The first two descendants of the Mortella Point tower were built in 1796 in South Africa at Cape Col-
ony, a Dutch settlement seized by the British in 1795. New defences were built in preparation for an expected counter-attack and among these were two small round towers. This was hardly surprising as the man who led the expedition and became the first British governor of Cape Colony was George Elphinstone-now Vice-Admiral-who had been with the Mediterranean fleet off Corsica the previous year.
A little later in the same year that the towers at Cape Town and Simon's Town were built (1796) one was begun at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Although it was inspired by the much-discussed prototype in Corsica, it failed in several ways to measure up to it in construction. Between 1796 and the end of the war in 1815, 194 towers were built-all, with the exception of the early ones in Cape Colony and Halifax, to recognised standards as part of a comprehensive defence scheme, and as a direct result of Great Britain's war with France and her ally, the United States of America.
From 1815 the vogue for martello building in Eu-ope was over, with the exception of Jersey where five more towers were built. The construction of martellos was henceforth confined to North America, where defensive measures were kept alive by the political tension existing between Britain and the United States. Between 1820 and 1870 America built six martellos among her new coastal fortifications, while Canada added five to her existing number.
Martello building came to an end in 1873 with the abandonment of the Key West project in Florida; work was
stopped on the two unfinished towers known as martellos.
Source: 'Martello Towers' by Sheila Sutcliffe