Jaffna was the third most important settlement of the Dutch
in Ceylon, after Colombo and Galle. The Jaffna Fort has been called one of
the best and strongest in Asia, designed and built in strict accordance
with the rules of military fortification.
It had a larger garrison than the Castle of Batavia. Unlike
the Colombo and Galle Forts, which were fortified towns, the Jaffna Fort
had an almost exclusively military and administrative purpose. All the
civilians lived in the
town of Jaffna, adjoining the fort.
The original Portuguese fort, where the remaining
Portuguese had assembled after the fall of Colombo, had been captured by
the Dutch in 1658 after a three and a half month siege.
From around 1680
they started rebuilding and strengthening it. A process that went on
through the years right until the takeover by the British in 1795.
Jaffna has been the centre of Tamil-Hindu culture of Sri
Lanka since the third century BC, when the Tamils crossed the ocean from
the Coromandel coast of India, which is only some 50 kilometers away at
It flourished even into Portuguese times, who only colonised
this area from 1591, and who destroyed all the Hindu temples in their
attempts to convert people to christianity.
In the Dutch and the British
time Jaffna was a centre for the pearl fishery, textile industry and the
trade in elephants with India.
Pictures of the
are hard to come by. Jaffna has been a warzone for most of the time since
the early 1970's, and the Fort has been used as a base by both the Sri
Lankan military and the LTTE.
Around 1970 the fort and all its buildings
were still in their original state, despite its continuous use by the
British and later the Ceylon government. But the latest reports say the
Fort with everything in it, including the
have been completely destroyed.
The early Jaffna Fort was a rectangle, as is shown in the
maps , with four bulwarks and a large moat. In the 18th century the fort
was extensively altered, and changed into a pentagon.
Many of the older
buildings were demolished, and the Kruyskerk was built. Around the moat a
second rampart was built, creating a double line of defence.
fort was a large, tree-lined parade ground with the officer's quarters,
the Kruyskerk and the residence of Jaffna's Commander, which in the
British time came to be called King's House, or Queen's House, around it.
ஒல்லாந்தர்கால யாழ்ப்பாணப் பெண்கள்