Jagua Castle, locally known as Castillo de Jagua, is situated on a hill at the entrance of the bay of Cienfuegos, in the little village of Jagua on Cuba. Its full name is Castillo Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua.
Jagua Castle was built between 1733 and 1745 by the French military engineer Don Jose Tantete Duvillier, on orders of the Spanish crown, on foundations that are thought to have been built in 1729 by another engineer; Don Bruno Caballero y Elvira. The fort had to protect the bay against pirates that used to land there before the town of Cienfuegos was settled in 1819.
Upon completion, Jagua Castle was the 3rd most important fort on Cuba, after the El Morro Castle in Havana and the El Morro Castle in Santiago de Cuba.
The first commander of the castle was Don José Castilla Cabeza de Vaca. The castle was equipped with 10 large caliber cannons; four 18-pounders on the uppermost level and four 24-pounders and two 8 pounds on the lower level. The castle is special in that it has a still functioning wooden drawbridge over a dry moat.
During its history Jagua Castle managed to repel several pirate ships that tried to enter the bay. It has also served as a prison.
In the 1990's the castle was restored and a small museum and a restaurant were operating inside it. At present only the museum remains and the castle looks as if it could use another restoration.
Jagua Castle can be visited for a small fee. This is a very nice fort in a quiet village.