Fortín De San Gerónimo
A trip to Puerto Rico would never be complete without visiting the numerous historical sights and landmarks on the island. Since 3000 BC, this island has been occupied by many groups of people, starting with the tribe of Ortoiroid thousands of years ago. Spanish and other European settlers also came here in the 16th Century and by 1898, Puerto Rico became part of the United States.
There are indeed lots of interesting places in Puerto Rico that would excite anyone who’s interested in history. One of the must-visit landmarks on the island is the Fortín de San Gerónimo, also known as Fortín de San Gerónimo del Boqueron or simply, San Geronimo Fort. It is situated in the mouth of the Condado Lagoon, right across a historic neighborhood called Miramar in San Juan.
A Little History
This small fort was build in 1609, as per order by then Governor Don Gabriel de Rojas to replace a smaller battery which was badly damaged after being attacked by enemies. Its original location was on the eastern side, in the Puerto de Tierra area but during the 18th century it was moved to Condado.
Fortín de San Gerónimo was designed to protect the islet of San Juan which was constantly under attack from 1595 to 1598. Enemy vessels had destroyed the original battery (El Boqueron), rendering the city vulnerable to foreign invaders. After Fortín de San Gerónimo was completed, continued improvements were made throughout the 18th Century and it was this fort along with the adjacent fort (Fort of San Antonio) that helped keep the British invaders away.
However, even though the soldiers guarding San Geronimo were able to resist an attack by the British army in 1797, it lay in ruins and had to be rebuilt in 1799.
Visiting Fortín de San Gerónimo
In 1983, the fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places and its current owner is the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. It is being managed by the Caribe Hilton Hotel, which used to hold private gatherings in this historic site.
While the fort is still standing today, it is already showing signs of deterioration because it hasn’t been given enough attention over the years. Although there have been efforts to stop further deterioration, visitors are no longer allowed inside the fort.
If you’re planning to visit Fortín de San Gerónimo, take note that it’s structurally unstable so you will have to admire it from a distance to avoid causing further damage to it or putting yourself in harm’s way.
We recommend that you take a stroll from El Condado to the San Geronimo Fort and see all the amazing landmarks in and around Old San Juan. It’s a wonderful activity you can do with loved ones or even on your own. If you’re a history buff or simply want to know more about what it was like in Puerto Rico during the old times, then a visit to Fortín de San Gerónimo is a must.
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