• Opening Hour

    Open Daily: 9am – 10pm

  • Location

    Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

  • Admission Fee

    Without a Mycard :Adult : RM20.00   Children : RM10.00

    With a Mycard :Adult : RM10.00   Children : RM5.00

  • Exploration Time

    1 hour

Brief Introduction

Located On the Eastern tip of Georgetown next to the Esplanade Fort Cornwallis is a star fort that the British East India Company built in the late 18th century on the northeastern coast of Penang Island, Malaysia. It is named after the late 18th century Governor-General of Bengal, India, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis. Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. In its entire history, the fort has never engaged in any battle.


Captain Francis Light took possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original fort. It was a nibong (Malay: palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures, covering an area of 417.6 square feet (38.80 m2). The fort’s purpose was to protect Penang from pirates and Kedah. Light died in 1794.

In 1804, after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars, and during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as Governor of Penang, Indian convict labourers rebuilt the fort using brick and stone. Fort Cornwallis was completed in 1810, at the cost of $80,000, during Norman Macalister’s term as Governor of Penang. A moat 9 metres wide by 2 metres deep once surrounded the fort but it was filled in the 1920s due to a malaria outbreak in the area.

Even though the fort was originally built for the British military, its function, historically, was more administrative than defensive. For example, the judge of the Supreme Court of Penang, Sir Edmond Stanley, was first housed at Fort Cornwallis when the court opened on 31 May 1808. During the 1920s Sikh police of the Straits Settlements occupied the fort.

Royal Navy personnel under the direction of Rev. Peter Brown RN conducted an archaeological survey in July/August 1970. The fort was gazetted on 8 September 1977, under the Antiquities Act 168/1976, as an Ancient Monument and Historic site. Today, it has become one of Penang’s prime tourist attractions.


There are some Interesting site that can be found in the fort during that time was:

  • A military barracks and offices as well as the room for the storage of gunpowder magazine.
  • A Christian Chapel – the firstly built and recorded service of marriage that took place in Penang,
  • A harbor light and flagstaff to signal and communicate with incoming ships.
  • Numerous cannons with one of it being call Sri Rambai, a brass cannon with an interesting history. According to local folks the cannon possess magical power in which if a lady place a flowers on the barrel of the cannon, their fertility rate can be increase.
  • Cell rooms to hold prisoners.
  • Stores and guard houses.
  • A moat of 9m wide and 2m deep surrounding the fort that is being filled up in the early 1920 due to the malaria epidemic that hit the island


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