up the top of a 130' hill with a perfect location to protect the rich port from marauders by land or by sea.

Cartagena was South America's first port. Imagine it. All the wealth from Peru's silver, Colombia's emeralds, and rich plantations everywhere -- it all had to come through Cartagena. This was every pirate's dream but Cartagena stood proud, beating back all but one -- the sly, determined French pirate Baron de Pointis who, in 1697, attached from the rear were they were not well defended.

It even held firm against an attack by the combined forces of the British Admiral Vernon and the 13 colonies who brought 25,000 men and 186 ships. Held off by 3,000 spanish troops and 6 ships the British and her colonies slunk back home after a disgustingly unsuccessful month long siege.

The walk up the ramparts was made a bit unpleasant by the intense equatorial sun, but whenever we could find a spot of shade we paused to listen to the English translation on our
Tunnels carried men and provisions unseen Tunnels carried men and provisions unseen Tunnels carried men and provisions unseen

With excellent acoustics so they could easily hear an enemy's footfall, these tunnels also allowed soldiers and materials to move secretly from one area of the huge fort to another
headphones and were able to learn quite a lot of the fort's history. It's definately worth seeing. We came in the morning but not early enough it seems, as I thought I'd have heat stroke before we finally got back down and found a cool place to recover.



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Cannons expertly placed for defenseCannons expertly placed for defense
Cannons expertly placed for defense

This fort only succumbed to attack once, by a French pirate. Afterwards the fort was reinforced and never fell again.
It's wiltingly warm to be climbing this highIt's wiltingly warm to be climbing this high
It's wiltingly warm to be climbing this high

Notice how the cannons are all pointed to the tourist busses?
Heralding the arrival of the cruise shipsHeralding the arrival of the cruise ships
Heralding the arrival of the cruise ships

All I want now is to get off of this infernally hot thing before I have heat stroke.


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