San Juan Puerto Rico: Castillo San Felipe del Morro

photo of El Morro

The beautiful island of Puerto Rico

Photography by Gary Wonning

El Morro Fort, or officially Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, stands guard at the entrance to San Juan harbor as a reminder of a by-gone era when invading countries would attempt sea attacks to take this prized city and harbor.

El Morro Lookout

This beautiful 6-level fort was named in honor of Spain’s King Philip II. The Fort wasn’t initially built as the huge structure that you see today. It has gone through many enlargements and modifications, from the time it was first constructed by Spain through the time that it was occupied by the US Army.

Sunset at El Morro

The garitas, or sentry boxes, are located all around the outer walls of the fort. There are a number of them that you can go into. These garitas have become a cultural symbol of Puerto Rico – you will see their images on many things, from license plates to shot glasses to tee shirts. These make wonderful pictures.

 

In 1493, Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) “discovered” Puerto Rico and claimed it for Spain. A little known fact is that Columbus called the whole island San Juan, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Puerto Rico (puerto = “port” and rico = “rich”) was the name given to what is known today as the Old San Juan area. It was only later that the names were reversed and the whole island became known as Puerto Rico.

Sunset San Juan

The San Juan harbor is naturally deep and safe, and Puerto Rico is in a strategic location, so it seemed that everyone wanted to call San Juan their own. After Spain claimed the island and started colonizing it, many pirates and privateers tried to invade to get the island and some of Spain’s riches! So Spain always had to fight to keep claim to the island.

After the original fort Fortaleza (now the Governor’s mansion) was deemed to be inadequate protection for the harbor, it was decided that a fort was needed in a better location. So they built a small structure at the north-west tip of Old San Juan, at the entrance to the harbor, on the current site of El Morro. Built between 1539-1540, it was a small fort that held a few men and only 4 cannons.

 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

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Puerto Rico: El Morro

photo of El Morro

The beautiful island of Puerto Rico

Photography by Gary Wonning

To see more beautiful photos of Puerto Rico, please click on the photographs

Lying on the northeastern-most point of the islet of Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro is named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. The fortification also referred to as el Morro or ‘the promontory,’ was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies.

A formidable sight from the water, it has guarded San Juan against foreign invaders for centuries. 

El Morro and many other Spanish government buildings in Old San Juan became part of a large U.S. Army post, called Fort Brooke. In the early 20th century, the U.S. military filled up the Esplanade (the green space in front of “El Morro”) with baseball diamonds, hospitals, officers’ quarters, an officers’ club and even a golf course.

On March 21, 1915, Lt. Teófilo Marxuach was the officer of the day at the El Morro fortress. The Odenwald (built in 1903 and not to be confused with the German World War II warship of the same name) was an armed German supply ship which tried to force its way out of the bay and deliver supplies to the German submarines waiting in the Atlantic Ocean. Lt. Marxuach gave the order to open fire on the ship, which was forced to return; its supplies were confiscated. The shots ordered by Lt. Marxuach are widely regarded to be the first shots fired by the United States in World War I, although the first actual wartime shot fired by the U.S. came on the day war was declared, during the scuttling of the SMS Cormoran off Guam.

In 1961, the United States Army officially withdrew from El Morro. As a result,  The fort became a part of the National Park Service to be preserved as a museum. In 1983, the Castillo and the city walls were declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, and  In honor of the Quincentennial of the voyages of Columbus in 1992 the exterior esplanade was cleared of palm trees that had been planted by the U.S. Army in the Fort Brooke era, and restored to the open appearance this “field-of-fire” for El Morro’s cannon would have had in colonial Spanish times.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of

Australia, where he was able to swim with the crocodiles.

Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Puerto Rico San Cristobol

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San Cristobol , along with El Morro provided protectopn to San Juan and Puerto Rico for generations until modern warfare eliminated the need for them.

 

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 Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website, http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments appreciated

money photography

This informative Ebook describes alternative methods of making money ,often a full time income in photography even if you have no desire to shoot wedding photography. this book gives examples and websites where you can use your photos to supply you with an income, not only to enable you to buy new equipment, but a living income as well.

San Juan Puerto Rico El Morro

Over looking the Atlantic Ocean from El Morro in San Juan Puerto Rico.

El Morro wall
El Morro

This ancient fort, dating back to the 16th century has been protecting the port and citizens of this island for centuries. For many years it was unconquerable and even today remains a formidabale site when visiting the island.

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Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website.www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments appreciated

money photography

This informative Ebook describes alternative methods of making money ,often a full time income in photography even if you have no desire to shoot wedding photography. this book gives examples and websites where you can use your photos to supply you with an income, not only to enable you to buy new equipment, but a living income as well.

Photography Prints

El Morro the Ultimate Defense

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El Morro
This massive fortification “Castillo de San Felipe Del Morro” means “Castle of St. Philip of the Headland.” Named for the patron Saint of Spain’s King Philip 11. It is the oldest of two great forts that anchored the sea and landward defenses of San Juan.

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The second fort San Cristobal which lies just southeast of here was the primary defense from land.
The fort construction began in 1539 with the building of a round tower made of stone and resembling the chess piece known as a “rook“.El Morro slowly evolved to it’s present shape from 1539 until 1786. Approaching El Morro from the land side , one can’t help but notice how low to the ground it is constructed, this was done to offer as small a target as possible to attacking forces.
That fact , along with the moat made it extremely difficult to scale the walls of the fort.
El Morro was the first line of defense for San Juan, batteries of cannon on four of six levels were deadly deterrents to enemy warships.
The sixth level of guns pointed landward to protect the fort from attack by land.  A wood drawbridge spanned the moat and beyond that was a cleared plain so that attacking forces would have no cover.All the gunpowder was hidden underground so as to prevent the invaders from blowing up the ammunition.
The fort was an important line of defense for several hundred years as it protected Puerto Rico from invasions from the French, English, pirates and others until the Spanish-American War when possession was given to the United States following Spain’s defeat in that war. after which time it was an important line of defense for protecting the Panama Canal in World War 1 and 2.
Today, The San Juan National Historic Site is managed by The National Park Service. These weathered  battlements, so important in protecting Puerto Rico from enemy occupation, are important landmarks in the historical and cultural heritage of not only the island but the whole Western Hemisphere.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments welcome

Improve your health, Increase your wealth

Improve your health, Increase your wealth

money photography

This informative Ebook describes alternative methods of making money ,often a full time income in photography even if you have no desire to shoot wedding photography. this book gives examples and websites where you can use your photos to supply you with an income, not only to enable you to buy new equipment but a living income as well.