Tiny fort with a confused heritage

Like Kota Janji this fort has a controversial history. Again, some reports credit its construction to the Portuguese, but this is unsubstantiated. What is documented is that a Spanish expedition in 1611 landed and constructed the fort.

Strategically, it dominates one of Ternate’s few reef-free landing points, apart from Talangame, and heavy cannon mounted on its gun platform could interdict shipping off Fort Orange just 2.5km/1.5 m away. However, being sited so close to this powerful Dutch fortress, far from their other stronghold of Kastella, and in easy range of the guns of passing VOC Indiaman, its utility to the Spanish was always going to be questionable.

A c. 1650 view of Fort Hollandia. Courtesy of the Netherlands National Archives

A c. 1650 view of Fort Hollandia. Courtesy of the Netherlands National Archives

It appears that by 1613 it was abandoned and already in Dutch hands. Renamed Hollandia, it was later handed over to the Sultan, whose residence had been lost to the Spanish in the Kastella complex. He then modified the structure as his quarters to local design, giving it a unique indigenous style, at odds with any other European built fort in the region.

During the British attack on Ternate in 1801, their force attempted an escalade of Fort Tolukko, but were driven back and had to settle down to a lengthy siege of Fort Orange.

Tolukko had a facelift in the 1990’s. While of questionable authenticity, its picturesque location certainly adds to its allure.

Tolukko had a facelift in the 1990’s. While of questionable authenticity, its picturesque location certainly adds to its allure.

Today Fort Tolukko is well worth a visit; it is the best extant example of local fortress construction which was at one point widespread throughout the islands. Refurbished and landscaped, it has great views across to the long sweep of Halmahera, as far north as the volcano that towers over Gillolo.