始建于1571年,经过将近150年才兴建完成,是旧时西班牙人防禦外敌的要塞, 1590年西班牙总督圣地亞哥将原本用木栅栏围成的城寨改建成石造城堡,城墙外有护城河,进出城堡要通过吊桥,厚达10米的城墙上築有塔楼.面向大海处设置有阻吓外敌和海寇的大炮. 二次大战时数以千计的老百姓和游击队员于此被杀, 1945年马尼拉之役，圣地亞哥堡遭受美军猛烈的炮击. 这裡也是日军最後的死守之地,在八天的围剿期间日军死伤惨重,因此当地人也称此为"Shrine of Freedom"，以纪念于西班牙统治和二次大战时期被监禁的菲律宾人.|
这裡也曾被当作俘虏营,水牢裡囚禁过无数的菲律宾爱国者,包括菲律宾的民族英雄荷西黎刹（Jose Rizal). 城堡内设立有民族英雄黎刹的纪念馆. 他在1896年12月30日行刑前，曾被拘留在这栋两层楼西班牙式建築的地下层，馆内展有他所遗留下的书籍、木刻、油画、当时的傢俱等纪念物.
Fort Santiago (Spanish: Fuerza de Santiago) is a defense fortress built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi. The fort is part of the structures of the walled city of Intramuros, in Manila, Philippines. It was once the site of the palace and kingdom of Rajah Suliman, chieftain of Manila of pre-Spanish era. It was destroyed by the conquistadors upon arriving in 1570, encountering several bloody battles with the Muslims and native Tagalogs. The Spaniards destroyed the native settlements and erected Fuerza de Santiago in 1571.
The first fort was constructed of logs and tamped earth. Most of this was destroyed in the Spanish-Chinese War of (1574-1575), when ethnic Chinese pirates besieged the area. Aftert a bloody conflict the Spanish eventually drove the pirates out.
Between 1589 and 1592 the fort was constructed again, this time in stone. It became the main fort for the Spanish in Asia for 333 years. The famous Manila Galleon trade to Acapulco, Mexico started sailing from Fuerza de Santiago. The fort is located at the mouth of the Pasig River.
During World War II it was captured by the Japanese, and then sustained heavy damage from American & Filipino bombs during the Battle of Manila in February 1945. It was later restored by the Intramuros Administration during the 1980s. Today the fort serves as a museum which houses well-preserved legacies of the Spanish government, Jose Rizal (which is called the Plaza de Armas), Rizal Shrine, and the prison dungeons for criminals used by the Spanish officials.