Real Felipe Fortress of Callao

Date de soumission : 20/01/2023
Critères: (iv)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of Peru to UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Constitutional province of Callao, Callao district
Coordonnées Zone 18L 266165.02 E, 8665695.62 S
Ref.: 6647


Peru was the seat of the viceroyalty created by the Spanish Crown in 1542, at first its territory included almost all of South America, although the creation of the viceroyalties of New Granada in 1717 and the viceroyalty of La Plata in 1776 reduced its territory, until before independence it was the main possession of the Spanish Monarchy in South America and the main source of wealth. 

The capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru was Lima and its main port El Callao, which was the strategic center of maritime traffic and operations of the Spanish Navy in South America and, for its protection as well as the most important ports of its dominion in America, especially in the Caribbean Sea, built walls to defend it from the incursions of corsairs at the service of European enemy powers. The first fortifications built in Callao were destroyed in the earthquake and tidal wave of October 1746, in whose replacement, the viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco determined the construction since 1747 of the Fortress that they named Real Felipe in honor of the recently deceased King Felipe V. The construction lasted until 1774, being culminated during the mandate of viceroy Manuel Amat y Junyent. This building was the most important fortification of the Pacific Ocean coasts of the Spanish Empire, with an extension according to current measurements of 95,700 m2   (9.57 ha), constituting the largest and most outstanding individual work of Spanish military architecture of the eighteenth century in America, being the only one of its kind in the South Pacific, and preserving its original dimensions.

Throughout its more than 240 years of existence, the Real Felipe Fortress of Callao was the scene and protagonist of the struggles between colonialist powers in the 18th century, and during the 19th century of Peru's separatist struggles against Spanish colonialism (at least from 1816 to 1826), which culminated with the surrender of the fortress under the command of General Rodil (January 1826). ln other words, The Fortress also participated in another global event: the decolonization of the Americas at the beginning of the 19th century and the last stand of the Spanish Empire in South America. The fortress also had a core participation in other national and international historical events; highlighting among the national ones, the caudillist struggles that sought to consolidate the republican principles in the old Hispanic America; while among the international ones, the role that Callao and its famous fortress had in the defense of the integrity and independence of the South American countries (Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Peru) against the serious aggression that a renewed Spain tried in 1863- 1866 and that was stopped in the waters and the littoral of Callao on May 2, 1866, stands out in a very special way. lt is worth mentioning that it also played an important role in the defense of the port of Callao and in the defense of Lima during the invasion of the Chilean forces in the War with Chile (1879-1883).

The fortress is an essential part of the history of the port of Callao, Peru and the American Continent, and also of human history during modern colonialism throughout the Western Hemisphere (16th-19th centuries); as part of the disputes between European colonial powers,  in the Western Hemisphere; as part of the anti-colonial struggles in the South American wars of independence (1780-1866); and as part of Peru's internal conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries that affirmed its republican regime with democratic foundations. 

Currently, the fortress houses the barracks of the Motorized lnfantry Battalion "Peruvian Legion" No. 1, preserving the military function for which it was designed and built; it is also the headquarters of the Permanent Commission of History of the Army of Peru, the Directorate of Museums of the Peruvian Army, and is the Museum of the Real Felipe Fortress Army, so in addition to being the most representative historical landmark of Callao provides valuable cultural and educational services to the local and national community.

The Real Felipe Fortress is located in the Constitutional Province of Callao, district of Callao, on the central coast of Peru, on the shores of the Pacifie Ocean, to the west and at a distance of about 15 km from the Historic Center of Lima, the capital of Peru. lt is located in the wide bay of Callao, near the base of the rocky peninsula of La Punta, on an elevated area that enjoys an uninterrupted panoramic view of the entire maritime area and the islands of San Lorenzo and El Fronton.

The western coast of America is a highly seismic area, which is why the city of Lima and the port of Callao suffered on multiple occasions from earthquakes. ln 1746, there was a major earthquake, the worst in the history of the central coast of Peru, which caused the collapse of buildings in Callao and Lima, and was accompanied by a tidal wave that devastated the entire port city (Augustin, 2011). This disaster provided the opportunity to plan better the operation and zoning of the port, placing the civilian population in a safe front and providing military defense to the bay of Callao. 

For this purpose, the new fortress was located in an isolated position, so that the enemy could not take advantage of the nearby buildings in case of landing, and in a strategic point that would facilitate the defense of the port of Callao. lt is worth mentioning that, given the advantages of its location, it was part of the system of "Sea Guards" of the Callao posting and the capital of Lima, established by its first owner Commander, the Brigadier of the Royal Navy, "Tomas de Ugarte y Liaiio" (map of 1801).

After the terrible earthquake and tidal wave of 1746, which destroyed the port of Callao and the city of Lima, Viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco - called Count of Superunda - organized the reconstruction of Callao, entrusting the task of projecting the new port city of Callao and its fortified defense to the renowned French mathematician, member of the Academy of Sciences of Paris, Luis Godin, who participated in the scientific expedition of the Academy of Sciences of Paris headed by Charles-Marie de La Condamine, recognized French naturalist, military and mathematician, to measure the terrestrial meridian in the equatorial Andes of the viceroyalty of Peru.

The mathematician Godin first determined the most advantageous location for the fortress, to later recommend its general characteristics, citing in a second report "The fortification that the Port of Callao needs can be a regular hexagon or a pentagon as it seems best to the Superior judgment of Your Excellency" (Lehmann, 1964). ln order to define the best possible design for the new fortress, the Viceroy commissioned José Amich, a Royal Navy pilot and mathematician, to analyze the details of the design of the proposed fortress, and to establish the budget and time frame for its execution. Finally, he also asked Juan Francisco Rossa, a Spanish expert in mathematics and fortifications, to provide an opinion on the joint report by Godin and Amich. 

Renowned scientists of the time participated in the design of the Real Felipe Fortress, applying the most recent advances in military science and engineering of the 18th century. 

In August 1747, under the direction of José Amich, the ceremony of the laying of the first stone was held and the work commenced, was baptized with the name of 'Real Felipe Fortress', in honor of the recently deceased King Felipe V. By 1761, the year in which the new viceroy Manuel Amat y Junyet arrived to Callao, the work was considered almost completed; however, the new viceroy would project a series of interventions to complement and improve the original design (Rodriguez & Perez, 1949), concluding its construction in 1774.

The work of the fortress was built in stone and lime masonry and in baked brick; with the exception of the Royal Gate and the interior facade of the knight of the bastion of San Felipe that were built in ashlar stone. The rocks used in the construction were extracted from quarries on the Island of San Lorenzo, due to the lack of suitable quarries on the mainland.

The fortress is a building of irregular pentagonal plant, which occupies an extension of 95,700 m2 approximately, surrounded by a moat; originally it had a glacis and a counter-scarp that surrounded it, but they were demolished by the urban growth of the port of Callao; it presents its more extensive front oriented toward the bay.

The wall has an outer perimeter of 1,536 m, the maximum width of its walkway is 22 m, the height of the wall is 4.30 m, the depth of the foundations is 1.80 m; it also has two entrances called the "Puerta Real" (Royal Gate) (main gate) and the "Puerta del Socorro o del Perdon" (Relief or Forgiveness Gate) (false gate), has six ramps for the ascent of artillery and troops, and a parapet that was originally made of adobe for its plasticity (Regal.1961), but was rebuilt in brick. 

