Fort de Kock and Bukittinggi, West Sumatra

History of Fort de Kock, today Bukittinggi, the capital of the Minangkabau people on West Sumatra

A small city had its origin created by five villages that served as the basis for a marketplace. In 1825 this little town became a Dutch outpost and fort, which was founded by Captain Bauer and later named after the then Lieutenant Governor-General of the Dutch Indies, Hendrik Merkus de Kock.
Today Bukittinggi is the second biggest city in West Sumatra in about the center of the Minangkabau Highlands and because it is at 930 meters above sea level, the city has a cool climate.

 

The city is the birthplace of some of the founders of the republic of Indonesia, such as Mohammad Hatta. But it was also the chosen home-town of my great-great-grandfather Antoine Cezar Chevalier, who was born in Paris, France on dec.-6-1780 and died in Fort de Kock, Sumatra on april-24-1881, and a couple months over 100 years.
The city has become the center of government, both at the time of the Dutch East Indies and during the Japanese occupation. Later on Bukittinggi has been the capital of Indonesia during the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI).
During the Japanese occupation on the Dutch-Indies in World War Two, Fort de Kock was the headquarters for the Japanese 25th Army, the force that occupied Sumatra.
The city was officially renamed to Bukittinggi in 1949 and became the capital of a province called Central Sumatra, which encompassed West Sumatra, Riau and Jambi. In 1958 during a revolt in Sumatra against the Indonesian government, rebels proclaimed the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) in Bukittinggi. A couple months later the Indonesian government had recaptured the town.
In October 2007 a group of Muslim men had planned to bomb a café in the city frequented visited by foreign tourists, but the plot was aborted due to risk of killing other Muslims in the vicinity.
Today most of the Minangkabau people still live according to their old family traditions.

 

 

 

But Bukittinggi is also a well-known town under foreign tourist and a favorable visited spot is the Jam Gadang, a clock tower located in the heart of the city, which is also a symbol for the city.

Antoine Cezar Chevalier was born in Paris, France on dec.-6-1780 and died in Bukittinggi (before Fort de Kock), on Sumatra on april-24-1881, a couple month over 100 years. He is my great-great-grandfather from mother’s side.