Fortress Earth Introduction
I have always had an interest in classical fortifications and castles. I am an avid Google Earther and I came across a GE file titled "World Forts", which, based on the description, seemed to say that it had a vast number of the world's forts. However, I quickly discovered that the file didn't have but a fraction of world forts and even left out some of the most famous fortifications in history.
By this time, I had been working on mapping North Korea for 2 years, and so I was confident in my ability to locate something as obvious as a fort or artillery battery. Being the somewhat obsessive person that I am, I began to create a file that will actually have every existing fort in the world that was built after 1000 AD (or that was in use by that time even if it was built prior). I have dubbed this project "Fortress Earth".
Of course, a fort is a military instillation. For the last several thousand years, until relatively recently, the homes and palaces of national and city rulers also served a duel purpose; residential and defensive. So, I have expanded the original intent of the file to include castles that once served a very real military purpose as well as castles and palaces that, while perhaps not military in nature, were either important or otherwise impressive.
This project will take me quite a while, but thanks to the work others have done in certain countries, I am confident that my final file will have 90% or more of global forts, but also a majority of existing castles that can be seen via satellite imagery. No doubt there will be places missing given the scope of this project, so if you know of a place I don't have marked, let me know!
Also, check out StarForts.com! It's a great resource with detailed info on 260 (and counting) star forts around the world.
I'd also like to thank John Baccile for sending me a file with over 140 new star forts.
Watch for updates!
Interested in Forts & Castles? Join the conversation on Twitter using #FortressEarth or join the Facebook group!
***All Google Earth files are hosted at https://sites.google.com/site/mymappingprojects/fortress-earth which is a site I operate with the sole purpose of holding the various Google Earth KMZ files.***
Map of completed countries (in blue).
STAR FORTS AROUND THE WORLD
Star forts are impressive fortifications that arose in the 15th century. They spread around the globe and hold a special place in history, as well as a special place in the hearts and minds of those with an interest in forts.
I created a special file that has every star fort I have been able to find, and, as far as I can tell, has 90% of all star forts still in existence.
So that brings me to the question, "How many star forts are there?"
The Version 2 file has 1,399 forts (up from 1,238 in Version 1) from 94 countries (up from 88), which includes traditional star forts, fortified "star" cities, and other closely related fortifications.
Please see my post about the forts and file.
To directly download the Google Earth file, you can get it here.
The map below will generally be updated more often than the downloadable Google Earth file. The map currently shows 1,552 forts from 97 countries.
***Links automatically download the country's Google Earth file. Google Earth required to view.***
Some of the Countries Completed:
Afghanistan - 242 forts : Algeria - 34 forts Andorra - N/A : Antigua - 3 forts Armenia - 29 forts : Australia - 61 forts Azores - 30 forts : Bahamas - 3 forts Bahrain - 3 forts : Belarus - 37 forts Belgium - 378 forts : Bermuda - 14 forts
Bhutan - 18 forts : Brazil - 48 forts
Burma - 43 sites : Canada - 113 forts
Chile - 17 forts : Colombia - 4 forts
Cuba - 13 forts : Cyprus - 13 forts
Domin. Rep. - 12 forts : Egypt - 32 forts
Estonia - 47 sites : Finland - 101 sites
Gambia - 3 forts : Georgia - 35 forts
Ghana - 18 forts : Guadeloupe - 8 forts
Honduras - 4 forts : Indonesia - 23 forts Iran - 74 forts : Israel (article) - 31 sites Jamaica - 15 sites : Lebanon - 33 castles Liechtenstein - 5 castles : Luxembourg - 67 sites Macedonia - 15 sites : Madagascar - 9 forts
Malaysia - 9 forts : Malta - 188 sites Martinique - 3 forts : Mauritius - 7 forts Mexico - 15 forts : Moldova - 3 forts Monaco - 1 castle : Montenegro - 75 sites Mozambique - 8 forts : New Zealand - 19 forts
North Korea - 233 fortifications (See article on historical sites)
Norway - 66 forts : Pakistan - 114 sites
Puerto Rico - (counted with US)
San Marino - 1 castle : Senegal - 6 forts
Sierra Leone - 3 forts : Singapore - 6 forts
Somalia - 8 forts : South Africa - 16
South Korea - 57 forts : Sri Lanka - 26 forts
St. Lucia - 3 forts : Suriname - 2 forts
Turkey - 283 forts : Uruguay - 6 sites
U.A.E - 5 forts : USA (inc. Puerto Rico) - 441 sites
Uzbekistan - 90 sites : Venezuela - 10 forts
Vietnam - 42 forts : Zimbabwe - 4 forts
Sub-total: 3,599 completed locations*
Plus 15,517 others
Grand Total: 19,116 fortifications marked
* "Completed" countries will be updated occasionally as new sites are found. Remember, my goal is to reach 90% prior to publication. New sites are bound to be located.