Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Anchuthengu Fort, Kerala steeped in history

Anchuthengu fort, Kerala. blog.travelwithsmile.com

Above image: Anchuthengu, formerly known as Anjengo, is a coastal town in the Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala. This was an old Portuguese settlement lies between Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, near Varkala. ...............

The East India company after getting necessary permission from the Queen of Attingal (now in Thiruvananthapuram District) in 1694 established the Anchuthengu Fort (also known as Anjengo Fort). Anchuthengu was once an important  Portuguese settlement. Later. it came under the controlof the British. Strategically located  near the town of Anchuthengu, the fort served as the first signalling station for ships arriving from England. The East India company came to India to expand their mercantile trade and Kerala was famous for spices, EIC expanded their activities in this SW part of India.

Surprisingly, it was EIC 's first permanent post on the Malabar Coast and the fort was further strengthened to safeguard their trading activities. The British were beset with many problems in building the fort here. The EIC had begun the  construction work in January 1696, but in June same year  pirates destroyed the Bengal Pilot Service's sloop Gingali at Anjengo. In 1697, locals attacked the fort, when the work was in progress, but the motive behind the attack was not known . But the British, somehow survived the impediments and completed the fort in 1699. 

 
Anchuthengu fort, Kerala. Flickr com


The square-shaped fort has  four bastions, each of which mounted eight guns. The walls between the bastions had seven or eight guns. Besides, there was a battery of some 20 guns facing the sea. The fort had a garrison of 400 Europeans , etc.

Right from the outset, it is believed, the EIC employees did not know how to treat the locals. The British were more interested in showering gifts on the Queen of Attingal than improving their contacts with the locals. This led to an attack by the rebels against the British. To add fuel to the the fire,
the local  heads, who were upset over  the EIC's policy of providing the Queen with gifts, but at the same time ignoring them, rebelled against the British on 15 April 1721. They attacked a 140-man EIC expedition that was carrying   gifts to the Queen from Anjengo fort, some 10 miles away. After bloody attack and killing by the locals  the EIC sent a relief force from Thalassery that ended the siege.

The fort was used for storing arms and ammunition during the Anglo-Mysore War and it was quite useful for the EIC military operations. The Bombay Dockyard in 1748 built the snow Luconia for the Anjengo Pilot Service. Fo the first time in 1802 a large ship of 260 tons called 
Anjengo, was built there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchuthengu_Fort