Built by the British in 1786 when Francis Light ruled Penang, this fort with all its battle cannons, has never engaged in a real combat. Fast forward today, Fort Cornwallis is one of the most heritage sites for events – from immersive performances to your once-in-a-lifetime wedding proposal. Fort Cornwallis, first built in timber on this site by Captain Francis Light in 1786, is one of the most important structures in the region. The building seen today was commenced by Light in 1793 and upgraded in 1804, though with a surrounding moat. The fort represented British protection and stability in a region of uncertainty, enabling the growth of Penang’s uniquely rich and diverse population. Its military status was downgraded in 1897 and it became a base for police and volunteer forces. Japanese troops occupied Fort Cornwallis in WWII, utilising it and the Esplanade for warehouses. In 2016, The Esplanade Park Sdn Bhd was awarded the contract to operate, manage and maintain Fort Cornwallis by the Penang State Government. The Fort is of immense historical significance to Penang and Malaysia as a whole, dating back to settlement by the British East India Company in 1786. Its importance played a major role in securing the 2008 listing of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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