Driving north to south on the road running from Júcaro to Morón via Ciego de Ávila, you’ll pass the remnants of an old Spanish garrison which at one time divided the province from north to south. The tumbledown, stubby structures are the remains of a fortification line known as La Trocha, built between April 1871 and 1873. Increasingly worried by the Mambises (the rebel army fighting for independence) and their plans to move west through the island, the Spanish General Blas Villate de la Hera planned a 67km-long row of fortifications to block the advance. The forts were made of concrete with solid walls of stone, brick and wood and built at intervals of 3–4km. Each was manned by a single sentry, who had to enter by a removable wooden staircase, and each had two cannon. It was supposedly an impassable chain of defence, but the ineffectiveness of the whole idea was immediately apparent in 1874 when the Cuban General Manuel Suárez triumphantly breezed through with his cavalry. Most of the forts are in a poor state of repair today, though the odd one still gives an impression of its original appearance. Plans to restore them have been under way for some time.

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