La Fortaleza and San Juan Historic Site in Puerto Rico (1983)
United States of America

Back to index

USA 1937. La Fortaleza

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, a series of defensive structures was built at this strategic point in the Caribbean Sea to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan. 

They represent a fine display of European military architecture adapted to harbour sites on the American continent. 

  • USA 1937. La Fortaleza. 
The region's first European settlement, called Caparra and located west of the present-day city of San Juan, was begun in 1508 under the direction of Ponce de León. 

Taíno indigenous peoples lived in the area at the time. In 1521 the original settlement was abandoned and moved to the site of what is now called Old San Juan. 

Interestingly, this settlement was originally known as Puerto Rico (rich port), whereas the island had been named San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) by Christopher Columbus in 1493; later the names were reversed. 

  • USA 1971. The Sentry Box at the Morro Castle, San Juan de Puerto Rico. 

USA 1971. The Sentry Box at Morro Castle, San Juan de Puerto Rico.

The community was subjected to frequent attacks by Europeans (including Sir Francis Drake in 1595), and several imposing fortifications were built. The city of San Juan remained under Spanish control until 1898, when the island was ceded to the United States at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. The large-scale expansion of the city limits outward from Old San Juan to the mainland has occurred during the 20th century. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in USA (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section United States for further information about such sites. 


Back to index

Revised 03 aug 2006  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus
All Rights Reserved