The West coast of Sumatra was an important source of pepper . The VOC opened a trading post but the arrival of the Europeans let to growing tensions with the indigenous population. The company decided in 1667 to move her lodge to the small island Cingkuk or Pulau Tjinkoek before the west coast of Sumatra. It was a very strategic location. The sailing route along the coast passed the island, which at its north coast had a good roadstead where the ships could lay at anchor. Traders in pepper and gold visited the island The lodge, which was built on a rocky hill in the middle of the island, was surrounded by a palisade. In 1679 a stone warehouse was built and a stone wall of five meter high and 0,75 m thick. People could enter the enclosure by two gates: one in the north wall and the other at the south side. Francois Valentijn mentioned that the island devoured people because of the great heat, the insalubrious humidity and the poisonous vapors.
Pulau Cingkuk should have become the main office of the VOC on the west coast of Sumatra, but in 1670 the company choose for Padang, which was much healthier than the island.
During the Fourth Anglo Dutch War (1780-1784) all the offices of on the West coast of Sumatra surrendered after the arrival of ships of the Est India Company. They were returned to the VOC after the peace in Europe was signed. The same thing happened during the wars between Great Britain and France and its allies (1795-1816) In 1818 the Dutch returned to Pulau Cingkuk and rebuilt the trade buildings, but the island lost most of its importance to Padang.
The remains of the buildings are now turned into a historical tourist spot. Strange enough the explanation signs on the island mention wrongly that the ruins are the remains of a Portuguese fort.