Portuguese-Dutch Fortress Melaka

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The Portuguese-Dutch Fortress Malacca was built by the colonial Portuguese (1511-1641) and Dutch (1641-1825) during their occupation in Malacca since the starting of 16th century.

The city of Malacca was conquered by the Portuguese in 1511, in which, during the period, Melaka was considered an important commercial port in Asia. The Portuguese, led by Afonso de Albuquerque, sought to erect a permanent form of ramparts, lining the edge of Malacca’s sea shore on the south east of the river mouth to the former site of the Sultan’s palace, in order to defend the important Melaka port against invasion from other countries – this ramparts was later termed as the Portuguese-Dutch Fortress of Malacca.

The Portuguese managed to build a perimeter wall in Melaka which spanned approximately 2500 metres surrounding the city of Malacca. Four main strongholds were built – Sao Pedro, Sao Demingos, Santiago and Onze Mil Virgens along with four gates to provide access to the fortified citadel.

In 1641, the Dutch conquered Malacca and proceeded to strengthen the defence of Melaka by building new fortifications and reinforcing the old ones that were built by the Portuguese. The Portuguese-Dutch Fortress Malacca was subsequently demolished by colonial Britishas they deemed the walls were too expensive to maintain.

Today, the remains of the Portuguese-Dutch Fortress Melaka are quite scarce for, but recent excavation by the government of Melaka has unearthed bits and pieces of the ancient wall and will reconstruct replicas of a certain portion of the fortress, along the Melaka River. Signboards and illustrated mapping of the entire Portuguese-Dutch Fortress of Malacca are displayed on site for tourists and visitors to comprehend the structure of the fortress.

The only complete remains of the Portuguese-Dutch Fortress Malacca is the Porta de Santiago, which is the well-known A’Famosa Fortress. Above the entrance of the A’Famosa Fortress, visitors can sight the symbols of the Dutch East Indian Company (VOC) and the inscription “ANNO 1670”.

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