The fortress has five bastions located at each vertex of the pentagon, distanced from each other between 100 m and 135 m approximately. The five bastions were named El Rey (The King), La Reina (The Queen), San Carlos, San Felipe and San José (Augustin, 2011); three of them have knights (El Rey, La Reina and San Felipe). The knights of "El Rey and La Reina" (The King and The Queen) are known as towers because of their cylindrical shape and are engraved with the date of completion of their construction ("Year of 1771" and "Year of 1774" respectively), these two knights were provided on the lower floor with warehouses, cells and a well to obtain water from the subsoil (Zapatero, 1983). While the San Felipe knight, with a rectangular floor plant is known as the "knight of the 12 cannons", and contains in its lower part four pump-proof cisterns, called "Casa del Gobernador" (Governor's House}, a casemate and on its facade the coats of arms of the kings of Spain were carved; it also had a water well in the lower level of the sloping roads.

The fortress reached to have at its service, during the government of viceroy Amat in 1776, a military endowment of 759 men (1 company of grenadiers, 8 companies of infantry and 1 company of artillery), and to house 211 pieces of artillery of diverse caliber (bronze cannons, iron cannons and bronze mortars), although most of these were in warehouse to provide to other places of the viceroyalty. Later, during the government of Viceroy Joaqufn de la Pezuela in 1816, the fortress had 400 infantrymen, 40 artillerymen and 25 cavalrymen.

Although the construction of the fortress had been completed, the following viceroys improved it directly or carried out works that accentuated its importance during the 18th and early 19th centuries, which were:

Viceroy Manuel de Guirior (1776 - 1780) He ordered the completion and smoothing of the glacis. ln addition, he ordered the design and construction of two forts located on the flanks of Real Felipe and facing the bay (Regal, 1961).

Viceroy Agustfn de Jâuregui (1780- 1784) He ordered the completion of the glacis and the construction of the two forts, which were named San Miguel and San Rafael (Regal, 1961).

Viceroy Teodoro de Croix (1784 - 1790) He ordered the reinforcement and design of the Callao pier.

Viceroy Frey Francisco Gil de Taboada y Lemos (1790 - 1796) He ordered the construction of a small ammunition dump on the grounds of Bellavista and ordered the improvement of the artillery services of the San Miguel and San Rafael forts (Regal, 1961).

Viceroy Ambrosio de O'Higgins (1796 - 1801) Decreed the layout and construction of the road from Lima to Callao (Regal, 1961).

Viceroy Marqués de Avilés (1801 - 1806) He ordered the repair of the caponier of Fort San Rafael and ordered the placement of battens inside the walls of Real Felipe (Regal, 1961).

Viceroy José Fernando de Abascal (1806- 1816) He ordered the construction of an exterior semi-hexagon with its respective moat, counter escarpment, parapet and drawbridge at each gate of the Real Felipe. ln addition, he ordered the construction of a cistern under the patrol path and adjacent to the bastion of San Felipe. lt should be noted that, as a result of the beginning of the independence movements in America, the casemate of the fortress began to serve as a prison for conspirators or prisoners from the battlefields (Regal, 1961).

ln this way, the design of the Real Felipe Fortress was perfected, constituting the most outstanding example of 18th century military architecture in South America, being one of the largest, best designed and most expensive fortifications built by the Spanish Crown and the only one of its kind on the coasts of the South Pacific; it also stands out among the port defense systems of the transcontinental maritime trade route of the Spanish Empire.

The Real Felipe Fortress is an essential part of Callao and its history. Although it is not as old as the Hispanic Callao created in the 16th century over a pre-Hispanic settlement called Chuica, the fortress has accompanied Callao for much of the history of the port, the country and the American continent. The previous fortifications can also be considered part of this history as a background of an experience that generated in the middle of the 18th century the need for a fortress that would respond to the technical demands of the military art of that century, of great technological and scientific changes. The Real Felipe Fortress has been an exceptional part of human history: modern colonialism throughout the Western Hemisphere (16th-19th centuries) as part of the disputes between European colonialist powers in the Western Hemisphere; as part of the anti-colonial struggles in the South American wars of independence (1780-1866); and as part of Peru's internal conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries that affirmed the republican regime with democratic foundations. The fortress has been a military objective of the first order and a place of imprisonment in the events corresponding to all these aspects (colonialism, wars of independence and internal conflicts). Additionally, the fortress has been and is a substantive part of the urban design of the city of Callao, one of the main ports of the Pacific basin.

Role of Callao in the Spanish colonial empire
Callao has a long pre-Hispanic history. lt has always been a fishing port and a link to other similar ports and coves along the Pacific Ocean coast. When the Spaniards founded the capital of their South American dominions in Lima in the 1530s, they did so take into account the excellent port they had in Callao, next to the indigenous fishing village of Chuica. Although created without the usual formalities at the time of founding cities, Callao grew in size and importance as the city of Lima also grew and became the capital of the vast and rich viceroyalty of Peru, with jurisdiction over all of Hispanic South America (from Panama to Tierra del Fuego). Most of the passengers and merchandise of the transatlantic and cabotage traffic of the most important viceroyalty created by Spain in the "lndies" entered and left through Callao. lt was the richest port of the Spanish overseas empire in the 16th- 18th centuries.

The wealth of the Peruvian viceroyalty became legendary throughout the world. Spain's adversaries sought to learn what was happening in Peru and were eager to steal (or share) this wealth. The dream of pirates, buccaneers and corsairs was to find at sea Spanish ships laden with precious metals from Peru and other colonies in America, in order to seize these treasures. lncreasingly, however, the European powers sought to wrest their colonies or parts of them from Spain in order to create their own colonies in the Western Hemisphere. As is well known, Spain's and Portugal's rivals gained numerous territories in many parts of the Americas. ln fact, the territories of modern countries such as Canada, the United States of America, Belize, the English, French and Dutch Guianas, and almost the entire Caribbean Sea basin remained in the hands of England, France and Holland.

Peru had an enviable natural protection in its geography for being in the Pacific, separated from the Atlantic coasts by the immense and impenetrable Amazon plain. Besides the lsthmus of Panama, the only entrance to the Pacific Ocean or South Sea was the Strait of Magellan, which was difficult to cross. ln fact, more than one enemy expedition had to turn back without being able to cross it. Without intermediate ports of rest and resupply, and with landing troops too few in number to represent a real danger, enemy expeditions in the 16th century were of little care. The venture was of the highest risk and required very considerable resources. This "impossible" mission could only be accomplished thanks to the effective support provided by the European crowns to the skilled individual sailors (corsairs); but it is also necessary to underline that the most successful expeditions were carried out not by corsairs (and, even less, by pirates), but by navies, as was the case of two of the expeditions sent by Holland to the Pacific Ocean. For this reason, none of the important attacks in this part of the world were made by pirates, although the generic name that historiography and literature give to the attackers is pirates. They were corsairs and smugglers (including the famous whaling ships) and, above all, they were naval fleets of great power for the time.

Threats from corsairs and navies of European countries
The illusion of Peru being protected by the enormous geographical distance began to fade with the first incursion into the Pacific Ocean in 1577, when the English sailor John Oxenham disembarked in the Darién and crossed the isthmus of Panama. Although the enemy was subdued, this first incursion demonstrated the fragility of the Pacific defenses and the need to convert Callao into a central point for the defense of the South American viceroyalty. ln fact, decisions and actions took longer than expected and a new threat arrived, this time more direct and terrifying.

lndeed, on the night of Friday, February 13, 1579, the experienced English sailor Francis Drake arrived at the Callao port after crossing the dangerous strait and sailing through the South Sea with a flotilla of three ships. lmmediately, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo organized the resistance of the coast of Callao. Upon seeing the preparations, Drake discarded the disembarkation of his forces, but managed to seize a ship arriving from Panama to Callao loaded with merchandise and, seeing that he could not disembark in the port, he sailed north, boarding on the way a ship with the fabulous booty of 360,000 pesos that, apparently, satisfied them because after exploring the coast to California, they headed west to complete the  second  circumnavigation  of  the  globe.  After the  military  anq1 economic  success  of Drake's incursion, others and foreign navies arrived. Although the flags differed, all the incursions coincided in their objective: to dispute Spain's control of South America and, in this way, the port of Callao became more and more central in the defense of the Spanish empire, a bastion of Catholicism against the attack of enemies that were both of Spanish colonialism and of the Catholic religion in times of the so-called religious counter­ reformation.

