Hollandia, fort (Banda)

Fort Lonthoir was built in 1624 on the island of Lonthoir (Lonthor, Banda Besar) by sailors, soldiers and Javanese prisoners, who were brought to the island on the orders of governor-general Jan Pietersz Coen. The fort replaced a temporary fortification at the seaside, was made by Coen during his campaign on the Banda islands in 1621.

Willem Jansz (r. 1623-1627) oversaw construction as the governor of Banda during construction was during the construction of the fort governor of Banda. His successor Peter Vlack (r. 1627-1628) changed the name in 1628 in fort Hollandia.

The plan of the fort is square with four bastions at the corners and one gate at the landside. The walls of coral stone are seven meter high and one meter thick.

The fort and the kampong (village) Lonthoir, which are on top of a 20 meter high hill, could be reached by climbing a stair with 313 steps. The seaside of the hill is too steep to climb. Governor Joannes van Dam (1661-1665) dug a moat of 24 feet wide and 10 feet deep around the fort.

The fort's guns commanded the strait between the island Lonthoir and Gunung Api. On the beach below the fort was a ravelin, but that was destroyed by an earthquake and a tsunami in 1711.

The fort controlled not only the shipping lane, but was also a defense against slave revolts. The VOC had divided Banda in so called perken (nutmeg estates), which were leased to European perkeniers. The work on the plantations was done by slaves. In 1710 the fort was used in the suppression of such a slave revolt.

In 1741 fort Hollandia was damaged by an earthquake.

In 1796 governor François van Boekholtz (1794-1796) took measures to defend the Banda islands against a British attack. He retreated to fort Belgica on Neira but had the small forts like Hollandia repaired. After the occupation of the island in 1811 the fort was neglected and fell into decay. Today the land bastions no longer exist.


Sources and literature

anoniem/anonymous, Landmonsterrollen (1691-1790)

Brommer, B., Grote Atlas van de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie III, Indische Archipel en Oceanië = Comprehensive Atlas of the United East India Company, III, Malay Archipelago and Oceania (2008)

Wall, V.I. van de, De Nederlandsche oudheden in de Molukken (1928)