Fort St Angelo - A blend of architectural style

Fort St Angelo - A blend of architectural style

Eye-catching: A panoramic view of the St Angelo Fort in Cannanore.

The Fort St Angelo is a composite feature of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English architecture (colonial architecture). Built of laterite, roughly triangular, with high ramparts on a rocky promontory, surrounded by sea in all other sides, the Fort attracts many tourists almost everyday. The beautiful location overlooking the sea, well maintained gardens inside the fort and a serene ambience, is a feast for the eyes of the visitors.

Most of the buildings like chapels, house of mercy prison, offices and other amenities in the fort were built by the Portuguese. The Dutch built the horse-stables and ammunition house inside the fort. The main gate is towards the land and is protected by the bastions.

The epitaph of Susanna Weyerman, the first wife of Dutch Governor Godfried Weyerman, who died on March 28, 1745 AD, at the age of 17 years, recalls the possession and position of the Dutch on the Fort. The cannons that are used by the Portuguese and the British have been kept inside the Fort. Presently, the cannons are fixed in the bastions of the fort wall pointing towards the sea.

History

History has it that the king of Kolathunad offered a site to construct a factory at Kannur to establish commercial relations with Portuguese. The Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, first came to Malabar coast in 1498 AD (the same time, he had also visited St Mary’s island near Malpe too) and he strengthened more cordial relation with the Kolathiri Raja. Later, the Portuguese navigator Podro Alvares Cabral made adjacent installations in the factory (ware house) in 1500 AD. Subsequently, in 1501 AD, Joao D’Nova established a small factory at Kannur and he returned to Portugal. During the second visit of Vasco da Gama in 1502 AD, he built a palisade with the permission from Kolathiri Raja and 200 soldiers were stationed in the factory.

In 1505 AD, Dom Francisco D’Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy to India, obtained permission from Kolathiri Raja to construct a fort and it was completed in 1507 AD. The Fort was named as St Angelo. Later on, it became an important military station for the purpose of defence in the West Coast.

As a part of colonial imperialism, the Dutch were also competent to establish their supremacy on trade in peninsular India, particularly in Kerala, along with other European powers like Portuguese, British and the French. In 1663, the Dutch captured St Angelo fort from Portuguese and made modifications in the fort. Then it was sold to Ali Rajas of Kannur in 1722 AD. Later, the British seized the fort in 1790 AD and enlarged it to make the most important military station in the Malabar coast.

Other attractions

Besides the Fort St Angelo, the famous Parishini Kadavu temple, where a large number of devotees throng; a snake park, which was in news some years ago when some miscreants set it on fire killing several reptiles; and a wellknown Vismaya Amusement Park are in the close vicinity (all less than 15 kms)

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