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.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in George Town. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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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 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
George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town has much to be proud of when it comes to religious heritage, as the city has a host of wonderful churches, temples, mosques and other religious centers. Each is beautifully decorated and has its own unique story to tell. Check out the most interesting historical religious edifices in the city with this self-guided walking tour.

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

Farquhar Street Walking Tour

The Farquhar Street is home to a number of interesting historic buildings and other heritage sites. In fact, it has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 2008. Here you can see the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, the St. Xavier school and the Protestant Cemetery, where Francis Light's tomb is located. While you’re here, take this self-guided walking tour to admire the beautiful...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles