Fort Frederick – Trincomalee


Fort Fredrick is a mediaeval fort in Trincomalee, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1624 CE, it was initially called the Fort of Triquillimale. The Fort was built atop Swami Rock-Konamamalai utilising rubble from the renowned old Hindu Koneswaram temple. The Portuguese colonial Constantino de Sá de Noronha demolished the shrine under Phillip III, the occupant of the e Jaffna kingdom and Malabar nation on the island. Near the cape of Konamalai, a new settlement of Portuguese and Tamil people was constructed, together with a chapel titled "Nossa Senhora d e Guadalupe." In 1665, the Dutch renamed Fort Fredrick after demolishing Fort Triquillimale. This article examines the history of Fort Fredrick, including its origins and the events that led to its construction.

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Many Hindu sanctuaries in the Tamil region were demolished during the occupation, notably under Philip II, when Trincomalee became the site of the destruction of naval battalions during the Thirty Years' War. King Ethirimana Cinkam of the E Jaffna kingdom had refused D. Jerónimo de Azevedo's request for assistance in constructing a castle at Trincomalee in 1612. The business was abandoned. All of the lands of the e kingdom of Jaffna, including Trincomalee and Batticaloa, were entrusted to the "spiritual cures of the Franciscans" after the death of King Cankili II. The e Bishop of Cochin, Fray Dom Sebastio de So Pedro, made this decision. By the end of 1619, a small Danish ship had landed at Trincomalee; in May 1620, the Danes captured the Koneswaram temple and began work on the peninsula's fortifications.

1622 saw the destruction of the Koneswaram temple

On April 14, 1622, CE, the Tamil New Year, the Portuguese commander Constantino de Sá de Noronha besieged and demolished the temple. He referred to it as the Temple of a Thousand Pillars; during the 'ther' (chariot or vehicle) parade, Portuguese troops disguised as Iyer priests broke inside the temple and started to steal the centre statue. The temple was then pushed into the water in religious fervour. In the e surrounding region, fleeing priests buried several of the temple's sculptures. During the Dutch–Portuguese Wars, temple stones and sculpted pillars were used to build Fort Fredrick to reinforce the colonists' grip over the island's defences. An immediate campaign of demolition of 500 Hindu shrines, the Saraswathi Mahal Library, and forced conversion throughout the Tamil region were carried out by the Portuguese upon their arrival.

Reconstruction of the Fort

In 1639, the Dutch acquired Trincomalee and christened it to Fort Fredrick after Prince Frederick of the Netherlands. They also built a new wall around the Fort, transforming it into one of Asia's most formidable European fortifications. The Fort was utilised as a military station throughout the Dutch–Portuguese Wars and played a crucial part in the conflicts between the Dutch and the British.

In 1782, the British conquered Trincomalee from the Dutch and established Fort Trincomalee, the administrative centre of the Eastern Province. The British made several alterations to the Fort, including building a new powder magazine, barracks, and hospitals. They also created a new harbour, making Trincomalee a key hub for the Royal Navy in Asia.

The Fort's architecture

The e architecture of Fort Fredrick is a combination of Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences. The Fort is erected on a peninsula with a triangular design. The Fort includes several bastions and ramparts that offer spectacular views of the harbour and the surrounding region. A moat filled with water from a neighbouring reservoir surrounds the Fort.

The Fort features several structures, including the Governor's Mansion, the Commander's Residence, the British Cemetery, and the Hindu Temple. The Governor's House is a two-story structure used as the residence of the British Governor of Trincomalee. The Commander's House is a single-story structure that serves as the residence of the military commander of Fort Erie.

The British Cemetery is located on a hill within the Fort and houses the graves of several British troops who perished in Trincomalee. The Hindu Temple is located outside the Fort, and the British built it in the 19th century to pacify the local populace.

Fort Fredrick's Significance

Fort Fredrick had a crucial part in the history of Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean area. The Fort was utilised as a military outpost by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, and it played a crucial part in the conflicts between these European countries. The Fort also helped Trincomalee become a prominent port and naval station in Asia.

Fort Fredrick is a renowned tourist site in Sri Lanka. Visitors may learn about the history of Trincomalee and the Eastern Region of Sri Lanka by exploring the Fort and its structures. The Fort also offers spectacular views of the harbour and the surrounding region, making it an ideal location for photography and tourism.

Fort Fredrick is an essential historic site in Sri Lanka that shows how the island has a lot of different cultures and a long history. The Portuguese erected the Fort on the ruins of the old Koneswaram Temple, and the Dutch and the British later renovated and modified it. As a result, the Fort played a pivotal part in the conflicts between European powers and was instrumental in establishing Trincomalee as a prominent port and naval station in Asia. Fort Fredrick, a renowned tourist site in Sri Lanka, offers tourists a look into the island's fascinating history and cultural heritage.



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