Ambon: A team of archaeologists of the Maluku Archaeological Office discovered a fort identified with European characteristics in Toloa District, Tidore Island, Northern Maluku, supposedly built during the era of Sultan Mansyur in 1520.
Natives called it the Fort of Toloa, according to archaeologist Syahruddin Mansyur in Ambon, Thursday.
The fortification is a military construction designed for defense and purposed with bastions at each of the four cardinal points, commonly used in the mid-16th century until the 19th century in Europe.
The bastion is a structure of the fort where artillery and cannons were stored, usually towering at the same height as the main part of the fort but situated outward.
Despite the structure being predominantly European, no single record or other historical sources mentioning the European ever built a defense fort in Toloa had been found.
"We have, thus far, not found any Portuguese, Spanish, or also Dutch-Indies historical records that cover this fortress," Mansyur revealed.
Hence, he assumed that the Fort of Toloa was a local defense fort built by the Sultanate of Tidore with assistance from the Spanish, in connection with the trading cooperation they had forged with the nation in 1521.
"The Sultanate of Tidore most likely built the fortress for defense against the Sultanate of Ternate owing to the rivalry simmering between them during that era," Mansyur revealed.
When archaeologists first came across this fort, its structure had incurred damage based on its age and nature and was entirely covered by vegetation.
This fort is situated not so far from the structure of Kadato Biji Negara, a complex of the old palace The Sultanate of Tidore in Toloa, yet it remains ambiguous if the Fort of Toloa was also abandoned when the central government moved from Toloa to Soa Sio in the mid-17th century.
"We can immediately identify that the structure was indeed a fort, as there were bastions at the eastern and western sides. Nonetheless, bastions across the northern and southern areas have suffered extensive damage," Mansyur stated. (Antara)