Following in Drake's footsteps, several English expeditions set out in search of repeating and surpassing his achievements. ln January 1587, the sailor Thomas Cavendish passed the strait, entered the Pacific and advanced to Arica , but when he arrived in Callao he was already expected because the chief magistrate of Arica had sent the notice in time. Seeing the resistance prepared in Callao under the command of the viceroy Count of Villardompardo, Cavendish did not dare to attempt an attack and, rather, continued his way north, limiting his actions to sacking and burning ports (in particular, Paita). ln Acapulco he boarded the ship Manila with merchandise from China before continuing his voyage to England along the same route followed by Drake years earlier.

The dangerous Strait of Magellan continued to be Peru's main defense. The port was strengthened with new artillery, but this was really insufficient to counter attacks that could be of great magnitude, such as the ones we are describing. ln January 1594, the flotilla of three ships of the English corsair Richard Hawkins appeared in the South Sea. Hawkins followed route directly to Callao, but the viceregal authorities were warned of the enemy incursion and prepared. This time, the Viceroy Marquis of Canete not only prepared the defense of the port, but also sent the colonial fleet to meet the enemies. The English captain had to head north, but was overtaken and defeated by the Peruvian colonial navy in front of Atacames at the beginning of July. ln December the English prisoners arrived in Callao, led by their daring captain.

These new incursions forced the viceregal authorities to take more into account the real danger that lurked. Some batteries were built to defend the port. However, it was not possible to establish a system of coastal defenses due to lack of financial and technological resources. lt was only after the Dutch attacks of 1615 and 1624 that the colonial authorities took the issue more seriously. Until then, the incursions had been by individual corsairs; but, from 1615 onwards, foreign navies could be expected. ln fact, as powerful as the forces brought by Oxenham, Drake, Cavendish and Hawkins were, the appearance in the Pacific of navies of rival European colonial powers of Spain changed the conditions for the defense of the Spanish empire in this part of the world. Callao was very vulnerable once the enemies reached the waters of the Pacific.

Since attacks could also occur on the high seas, the Spanish Crown and the colonial authorities of Peru decided to develop both fronts to organize the defense of their valuable colonies. On the one hand, they built a powerful naval fleet to accompany the commercial ships on their journey between the main ports and, above all, to send the treasures of Potosi and other Peruvian mines from Callao to Panama: the South Sea Armada. On the other hand, it was also decided to build a wall around Callao and thus turn the port into a fortified city. This option was also called "presidio" (fortified base).

Entering the 17th century, the Dutch became Spain's main rivals. One of their objectives was Peru and, in this context, the port of Callao suffered two Dutch sieges during this time. The first incursion took place at the beginning of 1600, when the corsair Olivier van Noort was able to cross the strait causing distress on the Peruvian coast. He did not enter the bay of Callao to see it protected and, rather, he decided to follow his course to the north, fleeing from the pursuit of the Peruvian colonial fleet sent to capture him, That first Dutch attack aroused the fear of the inhabitants and of the colonial authorities; but it was only the announcement that the Dutch were especially interested in Peru and willing to use all their resources in this venture.

In fact, on July 17, 1615, five ships of the Dutch West lndia Company's navy, under the command of Admirai Joris van Spilbergen, visited the Pacific. After avoiding the viceregal navy in front of Cerro Azul, the Dutch fleet appeared in front of Callao. The population of Callao and Lima awaited the Dutch enemy in the trenches and barricades that had been built on the beach and in the port. Seeing the preparations in the port, in the eight days that the siege lasted, Spilbergen's navy limited itself to launching a bombardment to the captain ship of the viceregal navy without trying to disembark, before leaving towards the north like other previous attackers. As a contemporary author notes: "Fortunately for Callao, if the viceroy had underestimated the Dutch danger, Spilbergen overestimated the port's defenses and did not dare to attempt a landing on the afternoon of July 21, when he emerged in the bay of Callao" (Quiroz; 2007: 72). 

Only after this attack, the colonial government decided to seriously address the problem of port defense. The viceroys Marquis of Montesclaros and Prince of Esquilache carried out important works for the defense: three batteries or forts displaced along the coastline of the port, the Boquer6n between the land and the island of San Lorenzo and the Mar Brava. Ali this served a decade later when the viceroyalty of Peru again suffered the aggression of a new Dutch navy in times of the viceroy Marquis of Guadalcazar. This time, it was the navy known as the "Nassau fleet", the largest fleet to sail the Pacifie Ocean up to that time, commanded by Admirai Jacques Clerke known as L'Hermite (The Hermit). Once again, what saved Callao was the timely warning from southern ports that sighted the enemy ships. L'Hermite arrived with a navy composed of twelve ships with a total of 274-gun ports and a military force of 1,637 landing men (including 200 sailors). He arrived at the Chalaca port on May 9, 1624 and established his base on San Lorenzo Island, from where he directed the siege of the port, which lasted for a hundred days. ln fact, the Dutch were ahead of the Peruvians in armament, but they were not able to disembark. The attempted invasion of the capital city was made at Marquez beach in Ventanilla, but the waves prevented them from approaching the shore. They were only able to set fire to some ships in the bay by sending fireboats (boats or canoes with burning gunpowder.) During that time, desertion and scurvy decimated the Dutch crew, which was actually composed of people from many European and Mediterranean countries. For example, eleven Greek sailors unsubordinated themselves by wanting to kill the admiral, but the squadron commander died of gout on May 17 at his base on the island. His replacement, officer Ghen Huien decided to return to Europe. The powerful Dutch fleet withdrew without being able to affect the port or the Peruvian colonial fleet.

The Presidio of Callao and its destruction in 1746
After this attack, the viceregal authorities decided to increase the port's defenses by erecting another five batteries or forts that completely surrounded the town. ln addition, a trench or casemate was built around the town on the Mar Brava side. For the first time, the defenses corresponded to a place like Callao, which was the entrance to the capital of the viceroyalty and emporium of Peruvian commerce. With this, Callao acquired the reputation of being impregnable. Although the fame was false, in any case, it served as a deterrent for potential enemies. 

The next step was the construction of a wall that joined the batteries, which was done in the decade of 1640, in the government of the viceroy Marquis of Mancera. With this perimeter fence, Callao changed its appearance and achieved the necessary defense in case of enemy disembarkation. The result was the  so-called  "presidio"  of  Callao (fortified base), which served as a deterrent to potential attackers of the port and the viceroyalty.

ln fact, the walls suffered from the pounding of the sea waves and from the two earthquakes and tsunamis that occurred in the 17th century (1678 and 1687). ln addition, the stone pier built between 1793 and 1796 deflected the waves, cutting the beach and eroding the foundations of the walls. As a result, there were destroyed or very weak sectors of the defensive fence. To solve this problem, the major cosmographer Pedro de Peralta Barnuevo proposed building a set of breakwaters to form an artificial beach at the foot of the walls once the land had been reclaimed from the sea. This system, which was later adopted in other ports around the world, was started in 1724 and, in only three years, the walls had been "moved far enough away" from the shore to carry out the work on their bases. The task was in charge of the military engineer Nicolas Rodriguez, author of the most precise plan ever made of the presidio (fortified base) (1728). 

