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Fort William is a fort built in Calcuttamarker on the Eastern banks of the River Hooghlymarker, the major distributary of the River Gangesmarker, during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It was named after King William III of England. In front of the Fort is the Maidanmarker, which used to be a part of the Fort and is the largest urban park in Calcutta.

History

There are actually two Forts William, the old and the new. The original was built by the British East India Company under the supervision of John Goldsborough. Sir Charles Eyre started construction near the bank of the River Hooghly with the South-East Bastion and the adjacent walls. John Beard, his successor, added the North-East Bastion in 1701, and in 1702 started the construction of the Government House (Factory) at the centre of the fort. Construction ended in 1706. The original building had two stories and projecting wings. An internal guard room became the Black Hole of Calcutta.
A view of Calcutta from Fort William (1807).
1756, the then Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah, attacked the Fort, temporarily conquered the city, and changed its name to Alinagar. This led the British to build a new fort in the Maidan. It was started by Robert Clive in 1758, after the Battle of Plassey (1757), and completed in 1781 at a cost of approximately two million pounds. The area around the Fort was cleared, and the Maidan became "the Lungs of Kolkata". It stretches for around 3 km in the north-south direction and is around 1 km wide.

The Old Fort was repaired and used as a customs house from 1766 onwards.


The New Fort is still in use as the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army. The Army guards it heavily, and civilian entry is restricted.

Presidency of Fort William

IT is made by Ashish

Structure

The Fort is built of brick and mortar in the shape of an irregular octagon with an area 5 kmĀ². Five of its sides face landward, and three towards the Hooghly Rivermarker. The design is that of a star fort, suited to defence against cannon, but from before the advent of explosive shells. It is surrounded by a dry moat 9 m deep and 15 m broad, which can be flooded but is designed as an area in which to use enfilade (or "flanking") fire against any attackers reaching the walls. There are six gates: Chowringhee, Plassey Calcutta, Water Gate St Georges and the Treasury Gate. This fort was intended by the British to check the expansionist urges of other European powers. There are similar forts at places like Thalasserymarker in Keralamarker..

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