Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, FORTMED2015 - International Conference on Modern Age Fortifications of the Western Mediterranean coast

Por defecto: 
La frontera marítima fortificada: de la vigilancia a la señalización (XVI-XIX)
Alfredo García Mas, Andrés Martínez-Medina

Última modificación: 20-07-2015



During the 16th century an ambitious political programme for building towers and forts bordering the Spanish Empire’s littoral, to protect it, is materialised. This sighting network over the sea horizon had the essential mission of detecting the presence of vessels that supposed a threat. The network was organised through the strategic arrangement of watchtowers taking profit of the geographical features in the topography so that they could communicate among them with a system of visual signs. The virtual union of the stated settlements defined the fortified maritime borderline. At the same time, this network of sentinels was reinforced (in certain settlements) by the construction of fortifications that acted like centres of data reception and supplied the necessary personnel for detection and transmission. So, this mesh was established by observation points (watchtowers) and information and defense centres (fortifications) to make the news arrive to the decision centres.

The present communication aims to demonstrate this military strategy providing the inventory of all defensive architectures that marked this limit between the Segura river mouth until the Huertas cape and that these are spotted from the ‘Flat’ island (later Nueva Tabarca). A riverside geography of approxi-mately 30 km long where 3 fortifications and 7 towers of diverse typologies successively took place. Among the most relevant documents of this research, we could mention the plans of the fortifycations in Guardamar and Santa Pola from the 16th century (drawn in the 18th). For this research, drawings of towers made by the Ministry of Public Works at the end of the 19th century are also important; these documents show the new military tactics, neither for attack neither for defense. At most, they replaced for maritime lighthouses for signage and help for navigation while the others towers were abandoned.

Keywords: military architecture, coastal fortification, watchtower, forts&castles, maritime lighthouses.


Texto completo: PDF