Fortaleza Santa Bárbara de Trujillo

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View of a cruise ship through the Santa Barbara fortress while she heads to Trujillo, 600km north of Tegucigalpa on October 15, 2014.    AFP PHOTO / Orlando SIERRA        (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

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High above the waves, gazing over the Caribbean toward the European motherland, this 17th-century Spanish fortress could not have a more evocative position. Though its ruined remains are not that impressive visually, it's still an inspirational spot to reflect on the forces and characters that shaped the history of the North American continent.

Fifteen cannons face the sea, and a plaque marks the place where North American wannabe conqueror William Walker was executed. The onsite museum has colonial and Garifuna artifacts.