I. The role of the Dutch in Taiwan

I.1 The name Formosa.

Formosa received its name from the Portuguese. The Spaniards called it Hermosa. The Chinese name is Tai-oan (Terrace-bay) and the Japanese called it Takasago. In the document of the V.O.C. we find the name the "Eijlandt Paccam ofte Formosa" (Island Paccam or Formosa), for instance we can read in the general missives of 1616 and on map 364 in the collection of the general states archive: "For the discovery of the island Paccam or Formosa our men have been sent out on last March 8, two junks ... and found stretching from the North to the height of 25 degrees and 10 minutes and till the South around the 20o degrees." We also find on some maps: "Pakam or Ilha Formosa" for instance in map numbers 271 and 288 in the general states archives but also in Atlas zur Geschichte der Kartographie der Japanischen Inseln X.

We can read in the daily registers of Batavia on April 9 1625 (page 144) "On the South corner of the bay of Taijoan our men had laid out a fortress ... the place where the fortress is standing, is a sand dune, around a musket shots distance across from the fortress there's a sandbar whereupon our branch office or lodge was situated." and in the patria missives of April 26, 1650:  "the protruding bar near the mainland of Formosa, being Taijouan"

Obviously people didn't think it was an agreeable place to be, since Governor Pieter Nuijts writes on February 28, 1628 to Batavia: "the people seem to have a disgust from Taijouan since it is a gloomy, barren and arid place". On July 14, 1650 the Batavian government writes: "'tis a beautiful island though, like its name brings along but it devours a lot of human meat" [because of the unhealthy climate].

In this document we will continue to use Taiwan, except on the original translated documents.

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I.2 Early history.

By resolution of governor Sonck and the council of Taiwan dated January 14,1625 it was decided, "to transport ourselves with all the companies means from the sandbar to the other side (on the mainland of Isla Formosa) to erect a complete city there." Also the name Orangie was given to the already erected castle and it was decided to name the city after the seven united provinces "de Provintien". The government in Batavia gave her permission by means of a letter which was dated at May 13, 1625, but the administrators ordered in a missive (a missive is an official document of the government) from the chamber Amsterdam dated on October 17, 1626 "that the Fortress and the city in Teijouhan marked off, will be called Zeelandia instead of Provintien." (Missive Batavia to Taijoan, dated June 27, 1627 and General Missives November 9, 1627) Teijouhan is nowadays Tainin.

However the castle and Fort Zeelandia were not at the same place; the castle laid on a high dune on the sandbar, and on the end of the Casteelsplein, to the east-side was a settlement of the Chinese, which bore the name "'t Quartier or the city Zeelandia" ('t Verwaerloosde Formosa, page 15, 17). For that reason the planned city would have kept the name Provintie, at least it appears under that name on a map of Taiwan of 1629 (Nat. Arch. number 140) and by means of a letter of May 10, 1649 of the Batavian government, President Overtwater was ordered to "the city Chiaccam on the foreland of Formosa, which is planned and undertaken to form the start of a city, and for this purpose given the name Provintie by Lord Martinus Sonck and such was approved from here" [and which was re-baptized by Overtwater "Hoorn"] "to re-give its name of Provincie."

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I.3 The Revolt of the Taiwanese.

After the resistance of the Chinese in 1652 was "built a sufficient redoubt to be able not to separate in case of revolt... Taijouan and Provintie not to separate... on the other side in the middle of the crossroad with the previously mentioned  Provintie" (Gen. Miss. December 24, 1652 and Miss. Batavia to Taijoan dated, May 26, 1653, June 18, 1653 and May 20, 1654) A redoubt is a small fortification with only protruding corners and this redoubt was handed over to Koxinga [guóxìngyé] also Cheng Cheng- kung, whose latinized name, Koxinga, was derived from his ennoblement by the Ming court as Kuo Hsing Yeh, or Lord of the Imperial Sumame. Koxinga hoped to use Taiwan as his base in the fight to overthrow the Ching dynasty and restore the Ming dynasty] beginning May 1661. (See "'t Verwaerloosde Formosa").

Also the previous Governor Verburgh at Batavia speaks about "het vleck Provintie" (the hamlet Provintie) on March 10, 1654 in his "Report concerning the location of Formosa",  (Nat. Arch, number 1097). Furthermore on the map, which is taken under number 305 in the common archives, one can find: "het vlekje Provintie".

In the beginning of 1653 the Indian government had to switch to the appointment of a governor of the settlement of the Island. This to replace the in 1649 appointed Nicolaas Verburgh, who had asked for his resignation. Obviously his presence wasn't appreciated anymore as well, as appeared from the general missive of December 24, 1652. There were reasons for the government of these "costly premises" of "vast importance" to choose an employee of "exceptional wisdom, discretion and keenness" (Res. March 21, 1653).

