A Defense of the 1st Order
Una Defensa del 1er Orden
Puerto Rico was the first major island with fresh water that ships encountered as they sailed west from Europe. San Juan’s excellent harbor was the first secure, deep-water port. The nation that controlled the harbor could protect their merchant ships and send warships out to control shipping to and from the Caribbean. For almost 400 years Spain defended San Juan and its harbor. El Morro was the key to that defense.
Spain built El Morro over a span of 250 years. The oldest part - a tower that still stands deep within the fort - was built in 1539. By 1790, El Morro looked similar to the way it does now.
Why Is It Called El Morro?
Castillo San Felipe del Morro owes its name to the headland where it sits. El Morro means the headland — a high point of land that extends into a body of water.
The importance of San Juan for the security of the Spanish empire so impressed King Carlos III that in September 1765 he decreed San Juan should be made “a Defense of the First Order.”
Erected by National Park Service.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Main Plaza (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Defending San Juan (approx. 0.2 miles away); Francisco de Miranda (approx. 0.6 miles away); Casa Natal de Don Ramón Power y Giralt (approx. 0.6 miles away); Noel Estrada (approx. 0.7 miles away); In Defense of San Juan (approx. 0.8 miles away); What About Water? (approx. 0.8 miles away); Firepower (approx. 0.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Juan.
Categories. • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 386 times since then and 122 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 23, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A complete photo of the marker and transcription of the Spanish text. • Can you help?