Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evolution of Fort St.George 1673 (As Documented by Col.DM Reid)


Col. DM Reid's Map showing the Fort St.George. Fort House at Centre

At the Fort Museum, Fort St.George, Chennai, one can see maps and illustrations which documents the evolution of the fort and settlement over the centuries. Col. D.M.Reid (Douglas Muir Reid) prepared drawings of the fort with Madras volunteers. These drawings describe the evolution of this fort. He has also written a book title: 'The Story of Fort St. George.'

The  Fort House was planned as a square enclosure and the factory was raised at the centre. Fort was so named as Fort St.George since the construction was completed on April 23rd, St George's Day. It became the company's eastern centre of government in 1652 and was blockaded by the Dutch in 1673.

1670s -- The Dutch invaded San Thome. The book Vestiges of Old Madras by H.D. Love informs  that when Dutch first arrived in 1673 it was not viewed as a threat. They came again from Sadras and Pulicat. “News arrived that 500 Hollanders had landed at Sadras and were marching on San Thome, and that Rijklof van Goens was bringing another force from Pulicat. On the 11th September, the Netherlanders were established on the site of the former Moslem camp, and two days later 500 to 600 Dutch, supported by Moorish cavalry, threatened the town.” Three days later, they set up camp at the Triplicane temple. A few months later San Thome fell.

The Fort House began to function as a trading warehouse in the early part of the 17th century. Much against the wishes of the East India Company, Fort St. George grew as the trade grew.

Reference:

Vestiges of Old Madras by H.D. Love Quot in The Sadras saga Anusha Parthasarathy The Hindu July 10, 2013
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