A Famosa

Melaka, Malaysia

A Famosa


A Famosa (Malay: Kota A Famosa; "The Famous" in Portuguese, also known as Fortaleza Velha Portuguese: the old fortress, and Dutch: Slavenburgh (slave castle) & De Misericorde (Our Lady of Mercy, from French: Notre Dame de Miséricorde) was a Portuguese fortress built in Malacca, Malaysia, in 1512. The oldest part of the fortress was a five-storey keep which gave its name to the fortress as a whole. Some time following the Battle of Malacca (1641) and the occupation of the city by the Dutch, the keep was destroyed but the outer walls of the fortress were reinforced. However, in 1807 the British destroyed most of the fortress. The Porta de Santiago gateway, and the restored Middelburg Bastion, are the only parts of the fortress that remain today. They are among the oldest European architectural remains in Southeast Asia and the Far East.

In 1511, a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. His forces attacked and defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albuquerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. Albuquerque believed that Malacca would become an important port linking Portugal to the Spice Route in China. At this time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to Ming China and returning home to Portugal.

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