The walled Callao was not impregnable, but from a distance it seemed so. More than a fortress, it was a moderately fortified port because its walls were simple (lacking an embankment capable of withstanding enemy artillery fire), its garrison was not well trained and the logistical material it had was not always sufficient to repel attackers. Perhaps the most famous of the potential attackers was the Englishman Anson, who in 1741 passed in front of Callao after sacking the port of Paita. 

The wall came to constitute a more solid defense against an enemy in the bay and an enemy in attitude of disembarkation. The work took seven years (1640-1647) and its design belonged to the engineer Captain Juan de Espinosa. lt had ten bastions called San Miguel, San Ignacio, Santa Cruz, Santa Catalina, Santiago, San Juan Bautista, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, San Luis and San Lorenzo, separated one from the other by a stretch of wall of 118 meters. On the shore of the Mar Mansa there were four platforms distributed in a distance of 1,372 meters between the bastions of San Miguel and San Lorenzo.

The wall was refurbished in the 1720s, but it did not survive the mass of water that on the night of October 28, 1746, followed one of the strongest earthquakes in the history of the Peruvian coast.

This earthquake on October 28 was the most devastating earthquake in the history of the central Peruvian coast and, consequently, also of Callao. The overnight earthquake of about 8 degrees (Richter scale) lasted approximately three minutes and completely destroyed the city of Lima and the port of Callao, as well as the numerous towns and villages in the area. A tsunami ensued, sweeping away buildings and people. As in the earthquake and tsunami of October 1687, the population was trapped inside the walled enclosure and unable to go out into the countryside. The wave could have reached six or seven meters, but it penetrated the mainland following the Callao stream, the lowest area of Callao, approximately one kilometer to the corner of the current Central Market (Salam and Colon streets). The mass of water also did damage when it returned to the sea after having destroyed everything in its path. The population of the port was estimated at about five thousand people. Of these, only about two hundred survived.

The viceroyalty government took advantage of the catastrophe to carry out the plan that had been in place for some time to use Callao only for defense tasks, removing the civilian population. Thus, a fortress was designed to replace the destroyed walled citadel (the presidio). The Real Felipe fortress was the result of studies that applied the most recent advances in military engineering thanks to the work of a team of French military engineers led by Louis Godin, who arrived in 1735 with the scientific expedition of the Academy of Sciences of Paris headed by Charles-Mariede La Condamine and stayed as a professor teaching mathematics course at the University of San Marcos in Lima. 

Engineer Godin thought of reorganizing the territory by distributing the civilian population (fishermen and merchants) in places away from the sea and the future fortress in order to achieve an optimal situation for defense as the main function that Callao should have in this new project. 

The civilian population was relocated to an elevated point on the esplanade of the Rimac valley, where the waters of the tidal wave had not reached a kilometer and a half from the shore and 34 meters above sea level. Because of the beauty of the landscape and in clear contrast to the catastrophic picture of Callao, the site was named Bellavista, and its functions were to constitute three important pillars: a storage center for merchants; a residential nucleus to replace the old town of Callao; and a population center to support the port (residence of the "playeros" (beach bums) or port employees and fishermen, mostly indigenous).

Construction of the Real Felipe Forstress (1747-1775)
As soon as the fear of the destruction of Lima and Callao had subsided somewhat, Viceroy Manso de Velasco gathered the specialists in the area to receive the proposals that the circumstances demanded to rebuild the defenses of Callao. ln a few days, the governor had before him the first sketches presented by the mathematicians and engineers Louis Godin (French, major cosmographer of the kingdom), José Amich and Juan Francisco Rossa.

The result of the deliberations was the project of an irregular pentagon of much smaller dimensions than the walls of the destroyed prison, but which guaranteed a greater capacity for the handling of artillery with less effort.

ln January 1747, work began on digging the trenches for the foundations, and on August 1, the groundbreaking ceremony took place. lt was basically completed in 1773, but in the following decades various additional works continued to be carried out. The pentagonal building including the moat covers 9.57 ha (95,700 m2) .

For such an ambitious and necessary construction to be truly impregnable, the condition was that there should be no other construction on the beach outside the fortress; that is, to leave the space completely clear so that the enemy could not take advantage of the nearby buildings in case of disembarking. But, once the fortress was finished, defense specialists realized that Real Felipe was vulnerable on its flanks and, to solve the problem, two auxiliary forts were built. On the northeast side, the San Miguel fort was built (between the current Constituci6n and Tarapacâ streets), inaugurated in 1782, and on the southwest, the San Rafael fort, in 1784. The latter was located on the site where today is the Santa Rosa square in the neighborhood of Chucuito.

Both forts were connected to Real Felipe by roads called covered roads; that is to say, a casemate for the movement of troops and armament between the fortress and the forts without being seen from the sea. The road that connected the fort of San Miguel started from the main entrance of the fortress and its route corresponded to the current Libertad Street. On its side, the road connecting the fort of San Rafael started from the so-called Puerta del Perdon (or false door) of the Real Felipe fortress, ran through the middle of the peninsula and gave rise to the current Gamarra Avenue.

The imposing figure of the fortress deterred the enemies of the Spanish Crown to the point that there was no attack on Callao since its construction in 1747 until lndependence, despite the unfriendly visit that several English ships made to the South Sea during that period. 

Faithful to their decision to militarize the "Beach" and concentrate the civilian population in Bellavista, the authorities thought of transforming Bellavista into a seaport. Since this did not work, they thought of turning Lima into a port city.  ln both cases, the idea was to build a canal from the shore to these points. The first took place immediately after the tidal wave of 1746, and the second in 1794.

A novelty to highlight was that the part of the beach used as port was another one. The original Callao was located from the current Grau square to the beginning of the district of La Punta. The New Callao arose on what was the town of fishermen lndians, Pitipiti el Nuevo; that is to say, towards the northeast of Real Felipe. The location of the fortress forced Callao to grow to the north and east. The new site was the lowest elevation, since it corresponded to the mouth of the Callao stream, which continued to be the source of water for the port and ships.

Thus, the Callao that we know as the old Callao emerged spontaneously, against the restrictions in force, but according to the needs of maritime trade. ln practice, this revival had similar characteristics to those that prevailed when it appeared in the 16th century as a Hispanic port.

Another building that arose on the beach was the arsenal of the navy. lt was created in 1797 for the organization of the seafaring and order in the port (the port captaincy had already been in operation since 1791). Used as a navy depot and equipped with its own artillery, it was located on the site now occupied by the Naval Museum. Next to it was a small chape! that was served by the chaplains of the arsenal or by one of the priests of Bellavista, to whose ecclesiastical district it belonged.

The Real Felipe Fortress in the Independence of South America (1800-1826)
Callao was perhaps the place that suffered the most during Peru's prolonged war of independence. As is well known, the war was characterized by an almost total absence of frontal battles, since except for those of Junin and Ayacucho, the other confrontations were small skirmishes. After the failure of the two Peruvian expeditions to intermediate ports in 1822 and 1823 to confront the royalist army in the southern highlands, the patriot forces led by Simon Bolivar were successful in Junin and Ayacucho (1824). ln Ayacucho, Peruvian and South American independence was sealed, but the fighting was far from over, especially in Callao.

ln this panorama, Callao had to experience confrontations that began long before 1820, ended after 1824 and were of a destructive force greater than that experienced in other parts of the country. Already in January 1816 Callao suffered the siege and bombardment of the three ships (Hercules, Trinidad and Halc6n) led by the Irish captain Guillermo Brown, admiral in chief of the lndependent Junta of Buenos Aires. This incursion failed mainly due to the tierce resistance exerted by the artillery of the Real Felipe fortress and the auxiliary coastal defenses. Brown had to withdraw, but not before leaving separatist propaganda among the coastal populations.

