THE SPANISH TROCHA or Great War Puzzle

With the recent death of Fidel Castro, CUBA is prominent in the news this month .
It is perhaps appropriate to look back to past troubles of the country.

Puzzles can help with learning history and perhaps even teach us a new word.


The Trocha from Júcaro to Morón was a fortified military line built between 1869 and 1872 in Cuba to impede the passage of insurrectionist forces to the western part of the island during the 1st War of Independence (1868–1878), it was 68 km long.

This military line was the largest Spanish fortification in the colonies during the 19th Century, marking an industrialized expansion of traditional Spanish colonial ditch-work defences. Built by slave and Chinese immigrant labour, it was composed of differently sized forts located along a wide ditch lined with wire fences and a cleared firing zone. A parallel railroad line, the first government run railway in Cuba, supplied and re-enforced the forts. Today many of the fortifications have survived and the Trocha is considered among the most important military monuments of the Caribbean, parts of which are protected by the Cuban National Heritage agency.

See Wikipedia


The Trocha was useful again in 1898 when this puzzle was made by Westcott-Jewell Co. in the USA at the time of the Spanish-American War.

The puzzle, simple in appearance, involves getting the insurgents (small lead balls) from side to side without being caught by the Spanish (large steel ball) travelling up and down the vertical Trocha.



It is interesting to see how many puzzles there are in the Puzzle Museum's Collection which relate to this war, and also how many of them refer to it as "The Great War".