The city of Cumaná is located in the north-east of Venezuela. It is a small city with 450,000 inhabitants according to the projection of the last population census carried out by the INE (National Statistics Institute, 2011).

The foundation of Cumaná is celebrated every November 27, and the Cumans also celebrate being the first city founded in the Americas.

As everyone knows well on the third voyage of Christopher Columbus, the vessels arrived on the mainland for the first time. The landing was Macuro, a small town located on the Paria Peninsula. But the navigators did not realize that they had reached the mainland and that Macuro was part of a great continent known today as America.

Source: Google Map

The first city, in which the Spaniards of the time settled after their third trip, was on the Island of Cubagua. There they extracted many pearls but the city was destroyed by a tsunami in the year 1541. Today there are only a few ruins left.

Therefore, the Cumaná Foundation, which dates from 1515, is considered the first city in the Americas. However, some historians argue that the Venezuelan population "La Vela de Coro" is really the first city of the continent since there are documents, in the archives of the Indies (located in Seville - Spain), which indicate the acute political, legal organization, economic and religious in that town.

In any case, that struggle between historians has not been defined and Cumaná remains “The Firstborn,” as several historians and the Cumans themselves defend.

According to La Real Cédula of July 2, 1513, Spaniards were forbidden to make contact with Aboriginal people without the authorization of Catholic religious. This aspect is very relevant to highlight since it is the most convincing explanation of why the city of Cumana was primarily a missionary seat (Franciscan) and not a town of Spaniards. In summary, Cumaná arises from a process of evangelization monitored or controlled from the religious organizations established in Santo Domingo.

But, to be loyal to the story, the conformation of the city of Cumana was not entirely peaceful. The process of conquest and colonization was cruel as in many other settlements and as a result the aborigines, native residents of these lands, attacked the Spaniards with some periodicity.

Source: Google Map

During that period of colonization, San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle was built on Cerro Pan de Azúcar to defend the city between 1559 and 1686 (approximately; the date is not accurate in the revised documents).

Detail. Lion heads

The plan of this building has four points, like a star, each one oriented with the cardinal points. From the checkpoints you can see the city, its Manzanares River and the mouth towards the Gulf of Cariaco, as well as the Araya Peninsula.

Visual towards the square of the government. Today Bolivar Square

Visual from the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle towards the Cathedral Church. In the background the Araya Peninsula.

Visual from the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle towards the Santa Inés Church. In the background the sea - San Luis Beach.

Visiting the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle is very easy if you are in the city center. You can get there by walking through the San Francisco neighborhood (historic center) which also has beautiful houses and lots of history.

As the Castle was made for military defense it consists of several passages (today they are closed), a small wooden bridge and a wooden door (this door was placed last century) but there must have been some kind of door.

Wooden bridge. Entrance to the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle

Gateway to the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle

The castle walls are very thick, about two meters thick.

Detail of vestiges of seashells on the walls.

As it was a military fortress, it had a powerful artillery. Some cannons of the time are on display around the Castle.

During the independence period in his dungeons, General José Antonio Páez was imprisoned; a very important warrior and without his contribution to the War of Independence it would have been more difficult to achieve the Independence of Spain.

The inscription says:

General José Antonio Páez was held in this Castle
1790 – 1873
His wife Dominga Ortiz: "they have him in a narrow dungeon, without allowing him exercise, communication, outdoors, or anything that indicates respect for humanity ... he makes himself suffer the most fervent friend of civil power, the guardian of the Constitution of 1830, and to the constant defender of the guarantees he gave to the good people of Venezuela. ”
On May 24, 1850, Páez is released and fired in Cumaná by a large crowd outside the castle, he was transferred to La Guaira via ostracism.
Perpetually expelled from the territory of the Republic.
He was General in Chief of the Independence of Venezuela, three times President of the Republic.
He was known as: "The centaur of the Plains", "The Lion of Payara" and "The Taita".

Today the San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle is a tourist place protected by the National Heritage Institute. It was raised in 1965 as a National Historic Monument, according to Official Gazette 27876.

Some of its spaces were converted into a Museum to exhibit, among others, a photo gallery of Cumana from the early 19th century.

Although in Cumaná the tourist services are inefficient I invite you to visit this small city. San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle is a place of tourism that contains part of the history of the American Continent, from colonization and conquest, through the war of independence, to our recent history. In addition, there are local tourist guides, carried out by the residents of the San Francisco Neighborhood, advised by the Socialist Tourism Corporation of the State of Sucre (CORSOTUR).

I hope you liked this tourist, historical and cultural trip through this castle.

Of course, Welcome to Cumaná “Primogénita” of the American Continent and to the Castle San Antonio de la Eminencia!

All photographs are my own. You can check in Imgur Here; except for the google map.

Thank you for reading. Welcome, your comments.

Infinite greetings and until an upcoming post.

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