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 European magazine featured fort in 1791

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PostSubject: European magazine featured fort in 1791   Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:01 pm

It carried a map, which indicates that the structure was originally a kilometre long stretching from Victoria hospital to KIMS hospital

The discovery of two cannons from the Tipu era has taken Bangaloreans by surprise. But historians say it is just the tip of the iceberg. They claim that the fort had figured in a European magazine way back in 1791.

An old map published in European Magazine and London Review in December 1791 clearly shows the original contours of the fort. It marks the spot where the two cannons were found last week as ‘arsenal’.

The fort was originally a kilometre long. In its original state, Tipu Sultan’s palace, the Kote Venkataramana Swamy temple and the armoury in Bangalore Medical College compound were inside the fort. It would have also included Makkala Koota park, KIMS hospital and college, Land Bank, Minto hospital, St Luke's church, Fort high school and Victoria hospital.

Prof Suryanath Kamath says, “The stone fort had 34 towers. Each had cannons. If Tipu had not lost in 1791, he may have transferred the cannons to other suitable locations. A few were carried away by the British. I won’t rule out the presence of a few more cannons and ammunition in the fort.”

In a letter to the directors of the East India Company, Lord Cornwallis who led the British in the war talks about the ordnance found in the fort.

He says that Tipu fired cannons on the British army. The letter says, “I have not yet been able to obtain correct lists of the ordnance, or of the different articles that were found in the magazines of the place; and I can therefore only say in general that there were upwards of one hundred serviceable pieces of ordnance.”

Experts say that the British are unlikely to have buried the cannons as Cornwallis writes, “After giving some repairs to the breaches, making a number of necessary arrangements and leaving the train of heavy artillery to be refitted during my absence, I moved from Bangalore on the 28th.”

Historian Suresh Moona says, “Geographically, the location of the canons is exactly at the centre between Tipu’s palace and the armoury located adjacent to Bangalore Medical College. All these present-day structures were well within the fort that was built by Tipu. The cannons may have been lost during the destruction of the fort wall over the years.” They could well have been used against the British by the Mysore army.

The ‘fort’ that remains today was the common entrance to two separate forts that existed till the 19th century. Kamath says, “While the bigger one that included the pete (markets) was constructed by Kempe Gowda, the smaller one, located just opposite, was constructed by Chikkadevaraja Wadiyar with mud and mortar. Later, Tipu fortified it with stone walls. In fact, Mirza Ismail, who later served as diwan, had used similar stones from the fort to construct Vani Vilas hospital.”

Fort history

The fort was captured by the British on March 21, 1791. Lord Cornwallis writes, “The siege of the fort, which was rendered singularly arduous, not only by the scarcity of forage and strength of its works and garrison but also by the preference of Tippoo and his whole army, was happily terminated by an assault on the night of the 21st, in which the kellidar, and a great number of his garrison were put to the sword.” It was returned to Tipu, but was recaptured in 1799 during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. It served as a garrison for the British for several decades before being pulled down at the end of the 19th century.

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