Fort Cornwallis, George Town

Fort Cornwallis, George Town

Charles Edward Cornwallis V did not end his military career at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. He went on to happier times. He became Governor-General of India in 1786. In that same year, Captain Francis Light, captured Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah. Captain Light immediately built Fort Cornwallis, a stockade of palm trunks.

Captain Light died in Penang in 1794. The fort was completed in 1810. It was rebuilt using Indian convict laborers. Brick and stone replaced the palm trunks. A moat, thirty feet wide and seven feet deep surrounded the fort but it was filled in the 1920s. The fort has never seen combat. It served administrative, rather than defensive duties.

A chapel was built at the fort in 1799. John Trimmers married Martina Rozells, Captain Light's widow, in the chapel that same year. An ammunition magazine building survives in the southwest corner of the fort. The fort has a collection of cannons. The largest is called Seri Rambai, cast in 1603 by the Dutch who gave it to the Sultan of Johor in return for trading concessions. The British seized it in a raid in 1871.

A steel skeleton lighthouse, 69 feet high, was built in the fort in 1882. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Malaysia. It is the only lighthouse in Malaysia that serves a navigational function. The fort is bounded by Light Street in the south, the Jalan Barakbah Road in the east and north and by the esplanade's promenade.

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Fort Cornwallis on Map

Sight Name: Fort Cornwallis
Sight Location: George Town, Malaysia (See walking tours in George Town)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in George Town, Malaysia

Create Your Own Walk in George Town

Create Your Own Walk in George Town

Creating your own self-guided walk in George Town is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town, Malaysia, has much to be proud of when it comes to religious heritage. The city boasts a plethora of wonderful churches, temples, mosques, and other religious sites – each beautifully decorated and with its own unique story. Follow us on this self-guided walk and see some of them up close.

We start at the Acheen Street Mosque. Dating back to the early 19th century, this is one of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Farquhar Street Walking Tour

Farquhar Street Walking Tour

Farquhar Street, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008, is a culturally rich thoroughfare in George Town, Malaysia, and home to many interesting historic properties. Let's take a brief journey down this storied street and see what they are.

At the outset of Farquhar stands the impressive Supreme Court building, a symbol of justice and governance in Penang. Just a stone's throw away,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
George Town Introduction Walking Tour

George Town Introduction Walking Tour

Some felt in Malaya that the city of George Town should be renamed Tanjung Penaga ("Cape Penaga"). That was the name of the area where George Town now stands. But the Chinese, British, Muslim, Malay and Indian movers and shakers of the town wisely declined. It might be bad for business.

Captain Francis Light, R. N., came to Tanjung Penaga in 1786. He wanted to set up an entrepôt for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles