In 1505, the Portuguese invaded Galle and built a temporary fort which was destroyed by the King of Sitavaka Rajasinha. There after the Portuguese built a much stronger fort in 1619 intended as a permanent structure. A ninety two acre piece of land in this fort was then extensively fortified by the Dutch in 1663.
It is characterized by strong ramparts and a series of bastions including those named Sun, Moon, Neptune, Zwart, Aurora, Aeolus,Triton, Clippenburg and Point Utracht . The wall is five feet in width and 50-70 feet in height. The entrance gate is a half curved tunnel made of granite. On the inside of the old gate can be seen the monogrammed arms of the Vereenigde de Oost indische Companies (Dutch East India Campany) with the date MDCLXIX (1669) below it. It also contains many residences going back to the Dutch period as well as street names of Dutch origin like Leynbaan Street. The Court and the Administrative building inside the fort are regarded as some of the best specimens of Dutch architecture in the island.
The British took over the fort on 23 February 1796. a week after Colombo was captured, Thereafter they undertook a few modification. The remains of various artifacts and buildings belonging to all the colonial powers can be seen here. It is now a world heritage site, declared as such by UNESCO.