Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Bastion of Frederik Hendrik

The Bastion (bulwark) of Frederik Hendrik was built on the former site of the Prtuguese Fort, which itself was constructed upon a more ancient site of the fort of the Malay Sultanate. It is believed that this Fort was located nearby the palace of the Malacca sultans and the residences of their chiefs. At the height of the ruling of Malay Sultanate, large trading vessels plying the Straits of Malacca and the Malacca River estuary thrived in commercial and trade activity.

Under the Portuguese, bulwarks surrounded Malacca at every corner. The bulwark of Courassa lined the main defence wall facing the Straits of Malacca.

During the Dutch rule beginning 1641, the bulwark was reinforced and renamed as the "Bastion of Frederik Hendrik", in honour of King Hendrik who rule the Netherlands from 1642 to 1647. In 1641 and 1678, the bulwark was again strengthened. It was expanded in dimension and increased in height, making it the main wall of defence for the Dutch.

The bulwark was crucial to the defence of Malacca. From this high point on the bulwark, a panaromic view of the commercial activities in the port and the Strait of Malacca was gained. Troops posted on duty at this bulwark were able to keep an eye on possible incoming threats and accordingly mount a swift response.

The bulwark is equipped with cannons and other weapons of war, served as a major military post for the troops and provide storage facilities for their military resources. It was also here that vital evidence and historic war related documents were discovered. This discovery verified the military force commanded by the Malay, Portuguese and Dutch government in Malacca.

In 2006 and 2007, the Department of National Heritage conducted a number of archeological excavations. These lead to the discovery of the structure of the Fort, The Bastion of Frederik Hendrik as well as human skeletons. Also discovered were glass beads, cannon balls and old coins buried deep at this site.


Phil Younghusband said...

very interesting post

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