OUR
OPENING
HOURS

FORT CORNWALLIS

OPENING HOURS
9.00AM-10.00PM

ENTRANCE TICKET
NON-MYKAD: MYKAD:
ADULT: RM20 ADULT: RM10
CHILDREN: RM10 CHILDREN: RM5

ABOUT US

Fort Cornwallis, first built in timber on this site by Captain Francis Light in 1786, is one of the most important structures in the region. The building seen today was commenced by Light in 1793 and upgraded in 1804, though with a surrounding moat. The fort represented British protection and stability in a region of uncertainty, enabling the growth of Penang’s uniquely rich and diverse population. Its military status was downgraded in 1897 and it became a base for police and volunteer forces. Japanese troops occupied Fort Cornwallis in WWII, utilising it and the Esplanade for warehouses.

In 2016, The Esplanade Park Sdn Bhd was awarded the contract to operate, manage and maintain Fort Cornwallis by the Penang State Government. The Fort is of immense historical significance to Penang and Malaysia as a whole, dating back to settlement by the British East India Company in 1786. Its importance played a major role in securing the 2008 listing of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

HISTORY

Francis Light, as superintendent representing the British East India Company, first stepped ashore in Penang on 17 July 1786, with the conditional permission of the Sultan of Kedah to form a settlement. The point was then covered in trees and his men were immediately put to work clearing enough room to pitch tents. Protection in an uncertain region, where piracy and opportunism abounded, was his first concern.

On 3 August, just over two weeks after landing, he marked out space for a fort and eight days later hoisted a flag proclaiming possession and giving the island the official name, Prince of Wales Island.

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ARCHITECTURE

Fort Cornwallis is an example of a ‘star’ fort, so called because of its projecting bastions on each corner. By the time Light landed in Penang in 1786, the art of constructing defences based on geometry had been developing for nearly two centuries.

Jean Errard’s La fortification réduicte en art et démonstrée, published in Paris in 1600, was perhaps the first work to advocate the use of polygonal designs based on geometric principles, but the person generally acknowledged as the main proponent of the bastion or star fort design, as used in Penang.

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