From then on, Callao was the object of numerous attacks by Argentine, Chilean and Peruvian pro-independence forces, as well as those loyal to Spain. From 1819 onwards, Callao was besieged by the separatist forces of Lord Thomas Cochrane, a British sailor under the orders of the Chilean government. Cochrane arrived twice in 1819 (February and August-September), but on both occasions his powerful fleet was expulsed by the artillery of the fortress and the forts of San Rafael and San Miguel. The experienced sailor will have a greater participation since the following year, when he arrived to the Peruvian central coast with the forces commanded by the Argentine General José de San Martin. Precisely, after the withdrawal of the viceregal army from Lima in July 1821 and the proclamation of lndependence on the 28th of the same month, Callao continued to be the bastion of the Spanish presence on the Peruvian coast. The patriot forces established an encirclement that by land was directed by General Gregorio de las Heras, which ended with the capitulation of the Real Felipe fortress that was commanded by the then Realist General José La Mar on September 21, 1821.

The fortress shows why it was impregnable. With the surrender of the fortress by General La Mar culminates a series of merciless attacks by land and sea in times of Peruvian lndependence. However, others will come. lt is that the lndependence of 1821 did not put an end to all the issues of the separation. 

With the surrender of Real Felipe, on September 21, 1821, the protector José de San Martin changed the names of the Real Felipe fortress and its auxiliary forts. The fortress was renamed "Castillo de la lndependencia" (lndependence Castle), the fort of San Miguel became known as "Castillo del Sol" (Sun Castle) and the fort of San Rafael as "Castillo de Santa Rosa" (Santa Rosa Castle). Another decree of October 15 changed the names of the bastions of Real Felipe to patriotic names. These new names generated the confusion that persists to this day of calling the Real Felipe a castle instead of a fortress.

Since the viceroy's forces were in the highlands and the patriot squadron commanded by Cochrane and Admirai Guisse dominated the coast, Callao was ratified as the nodal point of the struggles. Controlling Callao was key for the control of the capital (and the country in general). This was manifested in the fact that, during the three long years that the separatist war continued, especially on the various occasions when the Spanish forces came to take the capital, their priority was to control the famous fortress. However, the fortress was also the object of discord in the internal wars that took place between the supporters of the two main Peruvian warlords in 1821-1823: the forces loyal to José de la Riva Agüero and the Marquis of Torre Tagle. The fortress returned to the hands of the royalists only because an unfortunate uprising took place on February 5, 1824, led by the Argentine sergeant Damaso Moyano. Moyano demanded the payment of his profits, but his action was taken advantage of by the Spanish prisoners to declare Spanish rule in Callao. Thus, without firing a shot, the vice royal forces recovered a fortress that was impossible to take by assault.

Finally, the fortress of Callao was the scene of the confrontation that ended Spanish rule in Peru and Hispanic South America: the siege that the separatists imposed on the Spanish and Peruvian royalists who stubbornly refused to recognize the victory of the patriot forces commanded by General Antonio José de Sucre in Ayacucho. The royalists opposed to the surrender achieved in Ayacucho, resisted under the command of Brigadier Ramon Rodil for thirteen months after the battle of Ayacucho until they surrendered in January 1826. Once again, the fortress of Callao proved its value: it was never taken by force, neither by land nor by sea, nor by combined forces, and it was the last place of the Spanish Empire in South America.

As a result of the War of lndependence, Callao and Bellavista were destroyed (Juan Pedro Paz Soldan, ed. 1920-1921, pages 29-36; and M. Daria Arrus, 1904, pages 56-57).

The Real Felipe Fortress in the political struggles of the 19th century 
After the war, Callao was gradually reestablished. ln fact, Callao was re-founded after lndependence. Bellavista was less fortunate because the colonial prohibitions ceased to have any effect and the interests of the merchants from Limaand Callao must have weighed in. ln other words, the inhabitants and merchants continued, to occupy the land on the beach belonging to the State while the military authorities of Callao and the municipal authorities of Lima lacked a policy in this regard. 

Already in the republic, Callao endured the intestine fights of the warlords and external attacks. The main ones were the siege imposed in 1834 by the Gamarra forces against President Luis José de Orbegoso. On that occasion, the people of Callao rejected Gamarra's usurper attempt and obtained the title of "Faithful and generous city of Callao. Asylum of the laws and of the freedom"; the diverse warlike encounters happened between 1835 and 1838 during the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation; the day of April 22 of 1857 was more a confrontation of the civil population of Callao against the forces disembarked in the port and that obeyed to the general Mariano Ignacio de Vivanco, rebel against the regime of Ramon Castilla and, for that reason, the fortress did not have a relevant participation; and the assault on the fortress in July 1872 by part of the Chalaca population against the attempt of Colonel Marcelino Gutiérrez to prevent the elected president Manuel Pardo from assuming the presidency. Already "retired" the Real Felipe would continue to serve in the defense when on May 2, 1866 Callao played a central role in the rejection of the Spanish pretensions to recover Peru and South America (Basadre, 1961-1963, v. I p. 70).

The regime of the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation wanted to boost Callao's trade. With the lndependence, Callao acquired serious opponents in the American Pacific. The old Spanish commercial monopoly had been eliminated in the second half of the 18th century, but Callao remained the main port on this side of South America. After lndependence, things began to change because Peru had restrictive trade policies and lacked a program to improve its ports to turn them into warehousing and transit ports. By the 1830s, the port "war" was being won by Valparaiso. Bath General Andrés de Santa Cruz and General José Luis de Orbegoso deployed liberal policies that were to favor trade and the Peruvian economy in general. The Santa Cruz decree of September 10, 1836 opened all Peruvian ports to foreign traffic. Rather, the elimination of the Confederation brought with it a new trade regulation of 1840 that reduced the possibilities of Peruvian ports in relation to Valparaiso, until  the trade regulation of 1852 returned to a free-trade character (Jorge Basadre, 1961-1963, v. Il pages 593-594, 987-988; Paul Gootenberg, 1997).

The Confederation undertook a series of measures to modernize the port facilities. The two main ones were the improvement of the wharf and the customs house. ln 1837 the wharf was secured, maintained and upgraded with a railroad track with muscle cars to carry cargo from the wharf to the customs house. The introduction of steamships in 1840 gave an important turn by boosting maritime transportation with foreign and domestic ports. ln 1836 the customs office was transferred to Callao from Lima. This fact had an immediate effect on Callao and especially on Real Felipe. 

The fortress was converted into a customs house. The wharf had been left in a place with very little space for port services. The small adjoining square (Plaza del Pueblo and Plaza Grau) was very insufficient for the operations annexed to the port. Even when railroads were built later, they would have to bypass the fortress to go to the capital. Hence, the only possible place to establish the customs house and its warehouses was the fortress. Especially, when an attempt was made to demilitarize the fortress because it was a place of first order in the internal fights between military warlords (Gaceta del gobierno. Lima. Edition of Saturday, October 6, 1821 p. 112. Basadre, 1962, v. Il p. 594; Florez Nohesell).

