This construction is a part of the system of military fortifications that were built in the country in the 17th century with the goal of protecting the major city of the Island from the attacks.
It belongs to the system of Havana’s fortifications, declared Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO.
Sometimes the everyday life makes us to look something without seeing it. A near example is the Cojíimar’s tower or small fort, located in this coastal region, belonging to the capital of the country, where many of its inhabitants do not appreciate it as a part of their daily routine of life.
So we see that most part of the times they link the place, not with an antique Spanish fortress, but with the American writer Ernest Hemingway, whom inspired in the town and its people wrote the book The Old Man and the Sea; it is also connected with the international event of the Needle’s fishing which made the region famous.
The history depicts that the governor Pedro Valdés proposed the tower’s construction at the beginning of the 17th century, and other governors repeated its necessity. In 1633 after the visit of a commission which was entrusted of reporting about the theme by the Military Junta of the Council of Indias, it was ordered its urgent construction by the Real Warrant of the January 30th 1635; the funds had to be placed by Mexico.
However, nothing was done until the Álvaro de Luna’s term of office, whom afraid of an attack from Dutch and Portuguese, was hurry to construct it with the neighbors’ finances, due to Mexico didn’t remitted the funds.
For leading the works, de Luna ordered to call the military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli (Junior), who understood the haste of the tower’s construction.
The people from Havana were curious then, and they asked themselves how it would be at the end, until the military work took form thanks to the engineer Antonelli, being finished in July 15th 1649.
He agreed that it would be square, with eighty feet of side and forty of high, and it would have five cannons at the high of twenty feet and other six in the deck; besides it was built a fixed stair separated from the tower, joined to it by a drawbridge, he added dungeons, warehouses and barrack huts for accommodating till fifty men - affirm the experts in the subject matter-.
He built a mean of protection so the people from Havana could walk trusted along the streets, without thinking that criminals would invade the city, using the sea routes, in search of wealth.
Joined to its twin the Chorrera’s one, they had a cost of twenty thousand ducats each one, for safeguarding the coast’s surroundings and they were declared as National Historical Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO in 1976 and since then they belonged to the military fortifications system of Havana.
The Cojímar’s tower was ended on July 15th 1649, little time after its twin of the La Chorrera.
In 1762, the Cojímar’s tower was neutralized by the fire of the English warships and it served for control post during the first day of invasion. From there Pepe Antonio, hero of the popular resistance, fought the intruders, he defended the city from its walls but without final success, due to the invaders took it.
In a more particular way it is affirmed that it is a military construction which in its surrounding areas people from Cojímar grow up – it is the most antique population settlement of the Eastern Havana’s territory-.
It was destroyed by the English invaders when taking the city; rebuilt after the British domination, it comes to the current times as a tower in the most exact word’s sense, and one of the emblematic places of Havana.
(Sources: Ecured and other journalistic articles)
By: Teresa Valenzuela