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Ground plan of Fort Amsterdam


Ground plan of Fort Amsterdam

Serz, Christoph Gottlieb Friedrich

Title Leupe: Plan van het fort Amsterdam en de Willemstad op het Eiland Curaçao, opgenomen in de maand February 1776 door.

This 1776 ground plan of Fort Amsterdam and Willemstad is part of a series of site maps of the existing forts and smaller strongholds on the island made by the military engineer Christoph Gottlieb Friedrich Serz, a lieutenant in the artillery, who had been appointed two years earlier. It was prompted by the persistent anxiety of the board of the Amsterdam Chamber, which bore primary responsibility for Curaçao within the WIC, about the state of the defences on the island. With the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1776 these worries still increased, as the Company increasingly had to fear for British reprisals for Dutch supplies to the rebellious colonies. The chief purpose of Serz’s maps was to add information to Rodier’s report, but the strongholds in several of the bays are reproduced in such a schematic fashion that these might have been only project plans. Whatever the situation, Serz’s commission was linked to the desire of the directors to put the defences along the coast into better shape in the short run, and the inhabitants of Curaçao were expected to contribute in this enterprise. In any case, his ground plan of Willemstad and Fort Amsterdam clearly shows that in the more than twenty years which had passed since the last work (1754) based on General Van Burmania’s plan had been carried out, nothing had actually changed in the local situation.

North is lower left.

Scale-bar of 60 Rhineland Rods = [ca. 1 : 1.460].

Please contact Nationaal Archief for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

Heijer, H. den, Grote Atlas van de West-Indische Compagnie = Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, II, de nieuwe WIC 1674-1791 = the new WIC 1674-1791 (2012)