The Real Felipe Fortress in the Continental Defense of 1862-1866
At the beginning of the second half of the 19th century, a new stage in colonialism in the New World could be observed. The advanced European countries were disputing the territories of Asia, Africa and Oceania and looked to Latin America as a place of expansion despite the fact that our countries had already had four decades of independent lite and would defend their sovereignty against any threat. However, for example, French pretensions succeeded in 1863 in Mexico, which was invaded by the imperial France of Napoleon Bonaparte Ill.

The clearest threat in South America was generated by Spain in 1864-1866 in an attempt to reestablish its control in the countries of the South American Pacific. The common threat demanded common action and so the American Alliance was formed between Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. ln April 1864, the powerful Spanish navy seized the guano-rich islands off Chincha. The Peruvian government of Juan Antonio Pezet accepted the pressure and signed the infamous Vivanco-Pareja Treaty that recognized unacceptable Spanish demands. General Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco was appointed minister plenipotentiary to negotiate with Spanish General José Manuel Pareja and on January 27, 1865 they signed the agreement which, among other things, recognized the payment of three million Spanish pesos as compensation to the aggressor squadron. Although it is true that as a result of this tact Spain returned the Guano Islands, the treaty dented Peruvian national dignity.

The dictatorship of Mariano Ignacio Prado declared war against Spain on January 14, 1866. José Galvez was Minister of War and Navy. Actions took place in southern waters. After the naval combat of Abtao (February 7, 1866) where the allied Peruvian and Chilean ships forced the Spanish squadron to retreat, the Spanish forces carried out a terrible bombardment of Valparaiso on March 31. Attempting to do the same in Callao, the Spanish navy began the blockade of the main Peruvian port on April 25 with five frigates, a schooner and several auxiliary steamers.

The defenses of Callao were deployed along the shore. Batteries and forts (Santa Rosa de Chucuito), the Torre de la Merced, etc. were established. The Real Felipe fortress served as a central point in the defense actions. The turrets were adapted to accommodate modern artillery with mobile platforms. Several of these batteries were still unfinished on the morning of May 2 when the tires were unleashed.

By two o'clock in the afternoon, the Spanish forces were significantly diminished by two of their main units out of action. Shortly after, two other enemy units had to retreat. ln these conditions and after prolonging the fight for two more hours, the Spanish commander gave the order to cease fire and the squadron withdrew to a point safe from Peruvian gunfire. The buildings of Callao did not suffer much damage. On the other hand, 64 Peruvians died in the combat. 

This is how in the waters of Callao the lndependence of South America was sealed. The campaign, unjustly imposed by the imperial pretensions of Spain, had as a positive aspect the unity of Latin America in its joint struggle for freedom and dignity of the nations that composed it.

Callao in the War with Chile (1879-1883)
By the end of the 19th century, the Real Felipe was a "retired" fortress. Modern military technology far surpassed the capacity of an 18th century fortress. Having been the product of the greatest advances in military engineering of its century, a hundred years after its inauguration the Real Felipe would not withstand the bombardment of the artillery pieces available by the enemies of 1880. ln any case, the fortress was a military objective of great interest for an enemy after the disembarkation because it couId be used for other purposes in the conduct of the war. But, in the meantime, in the defense of the port the small boats (called "subtle") that on May 24 and 25, 1880 had a successful confrontation with the Chilean torpedo boats in the roadstead of the port of Chalaco had greater importance. These actions counted on the protection of the artillery that guarded the port, including the one located in the Real Felipe fortress.

Real Felipe in the 20th century
Real Felipe enters the 20th century with the same functions it had before. That is to say, it was maintained as a barracks and, above all, it was the main customs house of the country. ln a country that was being rebuilt after the disastrous war with Chile (1879-1883), its main port needed to be modernized because the port constructions of the previous century had become obsolete (the wharf-dock and the customs house in the fortress). For this reason, several projects were undertaken to adapt the port to the new maritime navigation requirements of the time, including the transfer of the port to San Lorenzo Island (1914). The decision was made to upgrade the port by expanding its space with a dock (an artificial bay defined by breakwaters) and a large space to the north for port operations, including the use of land reclaimed from the sea (the former "Poza" (Pool)). This project was not carried out until the late 1920s, but it took more than a decade of work. The new and modern Maritime Terminal, partially inaugurated in 1934, included rooms for customs and warehouses. For this reason, the Real Felipe fortress was not to continue to fulfill these functions. The centenary of the lndependence, the Battle of Ayacucho and the Capitulation of Rodil (1921-1926) was the framework in which the Real Felipe returned to serve only as a military establishment and, later, as a historical museum. lt is worth mentioning that the fortress keeps in the collection of the Museum of the Army Real Felipe Fortress valuable testimonies of armament of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries as well as military clothing and patriotic symbols of those times, which enriches the cultural and historical values associated with the fortress.

Real Felipe of Callao will continue to be the scene and protagonist of various historical events during the twentieth century. One of them was the uprising of the troops on October 3, 1948 against the government of José Luis Bustamante Rivera. Originated by the 'political movement "aprismo" (as indicated on the commemorative plaque at the main entrance to the fortress), the uprising was crushed with blood and tire.

Thus, the Real Felipe Fortress represents the successful defensive force of the port of Callao against the attacks of the European colonialist powers that tried to take South America from the Spanish Empire, with Callao being the "key" of access to the capital that ruled over all of Hispanic South America. That is to say, the fortress of Callao was the scene and protagonist of the struggles between colonialist powers in the 18th century, contributing to the protection of the transcontinental routes of the maritime commerce of the Spanish Empire in the South Pacific. ln the following century, the Chalaca fortress was also the scene and protagonist of Peru's separatist struggles against Spanish colonialism (at least from 1816 to 1826). The patriot victory took place precisely in Callao during the last act of the war: the so-called second siege of Callao (December 1824 - January 1826) against the Spanish General Rodil. ln other words, the fortress also participated in another global event: the decolonization of the Americas at the beginning of the 19th century and the last place of the Spanish Empire in South America.

Restoration performed
- The restoration of the Real Felipe Fortess of 1925-1926
The Real Felipe fortress also played a central role in other national and international events. Among the national events, the caudillist struggles that sought to consolidate the republican principles in the former Hispanic America stand out. That is, the formation of national states with republican forms of government and inclusive (democratic) orientation.

Among the international events, Callao and its famous fortress played a very special role in the defense of the integrity and independence of the South Americah countries (Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Peru) against the serious aggression that a renewed Spain attempted in 1863-1866 and that was stopped in the waters and the coast of Callao on May 2, 1866. Likewise, the Callao fortress played an important role in the defense of the port of Callao in the defense of Lima during the invasion of the Chilean forces in the War with Chile (1879- 1883).

This fortress, then, has been the scene and protagonist of major events in the history of the West (colonialism, anti-colonialism, formation of the democratic nation-state), was also an important part of the defense systems of the transcontinental maritime trade routes of the Spanish Empire in the South Pacific, and represents a milestone of military architecture and engineering of the eighteenth century in America, being the only one of its kind in South America.

ln the year 1925, President Augusto B. Leguia decided to restore the fortress, for which he paid the municipality of Callao for the acquisition of a new municipal building.  ln addition, on October 9 and 10, by means of two Supreme Decrees, the primitive name of Real Felipe Fortress was restored (de la Barra, 1954).

On October 19, authorization was granted to the North American company The Foundation Company to proceed with the restoration of the fortress (Editorial of the magazine Ciudad y Campo y Caminos, 1925), being members of the Inspection Commission of the works Coronel Aguila, Commander German Stiglich, the painter Daniel Hernandez, the architect Manuel Piquerad Cotolf and doctor Pedro Dulanto (Editorial of the magazine Variedades, 1925).

