OLD GATE – Galle Heritage



A plaque carved with the Royal Emblem of Ireland dating back to the period of King George III of England placed after the subjugation of Galle by British is seen above the Old Gate while entering the Fort along with the road running parallel to the beach (Baladaksha Mawatha). British Crown held by a lion from its right side and by a unicorn from the left side is displayed on this plaque. The motto of the British Emperor, (Dieu et Mon Droit) meaning “ GOD’S and MY DOMAIN” is marked on a strip at the plaque. The plaque held by the Lion and the unicorn is encircled by citation Honi Soit QuiMal y Pense which means “ Who Thinks of Devil Shall be Possessed by Devil”.
Both those citations are excerpts from sayings in French. Following the subjection of Galle Fort by British in 1796 AD, they removed the emblem of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) that was here and carved the British Royal Emblem.


During 1620 AD or around that time there had been a palisade erected by Portuguese facing the rampart in front of the Gate. That place was called Retriada by them. Later, with the arrival of the Dutch entrance way to Fort was changed to connect to the warehouse built forming part of the rampart. Emblem of the Dutch East India Company was fitted above the main entrance passing through the warehouse. Here the name “Dutch East India Company” is represented by VOC, being first letters of the sentence Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie meaning Dutch East India Company. Two lions standing on their hind legs shown therein means that their trade is strongly protected by them. The rooster upon a rock in the picture on top therein reminds the legend of the discovery of Galle by Portuguese. The year of completion of the construction of that gate ( 1669 AD) is shown in Roman figures as (ANNO: MDCLXIX) at the bottom on the plaque. This emblem which was formerly at the front face of the Main Gate was fitted upon inner face by the British.

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