The walls were conceived with the purpose of protecting Cartagena de Indias from the continuous attacks it suffered. The construction was done in several stages, starting in 1586 with the italian engineer Bautista Antonelli, at the service of the Spanish Crown. Then in 1608 Cristobal de Roda would fortify most of the city next to open sea.
From 1631 to 1633 it would be Francisco de Murga's turn by fortifying all the Getsemaní neighborhood. In 1669 the engineer Juan Batín had to repair the walls destroyed by the sea. The walls were object of several blows by the sea and the attack of the Baron de Pointis, so Don Juan de Herrera y Sotomayor would restart the repairs. The Viceroy de Villalonga orders Herrera to build underwater boxes to form a breakwater in front of the destroyed walls in 1721.
Another breakwater would be built in the space between Punta Icacos (near now days Hotel Caribe) and Tierrabomba by Antonio de Arevalo, the most renown engineer who has worked in the city. In 1796 the works in the city downtown would be finished.