The works involved the lifting of the railroad lines, the closing of the third gate and the demolition of the buildings attached to the monument. ln addition, the clock tower and the open gallery of the customs house were demolished, and a parapet was built, whlch was designed by the painter Daniel Hernandez and the architect and sculptor Piqueras Cotoli (Bravo, B. & Bravo, P., 1964). Also, the exterior walls were cleaned and the moat surrounding the fortress was reconstructed. 

ln addition, on January 11, 1925, the Supreme Resolution was issued that gave rise to the creation of the Museum of Real Felipe, which occupied the vaulted cisterns of the bastion of San Felipe, but only for a short time, since its exhibits were returned to the Museum of the Republic (de la Barra, 1954).

Thus, on January 23, 1926, the first centenary of the capitulation of Rodil was commemorated in the facade of the Real Felipe Fortress (de la Barra, 1954). 

The architect Rafael Marquina y Bueno belonged to the first generation of restoration architects of the first moment in the history of restoration in Peru (Hayakawa, 2010) and this intervention was prior to any international charter for the restoration of built heritage. For this reason, the intervention was done in a 'facadeist' manner, since it only concentrated on the external faces of the fortress, and it was a restoration in style. The latter can be seen in the design of the parapet, which only responded to an aesthetic need to resemble the idea of a fortress parapet. Even so, the materiality of the wall was preserved and rescued, and there was minimal intervention, since the restoration in style was only limited to the parapet.

The restoration of the Real Felipe Fortress in 1965-1967
ln October 1962, the Metropolitan Deliberative Board of Historical and Artistic Monuments and Archeological Sites of Lima, composed of architects Rafael Marquina y Bueno, Héctor Velarde Bergmann, José Garcia Bryce and Victor Pimentel Gurmendi, assigned the fotlowing rating to the Real Felipe Fortress:
Class A: Historical and artistic monument. Work linked to a historical fact or personage, and which also has aesthetic, architectural and/or historical-artistic value.
Category A: Monument to be totally preserved.
Quality A: Monument of excellent quality, remarkable for the beauty or strength of its architectural expression, the interest of its spaces, its excellent unity or the balance between its parts. They constitute especially important works for the history of Lima's architecture.

Monument affected with Double lntangibility for its historical and architectural value.

At the request of the Centro de Estudios Histôrico-Militares del Peru -CEHMP-, under the presidency of General Felipe de la Barra, the Corporaciôn de Turismo del Peru - COTURPeru- financed and executed the restoration works (La Prensa, 1966). The president of the Restoration Commission of Real Felipe was the engineer Agustin Tovar de Albertis (Editorial of the newspaper La Crônica, 1966), who collaborated with the architects Victor Pimente! and Héctor Velarde, of COTURPeru (Editorial of the newspaper El Comercio, 1965). The restoration works were executed in the bastion of San Felipe and the 'Caballero de los 12 Cariones' (Knight of the 12 Cannons), but they were left unfinished due to lack of economic resources. lt is worth mentioning that during the works the ramps of ascent to the bastion of San Felipe were discovered (Editorial of the newspaper El Comercio, 1966) and an overpass, which was built because of a water well (Editorial of the newspaper La Prensa, 1966).

Also, the buildings surrounding the fortress were demolished and freed (Editorial of the newspaper El Comercio, 1965), in order to have areas that function as a buffer "zone with respect to the city and from which to appreciate the fortress in its entirety.

Architect Victor Pimentel, who participated in the drafting of the 'International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites' (Venice Charter) (Hayakawa, 2014), was involved in the restoration work of the fortress. Therefore, scientific principles were followed and the authenticity of the monument was safeguarded as the historical testimony, thus complying with most of the intervention criteria stipulated in the Venice Charter. lt should be remembered that the architect Victor Pimentel belonged to the first generation of restoration architects, with a more orthodox profile, of the second moment in the history of restoration in Peru (Hayakawa, 2010).

The restoration of the Real Felipe Fortress of 1972-1974

During the government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado, the restoration works were restarted under the auspices of the National Commission of the Sesquicentennial of the lndependence of Peru, which proposed the lntegral Project of Restoration and Museological Adequacy of the Real Felipe Fortress. The execution of the project and supervision of the restoration works was in charge of the architect Victor Pimentel (National Commission of the Sesquicentennial of the lndependence of Peru, 1971). The works involved the completion of the restoration of the bastion of San Felipe, its knight and its cisterns, as well as the restoration of the patrol path -from the Puerta del Socorro (Relief or Forgiveness Gate) to the bastion of San Fèlipe- and the restoration of 3 ascending ramps. The Royal Gate was also restored -reconstructing the pediment-, the Puertal del Socorro and the carpentry of the gates of the two entrances (National Commission of the Sesquicentennial of the Independence of Peru, 1975). 

The military government, the proximity of the sesquicentennial of the independence of Peru and the implementation of the "Cultural Tourism" approach favored the restoration project of the Real Felipe Fortress to be retaken, finalized and to have more funding. Victor Pimentel's participation helped the intervention to follow historical evidence, to be supported by historical and archaeological research, and to preserve the testimonial character of the monument.

The restoration of the Real Felipe Fortress 1983-1994

From this year on, the restoration works were carried out inside and outside the Real Felipe in charge of the Army Museum, the restoration direction was directed by the director of the Army Museums, General Herrmann Hamann (Editorial of the newspaper El Comercio, 1993).

The knight of the King's bastion was intervened, building two upper levels. The portholes and sentry boxes of the wall and the drawbridge of the Royal Gate were also restored (Pimentel, 1986).

Although General Herrmann Hamann's intervention did not strictly comply with most of the criteria for intervention of the built heritage, the monument still retains most of its original features.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

The Real Felipe Fortress of Callao is a notable and representative example of the military port fortifications in America in the 18th century. lts construction allowed the effective protection of the port of Callao, the richest and most important of the Spanish viceroyalties and intendancies in South America during the 16th and 18th centuries, from the attacks of corsairs and fleets of the European powers that were enemies of the Spanish Empire. ln its design participated renowned scientists and experts in military fortifications of the time, considering also the experiences of the Spanish fortifications built mainly in the Caribbean Sea during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Due to its architectural characteristics, location and magnitude, the Real Felipe Fortress of Callao is unique in its kind in South America and illustrates the greatest achievements in the design and construction of the ancient port defense systems of the transcontinental maritime trade routes of the Spanish Empire in South and Central America.

This fortress is an inseparable part of the history of the port of Callao, of Peru, of South America and of humanity, because it was the scene and protagonist of the struggles between colonialist powers in the 18th century (modern colonialism), and during the 19th century of the separatist struggles of Peru with respect to the Spanish Empire, being the last Spanish square in South America to surrender in January 1826 (decolonization of the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries). He was also a central protagonist in other important national historical events such as the struggles to consolidate the republican principles in Hispanic America, and international events such as the war against Spain (1863 to 1866), for the defense of the independence of Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Peru, which was stopped in the waters of Callao on May 2, 1866. lt is worth mentioning that it also played an important role in the defense of the port of Callao and in the defense of Lima during the invasion of the Chilean forces in the War with Chile (1879-1883). 

After more than 240 years of existence, the Real Felipe Fortress still preserves its original dimensions, the great majority of its characteristic building attributes in a good state of conservation, and its military function, since it houses the barracks of the Motorized lnfantry Battalion "Peruvian Legion" N° 1; lt is also the headquarters of the Permanent Commission of History of the Peruvian Army, of the Directorate of Museums of the Peruvian Army, and constitutes the Museum of the Real Felipe Fortress Army, so in addition to being the most representative historical landmark of the port of Callao, it provides valuable cultural and educational services to the local and national community.

