Last edited 04 Jan 2021

Martello tower

Martello Tower, Shenick Island, east of Skerries, County Dublin, Ireland.

Martello towers (also referred to as martellos) are round, low towers that served as defensive forts. Their name is derived from a type of watch tower that dates back to the 1500s and was found in Cape Mortella, Corsica.

Martello towers had guns placed on their flat roofs to protect the coastline of the British Empire during the time of the French Revolutionary period, dating from the 1790s until the 1870s. These sturdy structures were built in distant parts of the British Empire, including South Africa, Canada, Australia, the United States and other locations.


Their practicality eventually faded after military tactics and equipment became more powerful and sophisticated. However, many still survive, despite their obsolescence, and the concept has been revived by the British (and other countries) several times.

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