Christopher Columbus was the first documented European to set foot in Puerto Rico (originally called "San Juan Bautista") in 1493. Fort San Cristóbal is the largest fortificationbuilt by Spaniards in the new world. It is located one kilometer from El Morro and almost 45 meters above the sea level. Its main purpose was to defend the islet from an attack by land.
In 1625, aDutch fleet commanded by General Boudewijn Hendricksz attacks the San Juan islet from the east by land. This attack brought on a project to fortify the islets defenses which consisted of improving ElMorro, building a city wall that surrounded the village and a fort that would defend the island from attacks by land.
Built in 1664, San Cristóbal Fort covers some 27 acres of land and was constructedto protect San Juan from land attack and it is the first fort that you will see when driving into Old San Juan. Originally, the fort wrapped around the entirety of San Juan and the only entrance tothe city was through its well-guarded gates. In 1897, they dynamited the walls to allow San Juan to expand.
The fort gets its current shape in the 18th century when under orders of King Charles III,field marshal Alejandro O’Reilly and Chief Engineer of San Juan, Thomas O’Daly, began the works that would transform San Cristóbal into the largest fort in Puerto Rico and Spanish America.
In 1783,San Cristóbal had become a complex fortification that covered more than 11 hectares.
In 1790, fort San Cristóbal was made up of a horn work, which gave continuity to the city walls; on top of it therewas a platform for the cannons known as el caballero (the knight). In front of the horn work, and surrounded by dry moats, is a ravelin San Carlos and counterguard La Trinidad. Further up are armssquare, which leads to a fortification names El Abanico (the fan) and two batteries with a view of the ocean: Santa Teresa and La Princesa. On the east side of the castle are Ravelin de Santiago and...