Hakmana Dutch Fort (හක්මණ ලන්දේසි බළකොටුව)

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Hakmana is a small town 22km away from Matara lying on the Walasmulla Road. During the Dutch occupation of the country Hakmana played a major role in capturing the lowlands of Ceylon from the Portuguese.

The Dutch presence in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) lasted 150 years, officially from 1658 when the Dutch expelled the Portuguese, until 1796, the year of the British occupation. However, the first encounter with the island dates back to 1602, when Joris van Spilbergen arrived on the eastern coast.

The Portuguese were the first to introduce European forts in Ceylon. They fortified the major administrative, military and economic centres of Jaffna, Negombo, Colombo, Galle, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee.After the Dutch had captured these forts in the period 1638–1658, most were rebuilt or strengthened.

The military landscape in the Galle Commandement consisted of the major coastal forts and trade bases of Galle and Matara, the guard posts and stockades Hakmana, Akuressa and Walawe, and the outpost in the borderland that prevented an enemy attack: Katuwana Fort (Floore et al., 2010).

Stockade was a less importance military outpost compared to a main fort. only meant to control the area in between the frontier posts and main coastal forts. As with the forts, the location of the stockades was in some cases determined by the existence of a Portuguese fortification.

The year which this fort was built is not known, but there is definite proof that it was in existence in some form in 1650 under the control of Kandyan kingdom as Joan Maetsuycker (the Dutch governor who served as the Governor of Zeylan (Sri Lanka) from 1646 to 1650) had sent a letter from this fort addressed to the king of Kandy, ending as

“We most humbly beg Your Majesty in your high wisdom to remedy these our grievances in order that our peaceful Alliance may endure as long as the Sun and Moon will abide in the heavens. As suring .Your Majesty that on our side no cause will be given for its disturbance, I am at present at Haeckman with the gentlem an who is to replace me here in office , to install him in authority over Your Majesty’ s lands and towns.

We both subscribe ourselves Your Majesty’ s most faithful servants , and we trust that Your Majesty will honour us with a favourable reply and give us the satisfaction to which our long services to Your Majesty have entitled us

In Your Majesty’s fortress at Haekman January 11, 1650

Your Imperial Majesty’s Servant
J. MAERSUYCKER”


(Pieris, 1929)

During the Dutch period, Hakmana was a marketplace of Dutch. At that time, Hakmana was known as Bulugaha Kade. There has been a Dutch church on the site of Hakmana Methodist College is located today. On February 10, 1761, the Sinhalese forces destroyed the Hakmana fort of the Dutch and today there is no remains found here. The stones have been carried off to build around the houses have been developed and a government building has been built on the land where the fort was.

The only surviving map of this fort is the above, available online at the National Archives of Netherlands and based on the various descriptions and this map, this fort has been placed at the 3 way junction passing the new Hakmana Police Station by Chryshane Mendis in his masters thesis (Mendis, 2020).

References

  1. Floore, P. and Jayasena, R. (2010) “Dutch Forts Of Seventeenth Century Ceylon And Mauritius: An Historical Archaeological Perspective,” in First Forts : Essays on the archaeology of proto-colonial fortifications (History of Warfare ; v. 60). Leiden, Netherlands.: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 235–268.
  2. Pieris, P.E. (1929) Some documents relating to the rise of the Dutch power in ceylon, 1602-1670: From the translation at the India Office. Colombo: C.A.C. Press.
  3. Mendis, C., 2020. FORTIFICATIONS AND THE LANDSCAPE : A GIS Inventory and Mapping of Kandyan and Dutch Fortifications in Sri Lanka. Master’s thesis. University of Amsterdam.

Also See

Map of  Hakmana Dutch Fort

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Traveling Directions to the Location of Hakmana Dutch Fort

Route from Matara to Hakmana Dutch Fort
Though : Thihagoda
distance :23 km
Travel time : 40 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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