Fort of Somba Opu

Fort of Somba Opu

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E-13-2-BENTENG-SUMBA-OPUITS–In the early 16th century, soon after the fall of Malacca into the hands of the Portuguese, the first Europeans arrived in the Indonesian archipelago, especially, at first, in Maluku. Their primary purpose in the beginning was to buy spices. Gowa, at that time, had already grown into a strong and powerful kingdom, and SombaOpu the capital, had become a busy and important harbor.

The Portuguese came to Gowa to buy up the spices which traders had bought in the Banda Islands for sale in SombaOpu. Thus, large supplies of spices were stored at SombaOputo sell to the Portuguese, who shipped them to Malacca or Europe.

In 1538, when the 9th King of Gowa was in power, SombaOpu was already much visited by Portuguese merchants. Besides buying spices, they also came to spread the Roman Catholic religion in Sulawesi.

The Portuguese were experts in trade and navigation. Their ships carried strong crews and guns. They had no qualms about occupying or demolishing a port of a fortification in their trade interest.

In 1601, after having established a foothold in Maluku, the first Dutchmen arrived at the Harbor of SombaOpu. However, they were even less welcome than the Portuguese, who seemed more willing to adjust themselves to the locally prevailing customs and regulations.

At that time, there were about 500 Portuguese living in SombaOpu, and their presence had not given rise to any problems to the people or the king.

The Dutch force visited SombaOpu and asked Sultan of Gowa to stop trading with Malacca and to stop the shipments of rice to that port. The proposal was refused by the sultan who insisted that SombaOpu be kept open to ships from all ports. The following period was one of conflict between Gowa and the Dutch, who closed their trading post in SombaOpu after disputes with the Portuguese and the Spanish. When spice growers in Maluku sold most of their harvest to traders from Java, Malacca, Gowa and Portugal, leaving the VOC barely half of the supplies they normally should gather, the Dutch cup overflowed.

During the reign of Sultan Hasanuddin, in 1655, the Dutch suffered a defeat on ButonIsland. In 1699, SombaOpu fell into Dutch hands. A treaty was finally signed, known as the Bongaya Treaty. Under its terms the fort at Jumpandang was ceded to the Dutch who renamed it Fort Rotterdam. The fort at SombaOpu was demolished.

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