Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dutch Fort

This place is also one of the favourite tourism hotspot recommended for tourists to visit. The fort were left abandoned for more than hundreds years ago and still remain exists.The fort called as 'Dutch Fort' or in Malay language (Kota Belanda) is located at Teluk Gadung, Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia. However, Dutch records referred it as Dinding Fort ('Dingdingh'), named after the Dinding River.

Perak was the main tin-producing kingdom in the whole Peninsula and the Dutch East India Company wanted to control and monopolise its trade, so its ships blockaded Perak for much of the sevententh and eighteenth century. There was also a strategic reason for the blockade - Perak nominally a vassal of Acheh and the Dutch was at war with the Sumatran state. For this reason a Dutch outpost was established at Teluk Gedung in 1670 to support this blockade and to prevent the occupation of the island by the English who were by then active trade competitors in the region.
The report of the Dutch Governor Balthasar Bort in 1678 states that "at the present time, 59 men are beore Perak, engaged in the blockade of the place and stationed on the island of Dinding, which the Hohourable Company has in its possession, occupying a square wooden fort there provided withnine pices of iron ordnance."The 59 men consisted of superintendent merchant, a captain, a bookeeper, thre asistants, three second mated, two junior surgeons, eight men-at-arms and 40 seamen, manning the garrision and its small flotilla of the yatch 'Laren', the sloop 'Cacap' and the boat 'Dingdingh'

The fort appears to have been strengthened a few years laters, as British explorer and buccaneer William Dampier decribes in 1689:"The Dutch, who are the only in habitants, have a fort on the east side (of the island), close by the sea, in a bending of the island, which makes a small cove for ships to anchor in. The fort is built four-square, without flankers or bastions, like a house: every square is about ten or twelve yards. The walls are of a good thickness, made of stone, and carried up to a good height of about thirty foot, and covered overhead,like a dwelling house. There may be about twelve or fourteen guns in it, some looking out at every square. These guns are mounted on a strong platform, made within the walls about sixteen foot high; and there are steps on the outside to ascend to the door that opens to the platform, there being no other way into the fort. Here is a governor and about twenty to thirty soldiers, who all lodge in the fort. The soldiers have their lodging in the platform among the guns, but the governor has a fair chamber above it, where he lies with some officers.

"About a hundred yards from the fort, on the bay by the sea, there is a low timbered house, where the Governor abides all the day time. In this house, there were two or three rooms for their use, but the chief among them was the Governor's Dining-Room. This fronted to the sea, and the end of it looked towards the Fort."
"The distance between the fort and the river's mouth is about 4 to 5 miles; thy have also a guard-ship commonly lying here, and sloop with 20 or 30 armed men, to hinder other nations from this trade. The Dutch also commonly keep a Guard-ship ans have made some fruitless essays to bring that Prince and his subjects to trade only with them; but here over against Dinding, no strangers dare approach to trade-neither may any ship come in hither but with consent of the Dutch."
All supplies were brought from Melaka because according to Dampier, the garrison was in "a continual fear of the Malayans, with whom though thwy have a commerce, yet dare they not trsut them so far, as to be ranging about the island in any work of husbandry, or indeed to go far from the Fort for there only they are safe."
Dampier describes an incident during dinner when "the Governer, his guest and some of his officers were seated, but just as they began to fall to, one of the Soldier cried out "Malayans!". Immediately the Governer, without speaking a word, leapt out of one of the windows, to get as soon as he could to the fort. His officers followed, and all the servants that attended were soon in motion. Every one of them took the nearest way, some out of the windows, others out of the doors, leaving the three guests by themselves!"
" They fired several guns to notice to the Malayans that they are ready for them; but none of them came on. Fpr this upproar was occasioned by a Malayan canoe full of armed men that lay skulking under the island, close by the shore; and when a Dutch Boat went out to fish, the Malayans set upon them suddenly and unexpected with their krises and lances, and killing one or two the rest leapt overboard, and got away, for they were close by the shore: and they having no arms were not able to have made any resistance. It was about a mile from the Fort: and being landed, every one of them made what haste he could to the fort, and thr first that arrived was he who cried in the manner, and frightened the Governer from supper."
"We kept good watch all night, having all guns loaded and primed for service. But it rained so hard all the night, that I did not much fear being attacked by any Malayan; being informed by one of our seamen, whom we took in at Malacca, that the Malayans seldom or never make any attack when it rains. The next morning the Dutch sloop weighed, and went to look after the Malayans; but having sailed about the Island, and seeing no enemies they anchored again."

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