The Cannons of Kannur - St. Angelos Fort, Kannur, Kerala.

Mapilla Bay
Starting from the ninth century with the Chera rulers, Kannur/Cannanore in Kerala’s Malabar region has been influenced by the Kolathiris, Portuguese, Dutch, Arakkal Rajas and the English. The local Kolathiri rulers of North Malabar were successful in befriending the Portuguese traders to gain control of the vibrant pepper trade in the early part of the sixteenth century. Slowly but steadily a fort was built which resulted in the Portuguese gaining control of the seas to the south-west of India known popularly as the Arabian Sea.
A Cannon at St. Angelos Fort, Kannur.
St. Angelo’s Fort or locally Kannur kota is a massive laterite structure built on a cliff protruding into the Arabian sea by the first Portuguese Viceroy to India, Don Francesco de Almeida with support and help from the Kolathiri Rajas in 1505 AD. It was used to garrison navy troops and their equipments and helped to ship-off traded goods. As time passed the Dutch and the English took possession making it one of the most important military stations on the west coast.
Ruins of the fort still remain showcasing strength and power. It is built with laterite/vettu-kallu which is aplenty in the Malabar region and is sought after even today in the construction of homes and commercial establishments. The fort is massive and is almost triangular in shape with a moat that separates it from the mainland, used as a protective mechanism to stall the enemy from direct entry and connects the Arabian sea to the Mapilla bay running east-west.

Stables, dungeons, cellars and an armory are testimony to the European architectural design . Most of the buildings including chapels and prisons were built by the Portuguese while the stables and ammunition rooms were built by the Dutch. An eerie feeling persists within the fort with the continuous lashing of waves on its walls. The Archaeological Survey of India maintains the fort and treats it as a protected monument of national importance.
The Mapilla bay is beside the fort and is an important fishing harbor. The colored boats anchored at the bay offer a treat to the eye from atop the fort walls.Cannons placed intelligently on the forts’ walls never fail to attract the many visitors to Kannur kota. Considered to be of historical importance, school children are the more frequent visitor.
St. Angelos Fort, Kannur, Kerala.
St. Angelos Fort, Kannur, Kerala.
An epitaph of Sussanna Weyerman, first wife of Dutch Governor Godfried Weyerman can be seen in the fort and recalls the possession and position of the Dutch on the fort. A part of the stables has been converted into an information centre which remains closed for some unknown reason.
St Angelos Fort, Kannur, Kerala.
St Angelos Fort, Kannur, Kerala.
Arakkal museum, the light-house and the famed Payyambalam beach are all in close proximity to St. Angelos, around 3km from Kannur city.
The Europeans indeed left a relic in the architectural beauty of St. Angelos, one that will go down generations as a treasure-trove in history.
Experienced and Written by: Ashwin Thomas PolachirackalSource


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