Saturday, February 1, 2020

Delft Island Fort

Delft Island Fort
Delft Island Fort (also known as Meekaman/Meegaman Fort) is a ruined fort located on the island of Delft (Tamil: Neduntheevu) in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
The fort is said to be built during the Portuguese/Dutch Period (Dias et al., 2016). After vanquishing the Portuguese, the Dutch took over the fort and added a barrack to it nearby (Dias et al., 2016). However, local Tamils attribute this fort to a king named Meekaman, a native leader of the fisher caste (Karaiyar). 

J. P. Lewis in his article published in 1909, reveals more details about the old structures found in the Delft island including the fort,
Baldaeus gives a picture of this fort as it was when the Dutch took it from the Portuguese. It certainly, even at the present day, looks like a Portuguese building. But the tradition is that it was erected by Mikamam, a king of the fisher caste (Karaiyar). In October, 1903, I visited the ruins of the other fort, which is known as " Vedi Arasan's Fort." .................. It is probably, like the first fort, Portuguese, but they are both attributed to the traditional native kings, Vedi Arasan the Mukkuvar king and Mikamam the Karaiyar king. I understand, however, that there are places in.the Batticaloa District called after these personages, in the same way that every large tank everywhere is attributed to "Kullakondan," so that much weight need not be attached to the fact that particular places are called after them.
Citation: Lewis, 1909. pp.350-351
Fort
The fort has been constructed out of limestone and brick and the present structure is about 30 m long and 26.5 m wide (Wijebandara, 2014). The walls are about 2 m thick and rise upward at least to a height of 6.4 m (Wijebandara, 2014). The remaining evidence suggest that the fort may have had 2 or 3 floors (Dias et al., 2016).

A protected monument
The Meegamen Fort in the area called Seekiriyampallam situated in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. fma/3 Delft Central in the Delft Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.

Attribution
1) Meegaaman Fort by David Stanley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.217.
2) Lewis, J. P., 1909. Notes on Delft. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland.Vol. 21, No. 62 (1909), pp. 341-360.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1093.
4) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.64-66.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 1 February 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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