The construction of the fortifications of Cartagena de Indias develops parallel to the history of the city. The protection of the population was a constant concern both on the part of the authorities as well as its inhabitants, since Cartagena was threatened by pirates and enemies of the Spanish Crown almost since its founding.
The first defensive structures at the end of the XVI century were some simple trenches, pits and stakes, until Philip II charged Bautista Antonelli and Juan de Tejeda with the fortification of the ports of the Atlantic coast, among them Cartagena. In 1597 the primitive city wall made of wood and kindling sticks was erected, thus beginning a project that would not conclude until the end of the XVIII century.
The destruction caused by the attacks and the storms that recurrently damaged the city characterizes the evolution of the bulwarks of Cartagena, noted for their continuous reconstruction. In general terms it is possible to identify four major periods:
1614 – 1631
The military engineer Cristóbal de Roda began construction of the walls in stone.1614 – 1631
1629 – 1636
Governor Francisco de Murga, governor and engineer, directed the construction of fortifications applying the new military engineering theories originating in Flanders.1629 – 1636
First third of the XVIIIcentury
Juan de Herrera y Sotomayor repaired the destruction suffered by the De Pointis attack in 1697, giving the walled city its current configuration.First third of the XVIIIcentury
1741 – 1800
Antonio de Arévalo concluded the construction of the walls of Cartagena.1741 – 1800
From the end of the decade of the ‘80s of the XIX century until 1924 several bulwarks and stretches of wall were demolished, alleging unhealthy conditions and high maintenance costs as justifications. Cartagena irrevocably lost part of its heritage.