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Middelburg, fort (Ambon)

The first stronghold at Baguala bay was a stone house with a semi-circular gun platform facing the sea, commissioned by Governor Jan van Gorcum in 1626. This blockhouse, named Middelburg, was occupied with four cannon, 21 soldiers and a sergeant. In 1644 and 1674 the complex was severely damaged by earthquakes. Under Governor Robertus Padtbrugge the deteriorated first fort was demolished and in 1686-1688 and replaced by a new blockhouse built on the same foundation. The entrance to the defence work was on the second floor which could be reached by stairs along the west side of the building. This floor was used for living and had six windows. The cannons where placed on the ground floor. Next to the blockhouse, Padtbrugge also took the initiative of digging a canal connecting the Bay of Ambon and the Bay of Baguala. Under Bernardus van Pleuren (Governor of Ambon, 1777-1785) the fort was renovated and changed according to the design of engineer Hans Ernst von Wagner. However, soon after, during the English occupation, the fort was neglected and fell into ruin. Remains of the fort are still visible. Parts of the northeastern, southeastern and southwestern walls are still standing. These walls are composed of red bricks, finished with natural stone. The ruin is located in the periphery of Ambon city, surrounded by densely people’s dwellings. Because the sedimentation process, today the fort stands 250 meters from the sea.

creator Gorcum, Jan van

(commissioner)

Padtbrugge, Robertus

(commissioner)

Pleuren, Bernardus van

(commissioner)

Wagner, Hans Ernst von

(engineer)

build start

1626

build end

1785

period

1626, rebuilt 1686-88, renovated c. 1777-1785

material brick

coral stone
historical name

Middelburg, fort (Ambon)

fort Paso

fort Passo

Baguala

function blockhouse
location Passo

Literature

  • anoniem/anonymous, Landmonsterrollen (1691-1790)
  • Jaspers, J.H.B., De gedragslijn der V.O.C. bij de bevestiging van haar macht en invloed op het eiland Amboina etc.
  • Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Inventory and identification of forts in Indonesia (Jakarta, 2010)
  • Wall, V.I. van de, De Nederlandsche oudheden in de Molukken (Den Haag, 1928)