Thursday, February 26, 2015

In The Footsteps Of Captain Francis Light...

Our walk through Georgetown's heritage along Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street) brought us to Fort Cornwallis, the site of the first British settlement here.
The British needed a refuelling station between the East Indies and India on their to Europe and Sir Francis Light suggested Penang would be a suitable station for the East India Company. 
When Francis Light landed in Penang in 1786, he established a British settlement and trading area, which was to become the port of Georgetown. To defend the trading post, he built a simple stockade out of palms. 
In 1789, three years after building the simple stockade, Francis Light rebuilt Fort Cornwallis in the star-shaped configuration that we see today. Convict labourers brought from India were put to work on the fort, which was completed in 1793, at a cost of 67,000 Spanish Dollars.


At the entrance of Fort Cornwallis...


Light named Fort Cornwallis after the Governor-General of Bengal, Charles Marquis Cornwallis. Cornwallis was the general who was defeated by General George Washington in the American war of independence at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781...


The Fort Cornwallis lighthouse...




The statue of Sir Francis Light...




The army barracks...




17 cannons were mounted along the perimeter of Fort Cornwallis...





The most famous cannon at Forn Cornwallis is the Sri Rambai, which has a fascinating history. The cannon was first presented by the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor in 1606. In 1613, the Portuguese took possession of Sri Rambai, who took it was taken to Java, where it stayed until 1795, when it was given to Aceh, and was brought to Kuala Selangor... 


Later, in 1871, the British seized the cannon and brought it over to Penang and installed it on Fort Cornwallis. Locals believe that Sri Rambai possesses magical powers and that women who place flowers on the barrel to improve their fertility...



Entrance to the pill-shaped Gunpowder Magazine...


Resting in the shade...


This used to be the moat around the Fort...



And now we leave Fort Cornwallis to continue our walk around Georgetown's historical precincts...

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