Kottappuram Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1523 was referred to popularly as Cranganore Fort and is now known as Kodungallur Fort. It was captured and destroyed by the Dutch in 1663. The Fort had a strategic position, on the mouth of the river Periyar, before it joins the Arabian Sea, which gave it the advantage of controlling the ships and boats that passed to and from the interior of Malabar. The town developed around this fort. A church and many traditional houses in the nearby area, built by the Europeans still remain today. Kottappuram Fort played a significant role in many wars between the Zamorin and the rulers of Kochi. In 1662 the Dutch fleet had made an attempt to capture it from the Portuguese, but that invasion was successful only in 1663. It was a heavy fight, in which the Kottappuram Fort was severely damaged. After taking over the Fort, the Dutch demolished it to the minimum and used it as an outhouse to guard their trade ships.
When the interest of the rulers of Mysore turned towards Malabar, Haider Ali negotiated with the Dutch for the purchase of the Kottappuram Fort and the one at Pallippuram. During Tipu Sultan’s possession of the Malabar Coast, the Travancore rulers felt it was imperative for them to possess these forts, to safeguard their kingdom against invasion by the Mysore rulers. So, the then Travancore King, Ramavarma Dharmaraja (1758-1798), purchased these two forts on 31 July 1789. The agreement was executed in 1909, by Raja Kesava Dasa, the Dewan of Travancore and John Gerard Van Angelbeck, the Dutch Governor. Later, finding it in a ruined state, the Department of Archaeology of Travancore erected a memorial pillar inside the Fort and decided to preserve it as a public property.