WIT Press

Mexican Fortresses Built In The 16th Century. Morphology Of Maritime Heritage And Historic Arsenals Preserved


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625 - 635




771 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Acosta Collazo


The history of the main Mexican villages is linked to the Spaniard Conquerors and their establishment. Morphology of the three main maritime fortresses in Mexico is related to several European medieval shapes of buildings. Even though the build of the main port Veracruz had a wall to protect the village, San Juan de Ulúa fortress had a star shaped. The birth of the cities of Acapulco and Campeche included star shaped fortresses too. These fortresses assumed the military role of European castles. Geometric regularity was based on the Quattrocento Renaissance, and found a perfect shape during the Cinquecento. The building of fortresses in Mexico allowed the civilians and authorities more secure places to settle down, and also the missioners started a cohesion work with native people, even though some churches were built with a fortified aspect – also some haciendas were built like this – several arsenals were placed along the main silver route, and in some other strategic situations. Although Spain conquered Mexico in 1521, the northern tribes named Chichimecas were still in war during the 16th century, and pacification was made slowly through the northern border of Nueva Galicia kingdom. So the Mexican arsenals, posts or presidios – places where they made or stored military weapons and explosives – were situated, in some cases, every 8 leagues, and helped secure mine production. It is through the conversion of these buildings to museums and interpretation centers that people, especially tourists and students, could comprehend better the national history, significance and the morphology of fortresses and forts. Also this paper could contribute to restoration projects of maritime heritage and historic arsenals.


Mexican maritime fortresses, 16th century, morphology, historic forts