04 April 2009

Fort Jesus

Construction of Fort Jesus began in 1593 on Mombasa Island. The Portuguese moved to Mombasa from their trading base at Malindi along with the local ruler of Malindi.

For almost a century and a half the Portuguese based their activities along the eastern coast of Africa in Fort Jesus.

In March 1696 a fleet from Oman laid siege to Fort Jesus for 33 months.

Fort Jesus came under the rule of Oman.

This ended Portuguese rule north of the Rovuma River.

In 1699, 1703 and 1710 unsuccessful efforts were made by the Portuguese to retake Fort Jesus.

The Portuguese did retake the fort in 1728, but surrendered it again to the Arabs in 1729.

The British came upon the scene in the early 1800's as they began efforts to stop the slave trade.

Mombasa was a British Protectorate for a couple of years and then annexed to the sultanate of Zanzibar.

When the British colonized Kenya, they used the fort as a prison for a while.

In 1958 the fort was declared an historical monument.

James Kirkman (center above) excavated the fort from 1958-1971.
(He also excavated the ruins at Gedi.)

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