Dutch Colombo (1775), Sri Lanka. Johannes Kip c. 1775
Dutch Colombo (1775), Sri Lanka. Johannes Kip c. 1775

Sri Lanka (Ceylon). List of Dutch colonial forts and possessions

Written by Marco Ramerini

SRI LANKA:

WEST COAST (North of Colombo)

Colombo: (Colombo, Columbo, Calamba, Kolombo, Colombe) (6°56′ N – 79°51′ E) Hultsdorf: (Hulffsdorp, Hulfsdorp, Hulftsdorp, Hulsdorp, Hulstsdorp)

Kasteel

Netherlands: 12 May 1656 – 16 Feb 1796

British: 16 Feb 1796 –

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Ribeiro “The historic tragedy of the islan of Ceylon” p. 207

Various Authors “History of Sri Lanka, 1500-1800” p. 548

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Matuaal: (Matueel)

It was a crossing point or ferry north of Colombo.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Retaal:

It was a crossing point or ferry near to Colombo.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Nackelgamma: (Naclagam)

The Nackelgamma pass is one of four in Colombo’s immediate environs that has been recorded in the land muster-rolls.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

St. Bastiaan: (St. Sebastiaan)

The St. Sebastiaan pass was one of four in Colombo’s immediate environs that has been noted in the land muster-rolls. A Portuguese monastery with the same name existed in Colombo.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Negombo: (Nigombo, Nigomba, Negumbo) (7°12′ N – 79°50′ E)

Netherlands: 9 Feb 1640 – 8 Nov 1640

Portuguese: 8 Nov 1640 – 9 Jan 1644

Netherlands: 9 Jan 1644 – 3 Feb 1796

British: 3 Feb 1796

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Winius “The fatal history of Portuguese Ceylon. Transition to Dutch rule” p. 42, 77-78

Ribeiro “The historic tragedy of the islan of Ceylon” pp. 112, 142

Nendemale:

According to its classification in the land muster-rolls of 1720, Nendemale would have been situated somewhere between Negombo and Colombo.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Tontotte:

Tontotte was a tiny guard post on the Kelani River, east of Negombo. It was a simple fort with four points and a wooden house in the middle.

Source:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Kalpitiya: (Calpentijn, Calpetyn, Calpeti, Calpettij, Calpetty) (8°14′ N – 79°45′ E)

Netherlands: – 5 Nov 1795

British: 5 Nov 1795 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Kalpetty:

Netherlands: – 13 Nov 1795

British: 13 Nov 1795 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Chilaw: (Silauw, Silouw, Chilauw) (7°34′ N – 79°48′ E)

Netherlands: -1 Feb. 1796

British: 1 Feb. 1796 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Puttalam: (Puttulang) (8°02′ N – 79°49′ E)

SOUTH-WEST COAST (South of Colombo)

Galle: (Gale, Galen, Gaalen, Punto de Galle, Puncto Galle) (6°02′ N – 80°13′ E)

Netherlands: 13 Mar 1640 – 23 Feb 1796

British: 23 Feb 1796 –

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Winius “The fatal history of Portuguese Ceylon. Transition to Dutch rule” p. 44

Unawatuna: (Unawatuna, Oenewatte) (6°01′ N – 80°15′ E)

Unawatuna is situated on the opposite side of the bay to Galle. The governor Para commissioned a country residence named ‘Nooit Gedacht’ to be built there in 1735.

Source:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Gintota: (Gindure, Gendure, Guidure, Gandure) (6°03′ N – 80°11′ E)

Anguruwatota: (6°38′ N – 80°05′ E)

Netherlands: Oct. 1652 – 1653

Portuguese: 1653

Netherlands: 1653 –

Sources:

Winius “The fatal history of Portuguese Ceylon. Transition to Dutch rule” p. 42, 77-78

Various Authors “History of Sri Lanka, 1500-1800” p. 169

Ambalangoda: (Amblangodde, Amblagedde, Amblagodde, Amblangoda, Amblangode, Amblangodoe) (6°14′ N – 80°04′ E)

The VOC built a school and a church here around 1750. The area supplied coral, which was processed into lime and used as a raw material in the manufacture of bricks for the VOC.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Kalutara: (Calitura, Caliture, Calituure, Calture) (6°35′ N – 79°58′ E)

Netherlands: Oct. 1652 – Mar 1654

Portuguese: Mar 1654 – (14 Oct.)* 15 Oct 1655

Netherlands: (14 Oct.)* 15 Oct 1655 – Feb 1796

British: Feb 1796 –

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Various Authors “History of Sri Lanka, 1500-1800” p. 169

* Ribeiro “The historic tragedy of the islan of Ceylon” pp. 112, 142

Pittuancarre:

A late 17th century chart indicates the VOC built a small fort on the Kalu Ganga River, in the village of Pittuancarre, 1 to 1 1/2 miles north east of Kaleture.

