In all that Cádiz has been accumulating during its millennial history, there are some names that, for some reason, have ended up being better known than others.
Trocadero is one of them. In one way, because it’s written in the Arch of Triumph in Paris, along with other places from which the French army emerged victorious, either by scoring many goals or an unfair penalty.
So, as you may have guessed, this is about wars and war issues.
On the small island of Trocadero, there is today the remains of a fortification that Philip V ordered to construct in 1706 to defend Cádiz Bay from pirates and people with the desire for gold and silver that belonged to others.
Philip, let us remind you, was the first Bourbon to wear the Spanish crown and he ended so mad in the head that, they say, he even believed he was a frog. But besides all that, he was French, and when he came to Spain, he brought with him a pile of helpers from his land, among which, there were a few engineers.
He entrusted them with the construction of the Fort of San Luis, in which in the future there would be a lot of battles, military skirmishes and things like that. Between 1810 and 1812, the bastion gave plenty of headaches to the Napoleonic troops who had to resort to the bombing of Cadiz.
The funny thing is that, as you can see, it was the French who built this fort and it was they who bombed it a century later. And now that, when all the mess was over, it had to be rebuilt, it turns out that they would also have to ask for help from the French experts.
As a sign of the fixation of our Northern neighbours with this fortification, let us see what happened shortly after, in 1823: Fernando VII and his big nose were in Cádiz, kidnapped by the Spanish courts, and listening to rumours of guillotines and such. But Louis XVII had sent an army to give his cousin a hand.
So the city prepared for another siege like the one years before, but this time they were alone, without any support. The fort of San Luis fell, and its stones were red with blood in the last service that the French would write as a victory in their Parisian monument. It seems they were crazy for it.
Of all that, as you can see, there are ruins. And also some marshes that, in reality, were always part of the Cádiz defence and today form a protected landscape for which it is worthwhile to take a trip. Not everything is going to be stories of cannons and bayonets, right?