Fort Marlborough

E-13-1-malboroughITS–The Marlborough Fort in the central part of Bengkulu City was built by the East Indian Company between 1713 and 1719 when Governor Joseph Callet held tenure. At that time, the fort was the second strongest British fort, after Fort George in Madras, India. The British reigned over Bengkulu from the 16th century to 1825. They came to the area for pepper. Under the London Tractate, the British transferred the area to the Dutch in exchange for Tumasik (now Singapore).

The construction of the fort was conducted by forced laborers from India who were all Muslims. Marlborough is believed to have been taken from the name of a region in India. The Indian workers brought along Tabot art, which today is still performed by the people. This occurs from the first to the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram and has been put on the calendar of events of the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA)

The fort was furnished with an underground tunnel three kilometers long, connecting the governor’s office to the Panjang beach. The fort has several prison rooms. President Sukarno was once held there during the Dutch-Indies Administration. The fort also has several underground tunnels which lead to PantaiPanjang, TapakPadri and the governor’s office. Some of the tunnels remained neglected for years and as such need until it may be open again to the public.

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