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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Juan in San Juan Municipality, Puerto Rico — The Caribbean (The West Indies)
 

A Defense of the 1st Order

Una Defensa del 1er Orden

 
 
A Defense of the 1st Order Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 21, 2012
1. A Defense of the 1st Order Marker
Inscription.  Spain built Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the massive fortification in front of you to guard San Juan harbor. To control the harbor was to control the entrance to the Caribbean Sea and access to the riches of the New World.

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

A Defense of the 1st Order Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 21, 2012
2. A Defense of the 1st Order Marker
in September 1765 he decreed San Juan should be made “a Defense of the First Order.”
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 18° 28.224′ N, 66° 7.416′ W. Marker is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in San Juan Municipality. Marker is on Cll Del Morro. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Juan PR 00926, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
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. ¼ mile away); Piña Colada Made Famous (approx. 0.6 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Juan.
 
Categories. Forts, Castles
 
A Defense of the 1st Order Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 21, 2012
3. A Defense of the 1st Order Marker
A Defense of the 1st Order Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 21, 2012
4. A Defense of the 1st Order Marker
A Defense of the 1st Order Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 21, 2012
5. A Defense of the 1st Order Marker
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 6, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 512 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 6, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A complete photo of the marker and transcription of the Spanish text. • Can you help?
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