Monday, March 28, 2005


Legacy of Portuguese and Dutch rule in Kerala


Deccan Herald
March 28, 2005

Legacy of Portuguese and Dutch rule in KeralaTriangular fort, St Angelo has many memories to unload to its visitors.

KERALA,UNI: St Angelo Fort, popularly known as “Kannur Fort,” is the symbol of Portuguese and Dutch rule for centuries of colonial legacy in this region.

It is one of the important tourist spots of North Malabar in Kerala.The triangular fort, which is celebrating its 500the year of its existence, is located on a rocky promontory in the Arabian sea, three kms from here and had been a witness to many a battle in the past.

Neither the ravages of the time nor the surging of waves have made a dent in the fortifications of the massive structure built of laterite blocks.

Fort still strong
The recent Tsunami Wave did not have any impact on the fortifications, despite the huge waves lashing on the fort.

According to Superintendent Archaeologist, Archeological Survey of India (ASI), Thrissur circle, K K Rama Murthy, the Portuguese built the fort on a 11-acre promontory in 1505 ,after the first Portuguese Viceroy, Dom Franscesco D Almeida, obtained permission from “Kolathari Rajas” who were the local rulers.

He told UNI that the fort, now under the ASI, has become a major national and international tourist attraction after it was renovated a few years ago. Detailing the history of the fort, Mr Rama Murthy said that a trade treaty was signed between the local kings and Vasco Da Gama in 1498, which marked the beginning of the Portuguese dominance in Kannur which continued for 150 years.

The fort was one of the first strongholds of the Portuguese in the Indian subcontinent.

The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English had fought amongst themselves and against the local rulers, on the coast stretching from Mahe to Kannur.

The result was the Portuguese and later, the Dutch settled in Kannur, the British in Thalassery and the French in Mahe.

The fort was the symbol of Portuguese supremacy till the Dutch captured it in 1663 and sold it to Ali Raja of Cannanore (now Kannur) in 1772 .

The British captured the fort in 1790.Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the family of Arakkal offered stiff resistance to the East India Company, owned by the British, in the 18the century.

However, the Bibi of Arakkal family surrendered to the British in 1790 when Kannur was stormed by General Aber Cromby.

Later, the British made additions to the fort and it became the most important military station in Malabar. A few cannons are still seen at the place, as a reminder of the once glorious past.

The stable and ammunition houses can also be seen.

The fort comprises barracks, a roofless chapel and a dungeon.Kannur had also been the seat of the local rulers of Arakkal Royal Family.

Mr Rama Murthy said besides Kannur Fort, five other forts in the region -- Bekal, Tellicherry, Palakkad, Thangassery, Anjengo and Vattakottai Forts -- were under the jurisdiction of ASI.The Thrissur circle and the ASI are striving hard to preserve the monuments.

The Kannur district ASI office is also located in the Kannur fort premises.

Secretary of the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) E C Raveendran said that steps had already been taken to attract more tourists.

He said five tourism police personnel were stationed at the fort to provide necessary information and guidance to the visitors.

Every year, about one lakh tourists, both domestic and foreign, are visiting the fort. The police of the departmaent of tourism narrate the history of the fort besides giving other details.

The inflow of tourists are on the increase this year, five ships with foreign tourists have already arrived here from London for a visit to the North Malabar region.

The Dutch epitaph of Susanna Weyerman and Godfried Weyerman in the fort says: ''Tomb of the first wife of Mr Godfried Weyerman who died on 28the March 1745, aged 17 Years, 7 Months and 16 Days.'' On the other side of the stone lie buried the children of Weyerman from his second marriage to Jeanna Anna Banister.

Godfried Weyerman was Governor of Cochin from 1761 to 1764.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?