Rotterdam, fort (Makassar)

The fort of Ujung Pandang was originally constructed in the mid-1630s as part of a great fortification programme by the rulers of the dual kingdom of Gowa-Talloq, of which Makassar was the main harbour and trade entrepôt. Faced with an increasing threat from the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which was at war with Makassar and regularly blockaded the harbour from 1634 until 1637, it reinforced its existenting fortifications (e.g. Somba Opu, the palace complex of the sultan of Gowa) and built several new ones, Ujung Pandang being one of them.

Ujung Pandang was ceded to the VOC in 1667 as part of the provisions of the Bungaya Treaty, which sultan Hasanuddin of Gowa was forced to sign after his defeat in the Makassar War at the hands of the combined forces of the VOC and its local allies under the leadership of the Buginese nobleman Arung Palakka. The fort was renamed Fort Rotterdam, after the birth town of the VOC commander Cornelis Jansz. Speelman. It subsequently became the VOC headquarters when the Makassar War flared up again (Gowa was once again defeated in 1669), and in the course of the 1670s, was rebuilt in a European fashion with 5 bastions, giving it the characteristic ‘tortoise’ shape that it has to this day. In 1679, a ravelin was added. A protestant church, residences for VOC officials, barracks, weapon storehouses and other buildings were erected within the fort. From the 1970s onwards, the fort was extensively restored. Today, it is a cultural attraction and public space, and houses Museum La Galigo, and the South Sulawesi Province Museum.


Sources and literature

anoniem/anonymous, Landmonsterrollen (1691-1790)

Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Forts in Indonesia (2010)

Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Inventory and identification of forts in Indonesia (2010)

Bulbeck, David, Construction history and significance of the Makassar fortifications