The Best Preserved Dutch Fort in Asia
(Barbara Crossette, New York Times Reporter)
History of Fort Rotterdam
According to some literatures, this fort was build in 1545 by the King of Gowa Kingdom , Imanrigau Daeng Bonto Karaeng Lakiung. Initially the name of this fort is Fort Ujung Pandang, while locals used to call it Fort Panyyua. This fort used to be a landmark of Gowa Kingdom in its years of properity.
During Sultan Hassanuddin’s administration (1655-1669), the dutch attacked Gowa Kingdom in order to gain control of spice trade and as a milestone to conquer Banda and Maluku, the land of nutmeg. During this one-whole-year aggression, Fort Ujung Pandang was heavily damaged, and the Sultan was forced to sign the Bongaya Treaty with which the Kingdom of Gowa gave its administration under the VOC (dutch east india company), therefore made Gowa as a de-facto colonial territory of dutch. After rebuilt by dutch governor Cornelis Speelman, the fort was named Fort Rotterdam as a legacy to Speelman’s hometown.
Original design of Fort Rotterdam was rectangular-as the majority of Portuguese buildings- with four bastions on each of its corner. The sea-turtle ground plan is in line with the philosophy of the Makassar people as sea explorers.
However, after Speelman’s renovation, Fort Rotterdam adopted dutch style, and the 5th bastion was added on its western side.