The Fort Cornwallis

Topics: Francis Light, Penang, Cannon Pages: 3 (1069 words) Published: December 6, 2012
The Fort Cornwallis

Penang Island, as of today, is synonymous with its delectable hawker fare and its trails of heritage buildings and walkway. Among the many infamous historical landmarks of Penang Island - the Fort Cornwallis, which has a rich history of more than two centuries, stands out in the forefront. It is today, the largest and most intact fort that can be found in Malaysia. Fort Cornwallis’ history dated back to the starting point when Sir Captain Francis Light from the British East India Company, first landed on the island with his crew in the year 1786. He was to take possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah back then, to serve as a base or stop-over for the British company’s spice and silk trading route. In order to protect the base from any foreign military forces, pirates and even Kedah itself, Francis Light decided to build a fort on the cape of the island’s north eastern coast, overlooking the sea -where he first set foot. The initial simple fort was made out of only ‘nibong’ palm trunks as stockades, without any concrete structures. Francis Light named the fort after the Governor General in Bengal at that time – Charles Cornwallis. The fort was only reinforced with bricks years later again by Francis Light but under a different Governor, designing it as a star-shape, covering approximately 418 square feet. And though, the intention of the fort was built to withhold and defend attacks from enemy invasions, apparently no battles ever occurred throughout the headship of the British company at the fort. In the end, it is used more for administrative and storage base rather than a combat ground. When visiting the fort, the five major must-see artefacts are, first and foremost, the statue of the legendary Sir Captain Francis Light. In fact, no visitors would be able to miss the statue of Francis Light as its positioned overlooking the fort entrance, greeting visitors. The bronze statue was sculpted by F.J. Wilcoxson in the year 1936...
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