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Archive photo of Fort Cornwallis. Source: New Straits Times, 20190526
Archive photo of Fort Cornwallis. Source: New Straits Times, 20190526

via New Straits Times, 26 May 2019: A long feature about Penang’s Fort Cornwallis, one of the oldest colonial forts in Southeast Asia. The fort has been undergoing some renovations recently, and archaeological excavations have uncovered cannons from the site.

Named after Lord Charles Cornwallis, the Governor-General of Bengal and commander-in-chief in India, Fort Cornwallis was reinforced in 1788 when the stockade size was doubled. Noticing a further need for fortifications during the early 1780s, Light trebled the stockade size and had cannons mounted, for the first time, to the seaward side.

At that time, the garrison strength at Fort Cornwallis consisted of an artillery detachment of 17 Europeans, 30 non-Europeans and a marine force of 100 sepoys, infantrymen who hailed from the Indian sub-continent.

Despite the numerous improvements, Fort Cornwallis started to show signs of disrepair by 1790. In a report to his BEIC superiors, Light mentioned that the fort was nothing more than a rotten stockade with decaying platforms that could no longer support cannons. With the fort in dire need of repair, Light appealed for permission in initiate repairs.

Source: Fort Cornwallis – Shedding light on Penang’s early history | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

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