Municipalities / Vieques: Restauration Project Fortín Conde de Mirasol
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Fort Conde de Mirasol
Fortín Conde de Mirasol is a historical monument in the island-municipality of Vieques, located east of Puerto Rico. It was built between 1845 and 1855 as ordered by Governorgovernor: in the Spanish colonies, the governor was the figure immediately beneath the viceroy in political and legal affairs. Like the alcaldes mayores, the governors could not be vecinos, encomenderos or owners of land or mines in the jurisdiction. When the title was added to that of Captain General, the position also implied the highest military authority. Governorships were applied to sparsely populated colonies or frontier zones. Puerto Rico was a frontier zone. and Captain General of Puerto Rico, Rafael de Aristegui (1843-1847), also known as Conde de Mirasol. Despite the fact that the fort was built to defend the island from attacks by foreigners and pirates, it was never used for that. From the end of the19th to the first decades of the 20th century, it was used as a prison. Later, the U.S. also used it as a magnetic and seismologic observatory. However, by the 1940’s, the fort was no longer being used—which brought about its deterioration. The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture financed a series of minor restoration projects, but it was not until 1989 that a complete restoration project began. Today, the fort is included in the Federal Register of Historic Places and on the list of Historical Monuments of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

The fort’s restoration and the creation of the museum of Vieques art and history was directed by the Office of Permanent Improvements of the Division of Zone and Historical Monuments of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture between 1989 and 1991. The project was organized by phases with a total budget of approximately three-quarter million dollars.

In the fort’s restoration, the original structures were kept but contemporary elements were incorporated and the electricity was repaired. The museum is on the second story and is divided into four exhibit halls: Cacimar y Yaureibo Indigenous Culture Hall, named after the last Taíno caciques of Vieques, exhibits archeological materials from Vieques. In the Historical Processes Hall, the history of Vieques is presented from the colonial period to the present through documents, photographs, and artifacts. Vieques Architectural Heritage Hall offers a general panorama about the development of architecture in the island-municipality. Finally, the Visual Arts Hall is used to exhibit work by local artists as well as those from the big island, meaning, Puerto Rico. The area under the stairs was made into a store where Puerto Rican records and books are sold, as well as Vieques artisan work. The museum also hosts the Centro Cultural Yaureibo and the Vieques Historic Archive.

Adapted by Grupo Editorial EPR
Original source: Robert Rabín, El Fortín Conde de Mirasol: Notas sobre su historia, 1990. Notes for the history of Fortín Conde de Mirasol and the island of Vieques, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

Autor: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 14, 2010.

Version: 08102902 Rev. 1
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About the Lighthouses of Puerto Rico
Vieques: Brief History of Fortín Conde Mirasol
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Vieques Island
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