28
Jan
08

Nipa Point Fortification • Bar. Culasi, Roxas City

One of a small number of coastal defenses of Capiz.  This trapezoidal fort is built on a promontory facing the sea and Mantalinga Island to the east. The Augustinians established the town of Capiz (Roxas City) inland along the northern bank of the Pan-ay River; the principal fortification of Capiz was a triangular wall built beside the church located some three kilometers from the shore. The presence of a fortification at such a distance from the main settlement must have meant that these defenses were built primarily as outposts from which warnings of an impending attack could be relayed to the town, rather than as defensible positions.

Until the 1950s, the area between the poblacion and the sandy shores three kilometers north of the Roxas City (formerly Capiz) poblacion was swamp and heavily forested with mangrove. The swamps reached up to Barangay Tanza, about 200 meters northwest of the present Cathedral of Capiz. This would have made attacks from the northwest difficult and dangerous as the marauders would have to disembark and negotiate through the forest where they could be easily ambushed. The most logical approach to the poblacion was through Pan-ay River which empties into Libas Bay, west of the poblacion.

Both the Capiz Province website (www.capiz.gov.ph) and the Roxas City site (elgu.ncc.gov.ph/ecommunity/roxascity) claim that the fortifications of Capiz were built “to repel the invading Moros (Muslims) and Portuguese colonizers”. The claim is not entirely accurate. If the fort at Nipa Point was built in 1814, the Portuguese no longer threatened Spanish rule as Portugal ceased to be a political force of great significance in the Far East. The rivalry between Spain and Portugal reached its height in the 16th century; by the 17th Portugal was no longer a power player and the Dutch replaced the Portuguese as Spain’s most important rival in maritime trade by the century. 

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