Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday: I is for Dutch East India Company

Fort Provintia at 15th century

Dutch East India Company ruled Taiwan from 1624 to 1662 for 38 years.  Their main base was at southern Taiwan, where we call Tainan (台南) today.  Last Saturday, we and Grace' father, who was visiting us from Hong Kong, took the high-speed train to Tainan and Kaoshiung for a one-day excursion. The points of interest in Tainan are the two remaining structures left by the Dutch, Fort Provintia (赤崁樓) and Castle Zeelandia (熱蘭遮城). 

After an unsuccessful attack of Portuguese at Macao in 1622, the Dutch fleet diverted to Pescadores (澎湖), a group of islands between Taiwan and China. After defeated by the Chinese navy, they were instructed to set up their trading post in Taiwan, which at the time Chinese goverment did not consider it as Chinese territory. They built Forte Provintia and Castle Zeelandia and did in-depth survey of Taiwan and brought in Chinese immigrants to cultivate the land.

Koxinga accepting Dutch surrender at Fort Provintia

China was in turmoil at the time. The Ming dynasty was quickly replaced by the Qing dynasty. The Ming loyalist Koxinga (國姓爺), retreating from Chinese mainland attacked the Dutch settlers with 1000 ships. The Dutch surrendered on February 1, 1662.

Remnants of Castle Zeelandia

There are not many stuctures built by the Dutch still remaining today except some brick walls. The major influence by the Dutch to Taiwan was actually the starting of Chinese immgration to the island. In another words, it started the process of building Taiwan as we know today. There are many legends left from that period of time. Our taxi driver insisted that there is still a hidden underground tunnel connecting Fort Provintia to Castle Zeelandia that was built by the Dutch. And, my father-in-law said when he visited the area 60 years ago, he saw people with red hair and blue eyes, who had Dutch ancestery. Well, the only Dutch we saw this time were a couple of Dutch tourists.

See more entries of ABC Wednesday here.

14 comments:

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the illustrated history lesson, very interesting.

Karyn said...

Interesting post! As always, very nice photos.

Mara said...

What a lovely story and one completely unknown to me (and me being Dutch). Thank you

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this information! Being Dutch I should have known this part of history myself. The Dutch East Indies company (V.O.C.) was founded in 1602. I used to live in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, till I was twelve. We returned to our homeland, the Netherlands in 1946, January.

Carolyn said...

Great photos and very interesting post. I will be back to read more.
Thank you for stopping by my blog. Fortunately the icing I photographed was a one time event and only close to shore. It was gone the next day. I do remember the damage of the Ontario Ice Storm 10 years ago.
Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. This was very interesting. That high speed train would freak me out I think! What a fun visit though! Delightful.

Carol said...

Interesting I post...enjoyed reading all the info...

Tumblewords: said...

Wow! Thanks for the nifty post - I learned a lot, today!

pictureeachday said...

How interesting! I didn't know this about Taiwanese/Dutch history. Thank you for sharing the information and the lovely photos!

RuneE said...

A very interesting post - new knowledge is always welcome!

Dragonstar said...

Oh, I love the colours and textures in the photo of Castle Zeelandia! Beautiful!

VP said...

I've just been reading about the English version of this company, so it was good to find out a little about the Dutch equivalent :)

shu said...

I had a friend from high school who had very light skin, beautiful light chestnut color eyes, and her hair had a bit red tint. She looked completely Chinese, yet you knew there is something else there. After we became good friend, she told me that her family tree included some Dutch. Sis

Marc said...

That's a very interesting piece of history there and nicely illustrated. It shows the historical ties between our two countries, which is not all that well known these days among the general public here. Great post!

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