The Philippines were considered to be a key part of the defence system of
the Spanish Crown in the New World. The fortified city of the Philippines was
Manila.Manila soon became a fortified city. It was fortified in
accordance with the principles of the bastion system: straight stretches
of wall - the curtain walls -, against which polygonal precincts protruded - the
The fortified system comprises several parts: the fronts facing
the sea and the river, which were less elaborate and complex; and the
three-sided land front with its corresponding bastions. The Santiago
Castle was built at the sharpest angle, between the river and the bay, and
this functioned as a citadel.
In the 18th century, the governor Gómez Pérez
Dasmariñas gave great momentum to the fortification of Manila, his achievement
being to surround the city with stone. From the 18th century onwards, the
military engineers began to replace the governors in the construction of
fortifications. In 1763, the English take the city of Manila.
are drawn up from then onwards: Juan Martín Cermeño, Feliciano Márquez, Dionisio
O'Kelly and Tomás Sanz, are the engineers directing the works; although from the
mid-18th century onwards the fortifications of Manila scarcely underwent any
change at all.
In 1939, the Manila Intramuros precinct, one of the most
important in the fortification system carried through by the Spaniards
in the New World, remained intact.
|Plan and sectional view of the San Pedro redoubt.
Tomás Sanz. 1781. AGI This was sited facing the sea, to the south of
Intramuros. Its ground plan was square and it was constructed on the outer
side of the city wall but access to the interior was provided by a narrow
||Plan of the ravelin sited on the Bagumbayan front.
Dionisio Kelly. 1772. AGI This was an external construction covering
and defending the curtain wall of a fort. This ravelin was built on the
curtain wall of the Bagumbayan front in order to defend the "Puerta Real".
puerta Real. |
Plan, sectional views
and front views of the new bastion and part of the Santo Domingo curtain wall.
1838. SHM This large bastion was constructed on the river front close to the
Santo Domingo church and monastery.
|Plan of the San Diego bastion and foundry. 19th
century. SHM This fortification had a pentagonal shape: it protruded
where two curtain walls met, two of its sides forming a sharp angle; it
had two flanks joining it to the city wall, and one ogee as a point of
entry. It was constructed on the site of the fort of Nuestra Señora de
||Fortification of the city of Manila. Tomás Sanz.
1779. AGI The wall surrounding the Manila Intramuros precinct had four
fronts: one facing the river, one facing the sea, and two land fronts, one
of which was called Bagumbayan. |
|Plans, section view and front view of the house of
the castellano at the Royal Fortress of Santiago. SHM The castellano
was the governor of a castle.
Repair works undertaken on the house of the governor of the Fortress of
Santiago. Manuel Wals. 1890. SHM Within the fort, Manrique de Lara ordered
the construction of a semicircular platform called San José, which was situated
in front of the Santa Bárbara bastion.
||Plan of the Santiago castle or fortress. Dionisio
Kelly. 1771. AGI Construction work was commenced in 1591 and was
completed in 1634. This was the work of Leonardo Iturrino, and was the
second most important fortress to be built of stone in Manila, the Nuestra
Señora de Guía fortress being the first of these.
|Plan of the Royal Fortress of Santiago, in the year
1824. SHM This was separated from the main "plaza" by a fosse flanked
by two bastions: the San Miguel bastion, formerly known as San Gregorio,
and the San Francisco bastion, formerly known as San Juan Crisostomo.
||Plan of the city of Manila and the San Lázaro
archipelago, with a new fortification project. Miguel Antonio Gómez. 19th
century. AGI The most significant fortification projects undertaken
for Manila were carried out during the 18th century, while the 19th
century witnessed no works of any
|Plan, sectional view and elevation of the gate and
archway of Santa Lucía. Tomás Sanz. 1781. AGI The Santa Lucía gate was
one of the most important of those which gave access through the Manila
city wall. It faced southwards towards the sea, and opened onto the María
||Plan, sectional views and elevation of the "Puerta
Nueva" which was constructed at the mid-point of the Bagumbayan curtain
wall front. Tomás Sanz. 1781. SHM This gate was transferred in the
18th century to the centre of the curtain wall on the Bagumbayan front
while still preserving its name. |
|Plan, sectional views and elevation of the Postern.
Tomás Sanz. 1783. SHM The Postern gate in the city wall faced south on
the seaboard curtain wall. In the 18th century, and as a result of the
creation in Spain of the Corps of military engineers, new techniques were
used to build the fortifications of Manila.
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Discovering Philippines Copyright ©
2004 Robert S. Gardner