Fort Rotterdam: A Piece of History from the City of Daeng

September 03, 2018

History can often be perceived with two different points of view; the darkest or the turning point moment for one nation. Sometimes, it can also be perceived as a little bit of both, for history is what builds a nation and a reminder of the long journey of our founding fathers.
The year was 1667. The 16th ruler of the Sultanate of Gowa, Sultan Hasannudin, has finally agreed to sign what was later known as the Treaty of Bongaya. After the arrival of VOC Admiral Cornelis Speelman, numerous of small kingdoms in the eastern of Indonesia were soon admitting their defeat to the Dutch East India Company. Without any remaining allies, The Sultanate of Gowa was now struggling to fight back. Admiral Cornelis Speelman saw this as a great opportunity to strike back – to seize the throne in the most cunning way one could possibly imagine, a peace offer.
The Treaty of Bongaya was signed by the two most prominent figures on both sides, Sultan Hasannudin and Admiral Cornelis Speelman. Masking as a ‘peace offering’ was a declaration of Gowa’s defeat to VOC and Sultan Hasannudin’s acknowledgment of their powers in Indonesian territories. Many historians believe that this was the beginning of Gowa’s downfall. Local merchants were now out of job, kings and nobles must send their money and most belonging possessions to the VOC every seasons, and people were starting to feel imprison on their own motherland. Even Gowa’s once pride, Benteng Ujung Pandang, was now turned into a symbol of colonial power named Fort Rotterdam.
Fort Rotterdam, or what used to be known as Benteng Ujung Pandang, was built in 1545 by the 10th ruler of the Sultanate of Gowa, Imanrigau Daeng Bonto Karaeng Lakiung. After the colonial invasion, this fort was destroyed and then rebuild in 1667. Almost 300 years later, Fort Rotterdam stood tall amidst numerous of hotel in Makassar and other place that screams modernization – a beautiful contrast which symbolize how far this nation has come.
If you are planning on visiting Makassar very soon, you must put Fort Rotterdam in your itinerary. Learning a piece of history from the City of Daeng would be too good to be missed.