The Paardenbaai (Horse Bay) was an intermediate harbor for the Curaçao trade with Venezuela. Horse Bay was frequently harassed by enemy forces. The seizure of ships meant a great loss for the Curaçao trade capital. Fort Zoutman was built in January 1798 on order of director (governor) Johan R. Lauffer.Lauffer named it after Johan Arnold Zoutman. Zoutman was rear admiral during the Dutch-English war in 1781. Theunis Lourens Vos Jansz and Adriaan Wever were appointed on February 8, 1798, as gunners of the batteries in Aruba.The most important feat of arms of the fort was beating off an English attack in 1799. In 1805, Aruba was in British hands. A Dutch effort to regain the fort on November 18 failed. Still the English left the island. The fort got its current aspect during the restoration of 1826.
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