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Forts and Fortifications

Sri Lanka’s Forts and Fortifications date back thousands of years, mainly built by Sri Lankan Kings of ancient eras, these include many walled cities and forts. Since the inception of colonial rule in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka was ruled by colonial empires that dominated the power of the country. These colonists worked the Sri Lankan inhabitants hard, building their forts along the coastal belt.

The Portuguese were the first to build forts in the country, followed by the Dutch who captured these forts, later expanding them. The British occupied the forts during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, and almost all the colonial forts were heavily garrisoned. The coastal belt being manned by the Ceylon Garrison Artillery during the two world wars. Except for a few, these forts were abandoned by the military, yet retained civil, administrative officers until the early 20th century. Others retained military garrisons as these were more administrative than operational. It was during the escalation of the Sri Lankan Civil War that Jaffna fort came under siege on several occasions.

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