Source:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Akuressa: (Accuras) (6°14′ N – 80°03′ E)

Bentota: (Bentotte) (6°25′ N – 80°00′ E)

Pitigala: (Pittigelli) (6°20′ N – 80°13′ E)

Weligama: (Bellegam, Belligam, Biligao, Weligama) (5°58′ N – 80°25′ E)

Matara: (Mature, Matture) (5°57′ N – 80°32′ E)

Fort Matara

Redoute van Eck, Sterfort, Starfort

Netherlands: 164 ? – 25 Mar 1761

to Rebells

Netherlands: 26 Feb 1762 – 24 Feb 1796

British: 24 Feb 1796 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Hambantota: (Hambatota) (6°07′ N – 81°07′ E)

Walawe: (Waluwe)

Walawe is situated at the mouth of the Walawe River in the south of the island of Sri Lanka. The salt pans were to be found in the region between Walawe and Panama.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Tangalla: (Tangale) (6°01′ N – 80°48′ E)

Nielwelle:

Nilwella was a small settlement situated on a bay in southern Ceylon, near Tangalle.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

NORTH COAST

Jaffna: (Jaffnapatnam, Jaffanapatnam, Jaffenapatnam, Jaftenapatnam, Jeftenapatnam) (9°40′ N – 80°01′ E)

Netherlands: 24 (23*) Jun 1658 – 28 Sep 1795

British: 28 Sep 1795 –

Sources:

Ribeiro “The historic tragedy of the islan of Ceylon” p. 215

* Various Authors “History of Sri Lanka, 1500-1800” p. 170

Nallur: (Naloer) (9°41′ N – 80°02′ E)

Hammenheil: (Hammenhiel, Ham en Hiel, Hamehiel, Hamenhiel) (9°39′ N – 80°00′ E)

Fort Hammenheil

Netherlands: Mar 1658 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Point Pedro: (Pt Pedra, Pedre, Pedro, Punto Pedro, Portugese Punt) (9°49′ N – 80°14′ E)

Netherlands: – 28 Sep 1795

British: 28 Sep 1795 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Delft island:

Elephant Pass:

Pooneryn: (Ponnereijn, Ponnerijn, Ponnorijn, Poonerijn) (9°30′ N – 80°12′ E)

Fort Pijl:

Patchelapallij: (Patchelepale, Patchelepalle, Patchelepallij, Patchelele, Patchielepalle)

It is not entirely clear if there was a VOC settlement at Patchelapallij. The land muster-rolls repeatedly refer to “Drie Passen Patselepalle”, where VOC officials or soldiers were put to work.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Colombo Gammo: (Colombo Gamo, Colombogamma) (?)

An outpost in the area around Jaffnapatnam

Netherlands: 1765c. – 1775c.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Iranativu North & South: (Twee gebroeders)

‘The Two Brothers’ was the name given to two tiny islands north of Ceylon. The VOC’s land muster-rolls show that for most of the 18th century the Company posted two officials there. It is not clear which islands are being referred to, but they could be the two that were known as Enkhuizen and Hoorn in the 18th century.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Pantattaripu: (Paneteripou)

Sources:

Silva, R.K. de / W.G.M. Beumer ‘Illustrations and Views of Dutch Ceylon …’, Leiden 1988, p.319

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Kachchai: (Cathay, Catchiaij)

The Dutch presence in Kachchai made itself felt through the church and the church hall, which served as a school. The Dutch clergyman Baldaeus led the congregations of northern Ceylon between 1656 and 1665. He compiled a book with a detailed description of Ceylon. Like other Company employees, clergymen were required to serve for five years, excluding the journey. For married employees the term was ten years.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Mannar: (Manaar, Manaer, Mannaar, Manar) (8°58′ N – 79°54′ E)

Netherlands: 22 Feb 1658 – 5 Oct 1795

British: 5 Oct 1795 –

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Arippu: (Aripo, Aripoe, Aripa) (8°47′ N – 79°56′ E)

Mantota: (Mantotte, Mentotte) (8°56′ N – 80°00′ E)

Mantota was situated between mainland Ceylon and the island of Manaar.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Marichchukkaddi: (Marsikattie, Martikatte) (8°35′ N – 79°56′ E)

The land muster-rolls of 1725 and 1733 refer to a VOC station near the little town of Martikatte. It is not entirely certain whether the town corresponds with today’s Marichchukkaddi.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

EAST COAST

Trincomalee, Trincomale, Trinconemale, Trinconomaalo, Trinconomale, Triquilimale: (8°35′ N – 81°15′ E)

Fort Frederik, Fort Frederick

Fort Oostenburg, Fort Oostenburgh

Danish: May 1620 – 1621

Portuguese: July 1623 – (1) 2 May 1639

Netherlands: (1) 2 May 1639 – 1640

King of Kandy: (the fort was destroyed 1643? and abandoned) 1640 – September 1665