The inclusion of the Real Felipe Fortress of Callao in the World Heritage List makes an important contribution to complete the representation of this type of cultural heritage with respect to Latin America, as it is an essential part of the history of the American continent. ln this way, it favors the establishment of a representative, balanced and credible list, in accordance with the objectives of the Global Strategy of the World Heritage Committee.

Criterion (iv): The Real Felipe Fortress represents one of the greatest achievements of military architecture corresponding to the ancient port defense systems of the transcontinental maritime trade routes of the Spanish Empire in South and Central America during the 18th century, being the largest and only fortress of its kind on the coasts of the South Pacific. Built to protect the port of Callao, the richest and most important port of the Viceroyalty of Peru and South America, in its design the best advances in military science and engineering of the time were applied, incorporating the experiences of the European world and in particular the Spanish military constructions in America, developed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Caribbean Sea; it also retains its original dimensions, military function and most of its characteristic building attributes.

The Real Felipe Fortress is an essential part of the history of the port of Callao, Peru and the American Continent, and also of human history, as it has been the scene and protagonist of the disputes between the European colonial powers during modern colonialism in the Western Hemisphere (16th-19th centuries); as part of the anti-colonial struggles in the wars of independence in South America (1780-1866); and as part of the internal conflicts of Peru in the 19th and 20th centuries that affirmed its republican regime with democratic foundations.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


All the original attributes of form and design, materials and substance, construction techniques, function, location, and landscape environment that have characterized this fortification of the port of Callao for more than 240 years of existence are present in the Real Felipe Fortress.

The conservation and restoration interventions carried out by the Peruvian State during the 20th century applied to a great extent the principles and recommendations established in the International Charters on the conservation of monuments, which has allowed maintaining the authenticity of the design, materials, and constructive systems of the building. Likewise, the fortress maintains its military use and function and also incorporates other compatible contemporary uses, such as the Army Museum; constituting the most important urban landmark of the port of Callao and a symbol of identity of the inhabitants.

The fortress has important historical documentary records that allow to know the time of construction and its general and building characteristics, in addition to the modifications and additions made over time and that are part of its evolutionary history, making it possible to recognize the general authenticity of its factory and origin of the architectural components. Likewise, it preserves in the collection of the Museum of the Real Felipe Fortress Army important testimonies of the armament, military clothing and patriotic symbols of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

lts privileged location, near the base of the rocky peninsula of La Punta, preserves an uninterrupted panoramic view of the entire bay of Callao and the islands of San Lorenzo and El Fronton, even though the urban area of the port of Callao now surrounds it.


The Real Felipe Fortress maintains in general complete its typological, constructive, formal, and original site characteristics that express its architectural, urban, and historical values, as well as its use and function as a military building; being present ail the exceptional attributes that allow its recognition and reading, in addition to presenting its original and sufficient size to adequately ensure the representation of the Outstanding Universal Value. All its architectural components are in a good state of conservation, maintaining the physical integrity of the structures and architectural details.

Regarding the physical surroundings of the fortress, it has public green areas almost all around it, and the nearby buildings maintain an adequate height with respect to the main views of this important building. There are still challenges in relation to some of the neighboring historic monuments that are in a poor state of preservation.

The fortress is part of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation, being declared National Monument "Castillo del Real Felipe del Callao" (Real Felipe Castle of Callao) by Law No. 11841 of May 19, 1952; it is also part of the Monumental Zone of Callao declared by Supreme Resolution No. 2900 of December 28, 1972, and whose limits are specified by Chief Resolution No. 159- INC of March 22, 1990. lt is legally protected by the State through Law No. 28296 General Law of Cultural Heritage of the Nation, its Regulations (Supreme Decree No. 011-2006-ED) and the Political Constitution of Peru, in addition to other complementary regulations. The protection and supervision of the fortress is in charge of the Ministry of Culture through its Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Callao, sharing responsibilities with the Provincial Municipality of Callao and the Regional Government of Callao, according to Law No. 28296, Law No. 27972 Organic Law of Municipalities and Law No. 27867 Organic Law of Regional Governments: being its administration in charge of the Army of Peru.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The Spanish Empire built coastal fortifications and defenses in the main ports of its viceroyalties and intendencies in America, mainly throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, as a response to the attacks of pirates, corsairs, and navies of the adversary European powers (England, France, Holland and Portugal), whose objective was to take control of the world's maritime routes or the wealth they were transporting. These fortifications evolved over time and went from being simple forts to defensive systems of colossal constructions, castles, forts, fortresses designed by European military engineers who incorporated the most advanced construction and military defense techniques of their time.

The Fortress of Real Felipe del Callao, built since 1747, incorporated the vast constructive and architectural experience gained by the Spanish Empire since the 16th century, as by then systemic fortifications had already been built in Santo Domingo, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Cartagena de lndias in Colombia, Nombre de Dios and Porto Belo in Panama, San Juan de Ulua in Veracruz Mexico, Havana Cuba, among others. Therefore, it achieved a remarkable design and construction, which was perfected during the 28 years of its construction, reaching an impregnable power and position, a condition it maintained until beyond the mid-nineteenth century.

There are fortifications in Latin America of diverse design and dimensions that played a role of transcendental importance and that represent highly significant historical stages for humanity due to the events that took place during the viceroyalty, independence, the beginnings of the republics and the consolidation of the current Latin American democracies. For this reason, many of them have been recognized for their Outstanding Universal Value and have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but they are concentrated in the Caribbean Sea and represent almost exclusively the 16th and 17th centuries, as will be seen below:



Location relative to the sea


Cultural Property

Affiliation (century)

Year of registration

Registration Criteria







Caribbean Sea


Historie Fortified Town of Camoeche



(ii) (iv)

Walled port City


San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba



 (iv) (v)

Defensive complex composed of forts, ammunition dumps, bastions and batteries.

Old Havana and its Fortification System



(iv) (v)

Historical center and defensive complex consisting of fortress, castles, turrets, bastions, forts, ammunition dump and walls.



Location relative to the sea


 Cultural Property

Affiliation (century)

Year of registration

Registration Criteria


Caribbean Sea

Dominican Republic

 Colonial City of Santo Domingo



(ii) (iv) (vi)

Historical center and defensive complex composed of forts, bastions and walls.


Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena de lndias



 (iv) (vi)


Historical center and defensive complex composed of fortresses, castle, walls and baslioned oort.


Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historie Site in Puerto Rico




Defensive complex composed of fortress, caslles, fort and walls.


Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo and San Lorenzo



(i) (iv)

Defensive complexes composed of forts, caslles, bunker, fortress, ammunition dumo and batteries.

Atlantic Ocean


Historie Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento




Historie center, barracks and walls.

7 in the Caribbean Sea, 1 in Atlantic Ocean

7 countries

8 sites

4 of the 16th century 4 of the 17th century

5 historical centers with fortifications.
3 defensive military complexes.

As can be seen in the table above, almost all the old Spanish port fortifications in the Americas inscribed on the World Heritage List are located in the Caribbean Sea; moreover, without exclusion their construction began in the 16th or 17th century, receiving later extensions and adaptations during the following centuries. Likewise, the aforementioned fortifications inscribed on the World Heritage List are included with the historic center of the city in which they are located and are defensive military complexes with several different components distributed throughout the territory.

The case of the Real Felipe Fortress of Callao is different it was designed and built during the 18th century, it is an individual building, the largest and unique fortress of its kind in South America, being the most important port defense of the South Pacific coasts.