Torres Vedras Lines - São Vicente Fort

Torres Vedras

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Situated in the top of one of the highest hills that surround the lovely town of Torres Vedras, the São Vicente Fort constituted an important part of the ‘Linhas de Torres’, a defensive structure considered to be, in historical terms, one of the most efficient in the world, distributed by several strategic places, with more than 150 forts and redoubts, for over 80 km of extension.

The main mission of the São Vicente Fort, that started being built in 1809, was the defence of the important road that linked Lisboa to Coimbra, being one of the most fortified point in the ’Linhas de Torres Vedras’, with 39 fire spots and the capacity for almost 4 thousand men.


The Torres Vedras Lines

The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts built in secrecy to defend Lisboa during the Peninsular War. They were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Portuguese workers between November 1809 and September 1810, and used to stop Masséna’s 1810 offensive.
The three lines of Torres Vedras had forts strategically placed in the top of hills, controlling the roads to Lisboa and using the natural obstacles of the land.
The first line, with an extension of 46 km, binds Alhandra to the estuary of the Sizandro River. The second line, with 39 km, binds the Póvoa de Santa Iria to Ribamar.
The third line consisted of a defensive perimeter with 3 km, from Paço de Arcos to the Tower of Junqueira,.
These three lines were furnished with 1,067 pieces of artillery and provided with 68,665 men, one of the most efficient systems of field blockhouses in military history.
The fourth line was built south of the Tagus in the Altos of Almada to hinder an eventual invasion coming from south, with an extension of 7.3 km.
Substantial portions of the lines still survive today, even though heavily decayed.

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