1658
The First Triumph and Failure of the Dutch in Malabar

The plan to seize Malabar was set in to motion after special prayers and fasting held at Batavia, Indonesia, the eastern capital of the Dutch Empire.

Old Malabar
Malabar was the dream land of the Dutch. The aims of the Dutch were to seize Malabar at any cost from the Portuguese whose power was declining. It was after the capture of the encampment of the Portuguese at Colombo that the self- confidence on the part of the Dutch enhanced to seize Malabar. The Government of Netherlands decided to send to India troops to cause maximum loss and destruction to the Portuguese. Rijckpof van Goons was appointed as the head and councillor of the new fleet. Commandeering his forces to east from Batavia on 6 September 1657, he later captured Jaffna. Along with this the Portuguese was driven out completely from Ceylon. Conquering Tuticorn, Mannar and Nagapatnam, the Dutch forces advanced. As their stronghold Goa had already been laid siege, the Portuguese could not counter-attack in a large scale.

The first aim of the Dutch fleet moving ahead towards Malabar was to seize Thankassery (Signatty) fort in Quilon which was under the possession of the Portuguese.The Dutch estimated that it was appropriate to capture Quilon (Coifan) ruled over by the Queen of Desinganadu and to scare away the Portuguese in view of the fact that Goa and Diu, the main fortresses of them were strongly protected. The plan of the Dutch was to enlarge their trade from Quilon and Kayamkulam (Calcoifan) to Travancore. Furthermore the rulers from these areas requested their help. It was in such a background that the Raja of Purakkadu (Porca) himself approached the Dutch requesting that he be helped against the Portuguese. All these factors became strength and stimulation to the Dutch in their campaign against the Portuguese. In the meantime, getting a tip off, the Portuguese sent fleet to Goa from Mozambique and Portugal.

After voyaging the waters of the Cape Comerin, the fleet, commandeered by Van Goens, anchored at the seas of Quilon (Thankassery).
Thankassery Fort
The naval forces alighted from them captured the fort of Quilon. Later the Queen handed over the town of Quilon and the gardens of the Portuguese to the Dutch along with the monopoly of spice trade. And thus, for the first time in history, a strategic territory possessed by an European power in Malabar was captured by another European power.

But the success of the Dutch at Quilon was transitory. The Portuguese and the Nair chieftains of Quilon were waiting for an opportunity to move against the Dutch. So when Van Goens returned to Batavia there were severe attacks against the Dutch in Quilon .So many Dutch perished in the unexpected attack. Though the Dutch governor of Batavia Vander Mayden started his voyage towards Quilon consequent on this coming to know that they could not withstand the hostile forces, he ordered to withdraw forces on 14 April 1659. And thus the power and supremacy they acquired lost to the Dutch in no time. But vigorous preparations had already been afoot in Batavia to re-conquer the lost territories with additional equipage.