(1657-1697) It was the governor Melchor Aguilera who, in 1639, was already aware of the need to fortify the hill with a bonnet, or outworks, but the negative response of the officials of the Royal Treasury made it impossible to […]
It was the governor Melchor Aguilera who, in 1639, was already aware of the need to fortify the hill with a bonnet, or outworks, but the negative response of the officials of the Royal Treasury made it impossible to obtain funds to build it, limiting the work to preparing the way for the future construction of the fortress. The project was not forgotten, and eight years later a royal decree ordered the construction of a castle on the hill, but again its construction was postponed.
It would not be until October 12, 1657 when the initiative of the governor Pedro Zapata finished construction of the primitive San Felipe de Barajas, giving it that name in honor of the reigning Felipe IV and the title in nobility of the governor’s ancestors, the Counts of Barajas. Zapata was able to collect from among the inhabitants the donations needed to carry out the work, and he put the grand master Gaspar Mejía in charge who, following the plan of the Dutchman, Ricardo Carr, built a small fortress with eight cannons and a barbette battery with space for a garrison of twenty soldiers and four artillerymen. The San Felipe of this first stage had three half-bulwarks at the top (two for the northern sector and one for the southern), four sentry-boxes, a water well, barracks, a warehouse and an access gate toward the west.
That was the fort that Baron De Pointis found and conquered on April 20, 1697, thus deciding the fate of the city, which would not have to wait long to be plundered. The strategic importance of San Felipe was clear, and, for this reason, rebuilding and enlarging it was a constant in the following century.