Netherlands: September 1665 – 8 January 1782

French: (the fort remains in Dutch hands) (March 1672 – July 1672) Dwaers in de weg, Dwars in de weg, Dwars in de wegh, Dwaars in de weg

British: 8 January 1782 – 28 August 1782

French: 28 August 1782 – 1783

Netherlands: 1783 – 26 August 1795 (Fort Oostenburg 31 August 1795)

British: 26 August 1795 (Fort Oostenburg 31 August 1795)

Sources:

Brohier, R. “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Arasaratnam, S. “Ceylon and the Dutch 1600-1800”

Erkelenchene: (Erkelenchene, Erckelansiene)

Erkelenchene was situated south of Trinconomale. The VOC built a small fort here.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Batticaloa: (Baticaloa, Batecalou, Battacaloa, Batticalo, Batticaloa, Batticoloa) (7°42′ N – 81°42′ E)

Netherlands: 18 May 1638 – 18 Sep 1795

British: 18 Sep 1795 –

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Winius “The fatal history of Portuguese Ceylon. Transition to Dutch rule” p. 37

Chinnecallette Delle: (Chinecalattadele)

This VOC station was situated on the eastern coast of the island, south of Batticaloa. It was attacked by the King of Kandy’s armies in 1672. The VOC fort was built on a square base with four bastions.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Koddiyar or Kaddaiparichchan: (Koetjaar, Cutiar, Cotiaar, Kottiyar, Koddiyar) (8°30′ N – 81°17′ E)

Netherlands: 1668 ? – 1672

French: 1672 –

Netherlands: ? – ?

Sources:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Mullaitivu: (Mullaittivu, Moelitiwe) (9°14′ N – 80°48′ E)

Netherlands: – 1 Oct 1795

Source:

Brohier “Links between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands: a book of Dutch Ceylon”

Panama: (Panama, Panoua, Pamene) (6°45′ N – 81°48′ E)

Panama was a key location to the VOC in maintaining the Company’s monopoly of the salt trade.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Appuratota: (Apretotte)

It was situated on a bay in the Panama region on Sri Lanka’s south eastern coast, Van Goens had plans to build a fort there.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Yala: (Jala, Jaleput, Jale) (6°22′ N – 81°31′ E)

The Dutch built a redoubt in Yala. Yala was a key location to the VOC in maintaining the Company’s monopoly of the salt trade.

Sources:

Dam, Pieter van “Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie” (uitg. door Dr. F.W. Stapel), 2e boek, dl.2, p.347

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Kirinda: (Kierinde, Kirinde) (6°13′ N – 81°20′ E)

In 1775, Kirinda was an outposts manned by just one Company official.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Mahagama:

Mahagama was a key location to the VOC in maintaining the Company’s monopoly of the salt trade.

Source:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

CENTRAL ZONE

Kandy: (Kandia, Candia) (7°17′ N – 80°38′ E)

Avissawella: (Sitavaque) (6°57′ N – 80°12′ E)

Hanwella: (Hangwelle, Hangewelle) (6°54′ N – 80°04′ E)

Arandere: (Arandora)

To strengthen its position in the hinterland surrounding Colombo, the Company built a string of forts along the River Kelani in the second half of the 17th century. Arandare was one of these. The fort’s sole purpose was to frighten off the king of Kandy, but in 1695 the king captured the fort and razed it to the ground. A literary source identifying this location as a VOC post has not yet been traced.

Source:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Goenaville: (Goenawille, Gourbeville, Langevelle)

It was situated along the Kelani River. It was a small fort manned by VOC troops of Dutch and Ceylonese origin.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Malvana: (Malwanne, Malwannie, Maltuane)

It was situated on the Kelani River. The land muster-rolls refer to the area as “op Malwanne en in ‘s Comp: Pannebackerij”. Here the Dutch renovated an old Portuguese fort.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Ruwanwella: (Ruanelle) (7°02′ N – 80°15′ E)

A fort along the River Kelani, it lay in the heart of the jungle and was difficult to reach. The post was abandoned soon after it was built.

Sources:

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Mapulegam:

Mapulegam was situated north east of Galle in the Ceylonese interior. The town was a border post between the Dutch controlled area and the kingdom of Kandy. The VOC built a simple fort here to guard the border.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Katuwana: (Catoene, Cattoene, Katoene) (6°16′ N – 80°41′ E)

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

Hakmana: (Hakman)

Hakmana lay north east of Mature on a tributary of the Tangale River. It was a small VOC outpost intended as a support base for the fort at Katuwana in the interior.

Sources:

“Landmonsterrollen, 1691-1790”

“Atlas of Mutual Heritage” http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/

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