Bastion in São João Batista fortification in Berlengas

Human occupation of Berlenga Grande dates back to antiquity, being mentioned as the island of Saturn by Roman geographers. Was subsequently visited by Muslim navigators, Vikings, French and English buccaneers.The date of commencement of construction of the Fort St. John the Baptist in Berlenga is ignored but already in 1655, while still under construction, successfully resisted their first assault, while being bombarded by three Turkish flag vessels. In 1666, concerning the attempted abduction of the French Princess Maria Francisca Isabel of Savoy, bride of Alfonso VI (1656-67), one Spanish fleet comprised 15 vessels brought the conquest of the fort, defended by a staff of just over two dozens of soldiers under the command of Corporal Antônio Avelar Pessoa. In combined operation of naval bombardment and landing ground attackers lost in just two days, 400 troops on the ground and 100 in ships (against one dead and four wounded by proponents), and sunk the ship Covadonga and seriously damaged two others, sunk in return to Cadiz. Subsequently underwent renovation work, with the rebuilding of the chapel inside. With no greater military value, given the evolution of the means of war in the nineteenth century, was dismantled (1847) and abandoned going to be used as a base for commercial fishing. In the mid-twentieth century was partially restored and opened to tourism adapted as an inn. Currently works just like home-shelter, under the management of the Association of Friends Berlengas.



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