5th Marianas History Conference Day 1 - 3

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Panel: Mid-Spanish Period

Fortifications as Geometric Machines

Marianas During the Early Modern Period

By Dr. Pedro Luengo

Universidad de Sevilla

Abstract: Previous studies has addressed the building process of fortifications in Guam during the early modern period, from the first attempts in 1671, reaching a significative number of structures before the early 19th century, located in Umatac (Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Fort Santo Angel, Fort San Jose, Nuestra Señora de la Soledad), Hagåtña (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and San Fernando/San Rafael), Orote (Fort Santiago, Fort San Luis, Fort Santa Cruz) and a battery in Merizo. While much archival work has been done, including plans from Spanish archives in Madrid and Seville, a formal comparison with contemporary cases in Southeast Asia and America is still required. From the recent publications on the topic, this paper aims to provide a new interpretation of these projects entangled with other territories. At the same time, other aspects will be included in the discussion such as gunnery availability, their probable shot range and the general design considering the geographical context, especially reefs and water depths. As a result, the historical interpretation will explain the relationship of these islands with the global flows of the time.

Fortifications are one of the most noteworthy heritage elements of the Spanish period still preserved in Guam. For this reason, previous studies have addressed them using both archival material and their ruins1. In addition to a few studies specifically focused on them, their close relationship with the island’s history have ensured their inclusion in other, more general, historical approaches2. Thanks to these efforts, most of the archival material has been identified and connected with the history of the island’s Spanish settlement. On the 1

Driver, Marjorie G. and Omaira Brunal-Perry. Architectural Sketches of the Spanish Era Forts of Guam. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 1994; Driver, Majorie G. Cross, Sword, and Silver: The Nascent Spanish Colony in the Marianas. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 1993; Degadillo, Yolanda, Thomas B. McGrath, S.J. and Felicia Plaza, M.M.B. Spanish Forts of Guam. Publication Series 7. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 1979.

2

Driver, Majorie G. Fray Juan Pobre in the Marianas 1602. MARC Miscellaneous Series 8. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 2004; Galván Guijo, Javier. Islas del Pacífico: el legado español. Madrid: Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, 1998; Pozuelo Mascaraque, Belén. Presencia y Acción españolas en las Islas Marianas (1828-1899). Tesis Doctoral. Madrid: 1997; Del Valle, Teresa. The Importance of the Mariana Islands to Spain at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century. Educational Series 11. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 1991.