The first castle documentary I watched explained the history and background of one of England’s most impregnable and imposing castles: Dover. Dover Castle had significant strategic importance for over two thousand years. Because of its position overlooking the English Channel to France, Dover served as a fortress to defend against foreign invaders. The castle was originally built by the Romans, but it started out as a mere lighthouse meant to guide Roman legions across the channel. When William the Conqueror and his Normans came, Dover Castle was upgraded even further. During the reign of Henry II, Dover was built into a proper castle with a keep and the first of many walls. Henry II turned the castle into a combination between a strategic stronghold and a private residence to foreign visitors such as the King of France. During the reign of John I, a network of tunnels was constructed under the castle to thwart miners who attempted to compromise the castle’s foundations. The idea was even if the miners dug under the castle, they would break into one of these tunnels and be cut down by the garrison inside. During the reign of Edward I, Dover received more curtain walls and gate houses. During England’s war with Napoleon, Dover received many more significant upgrades incase Napoleon crossed the channel. It gained more walls that were fitted with cannons and the underground tunnels were expanded for miles to accommodate a larger garrison. During World War II, Dover Castle served as an important base of operations for the British military. Important events such as the rescue mission of Dunkirk and the Invasion of Normandy were all managed and directed from within Dover’s walls. During the Cold War, the tunnels were dug even deeper in order to turn Dover Castle into a bunker for VIPs. However, there was one major flaw with this design. The surrounding rock of Dover was made from limestone, which meant that if a nuclear blast went off, the radiation would still seep into the bunker, which resulted in the British government abandoning the whole project. Overall, Dover Castle has guarded the channel to England from the Romans to the Cold War. This goes to show that even though a building was constructed centuries ago, it could still be used for modern purposes. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from Dover Castle for my fantasy series.

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