|Saint-Martin-de-Ré became famous during one of the nemerous wars between france and England in 17th century. A single citadel was then built by order of Richelieu to control access of La Rochelle.|
In 1627, just after the completion, the duke of Buckingham landed his forces at Sablonceaux to help La Rochelle (a protestant town at that time). Marshal de Toiras was forced to retreat into the citadel of Saint Martin and successfully withstood the four months siege and blockade
of the land and naval forces of Buckingham until the arrival of Richelieu's army in November 1627. Buckingham had to retreat with a heavy loss of 10000 men.
After the fall of La Rochelle, Richelieu decided to demolish the citadel in 1629 and just keep the small fort of La Prée.
Rochefort gaining power after Colbert creation of the Arsenal, Vauban was asked to build a new citadel and to fortified the small city in 1674. The fortifications of Saint Martin de Ré have successfully withstood a naval attack and shelling from combined English and Dutch forces in 1696 and have passed through the centuries to reach us perfectly intact. They represent the largest and the best preserved example of bastioned enceinte and citadel from Vauban's “first system”.