A Disastrous Project: C. P. Keller and the Fortification (Plans) of Bimilipatnam

  • Jeroen BosEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Leiden University Libraries has two remarkable fortification plans in its collections. They depict the village of Bimilipatnam under VOC rule. After a ransack by plundering Maratha troops in 1754, the local Mughal-regent allowed the Dutch to construct a stronghold in the village. VOC-authorities commissioned military engineer Coenraad Pieter Keller to survey the plot of land allocated to them and deliver plans and a proposal how this fortification could be constructed. The eventual fort was poorly constructed and collapsed two times. Keller was scapegoated by his superiors. He did not let the allegations pass and defended himself at Batavia. His written apologia has been preserved and provides unique insights in the career of a hybrid mapmaker in colonial service. By careful archival research we can reconstruct the context in which the plans were produced, interpreted by their intended audience and circulated until it was acquired by Leiden University Libraries.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden University LibrariesLeidenThe Netherlands

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