7th Havana Biennial -  Home November 2000 - January 2001Home
El Morro
Castillo del Morro

Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro
Morro Cabaña
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The fortress with the original name "The Three Kings" was built on the cliffs called "Morro" at the entrance to the bay and the harbor according to the plans of the Italian military engineer Bautista Antonelli from 1589 until approximately 1610. It protected Havana from the numerous attacks by French, Dutch and English pirates. Armed with heavy guns, among them the battery of 12 canons bearing the names of the 12 Apostles, it was considered to be impregnable for about 150 years.

Not until 1762, during the Seven Years' War, when a fleet of 44 ships with 3000 canons and 14000 soldiers on board besieged the city did the Morro finally fall as well, and that after about two months of resistance. Under the covering fire of their ships, the English troops had approached from a nearby hill (on which La Cabaña would later be built) within 200 meters of the fortress and brought a gunpowder deposit to explosion by which a breach was blasted into its walls.

One year later, the Treaty of Fontainebleau (July 6, 1763) settled the return of Havana to Spain in exchange for Florida. Upon the withdrawal of the English, the rebuilding of the city commenced and along with it the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro.
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