St. Catherine’s Fort (Castillo de Santa Catalina)

The entrance to St Catherine's Fort, Santa Cruz de La Palma
The entrance to St Catherine's Fort, Santa Cruz de La Palma

In 1553 French pirates attacked Santa Cruz de La Palma, so they built
a small fort to defend the town from future attacks. This was just a
platform with a tower, and it was destroyed by flooding during a
storm in 1671. In 1676 work started on the current fort, and it was finished
in 1701.

It’s nothing like the tower of London, but then it didn’t need to be.
I wouldn’t want to try to force my way through the outer rampart with
18th century weapons, and access to the front door is via a wooden
bridge over a moat. If the people inside smashed the bridge, you’d be
trying to reach a doorway on the first floor. Inside, there’s a
dungeon, storehouse, a house for the man in charge and barracks for
the soldiers.

St. Catherine’s fort helped to repel Sir Francis Drake’s attack in 1585.

The modern statue on the seaward side is by Martin Chirino and
represents the trade winds.

The statue of the trade winds in front of St Catherine's Fort
The statue of the trade winds in front of St Catherine's Fort

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Interesting article, Sheila. Drake is seen rather more as a pirate by the Spanish than the naval hero of British acclaim. He was repelled in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria too. Back in 1595. In La Isleta, October’s Fiestas in Honour of Nuestra Señora de La Luz, patron saint of the Port and honorary Mayoress of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, commemorate the islanders’ victory against the attack.

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