The Fortress was build in 1586 and was the main point of defense in Paraíba.
Five years later it was destroyed by the Potiguara natives. It was then rebuild the following year.
In 1597 it was attacked by a French Armada composed by 13 ships. About 350 Frenchmen assaulted the fortress, which was guarded by only 20 soldiers, 1 Captain and 5 cannons at that moment. The French Armada was taken by surprise by the counterstrike and quickly suffered so many casualties that they retreated without knowing the fortress was practically defenseless.
The first Dutch invasion happened in 1631 when 26 ships and 26 barges transporting 1600 men attacked the fortress expecting a quick surrender.
However, 16 days before the assault some deserter Dutchmen warned the fortress in advance about the attack, thus the Brazilians, Portuguese, Spanish and Natives were well prepared. The siege lasted 6 days until the Dutch retreated counting 200 casualties.
In 1634 the General Van Schkoppe commanded a Dutch Armada of 29 ships with 500 cannons and after a 20 days siege and many casualties, the garrison in the Santa Catarina Fortress surrended. This event marked the beginning of the Dutch rule over João Pessoa, which lasted for 20 years.