On September 7, of the previous year (1652) Chinese colonists walked into the village Provintiën and killed eight Hollanders, whereupon the military and locals were send out to restore order. Thousands of Chinese were killed. The soldiers and auxiliary troops:

" found no bigger troops than 10 or 12 with the others, who had hidden themselves here and there in the sugar canes and other field crops, Were all trapped by our men and killed by the inhabitants, such in previously mentioned 2 days, around 500 Chinese were massacred".... "Such that during a war of 12 days, between the 3 to 4000 rebellious Chinese in revenge of the spilled Nederland's Christian blood were defeated, with which also this revolt has been brought to decision and nullification", (Gen. Miss. December 24, 1652)

The locals were rewarded for 2600 "massacred" heads. The Batavian government judged as a consequence of this incident that this was a warning and that one had to react even less tolerant than was the case till now. They had to be restricted in the liberties which they they didn't have in their own country. The cause of the revolt was assumed to be: 

"that the most important Chinese farmers being somewhat prospered, according to state and authority, either by some displeasure or by the too many liberties which they had been allowed to lure them to this republic, by [their] own movement have undertaken this treacherous work; be it so, this has been a good warning for us and our descendants both here as on Formosa, to keep always an alert eye on the cunning and perfidious Chinese and especially on Formosa not to become master of any resistance. Furthermore to cut down the great liberties as much as possible." (Gen. Miss, January 31, 1653)

The Heeren XVII (the 17 Gentleman who governed the VOC) obviously had the same idea (Patr. Miss. January 20, 1654) but soon had another view on what had happened: "In your honorable previously mentioned missive of May 26, 1653 written to Taijouan, we have read, not without dismay, that many have the feeling that the youngest revolt of the Chinese on Formosa, in the course of which around 3000 of that nation have been killed, the principal causes are because of extortion and violence's which they pretend have been done to them by the fiscal and others who can have their say about them. Being indeed pitiful that such disasters are done to us, because of our own Ministers" (Patr, Miss. April 26, 1655).

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I.4 Restoration of power.

Differences of opinions between "The Compagnie principal ministers in church and police" namely had given cause to discord and the forming of different parties. The V.O.C. didn't allow to end this by transfers. To prevent that bad relationship between the governors and the clergy from damaging the interests of the V.O.C. it was necessary to give the government to someone with "more than normal authority".

"With this we send to your lordships in writing the deductions or arguments about the penny-pinching usurpations, bold enterprises and further malicious acts and practices of the clergymen Daniel Gravius and Gilbert Happart committed during the time of their residency at Formosa" (Governor Verburg to the Indian government date February 16, 1652). "In these times [1649] the brothers complained heavily about the governor sir Verburg" (Valentijn, IV, 2nd piece, 4th book, 1st chapter, page 89). Instead of Verburg Governor Pieter Anthonijsz Overtwater will have be meant (see Res. July 31, 1649 with which Verburg was appointed as his successor, and Missive Batavia to Taijoan August 5, 1649).

Regarding this squabbling is also the missive of January 19, 1654 of the church council of Batavia to the Heeren XVII. How they thought about this appears from the following:

" It is very hard and sad to hear that the dissidence and riots which have taken place every time [are] under the Clergymen and also the complaints about the same about their indecent comportment, usurps, stinginess and that in all the residencies of the Compagnie throughout all of the Indies, and principally on Formosa" (Patr. Miss. January 20, 1654). "We have seen that in concordance with our order, that the Clergymen have been relieved of their political government of the villages, but that Your Honor will pay attention that such doesn't creep in again, but that they also have to comply with those which have been recommended by the Governor and Council to the political government of that place." (Patr. Miss. April 15, 1654). - About "between the lord Governor... and his council arisen riots" see Res. April 12, 1651 and Miss. Batavia to Taijoan, dated, May 21, 1652.

From several sides the government had received warnings against "the son of the great mandarin Equan"  (For some details from the Dutch resources concerning this famous Chinese, Koxinga [guóxìngyé], see 1) who was planning to conquer the settlement on the island of Taiwan and to settle there with his supporters, if he was to give his battle on the mainland of South-China against the surging Tartarian oppressor.

"Also since some time hither several riots have risen amongst the Chinese in Taijouan, and that the son of the great Mandarin Equan, not being able to resist the Tarter, has launched himself and his supporting troops, who is assumed to have run his over Formosa..." (Res. April 10, 1653; compare also Miss. Batavia to Taioan July 25, 1652).

The Heeren XVII also thought the assumption plausible that the revolting Chinese

"have been made up for this by Cochin [Koxinga [guóxìngyé]] the son of Equan, and have corresponded with him about that; besides having expected help and assistance; like the Jesuit Father has served us, since rumors have been circling upon his departure from China" (Patr. Miss. January 20, 1654) ("the Jesuit Father" being Martinus Martina)

After some years it appeared that the fear of the attacks from that side has not been ungrounded either. In 1662 Koxinga [guóxìngyé] succeeded in chasing away the Dutch for once and for all. With unanimous votes during the meeting of the Batavian government of March 21, 1653 the Ordinary Councilor of the Indies Carel Hartsingh, "who has been attending the Taijouanse districts before this for many years" was chosen for this important post on Taiwan. 

Carel Hartsingh was born in 1611 in Meurs, was married with Sara de Solemne, widower of Pieter Smidt, and died on September 24, 1667 as General Director. (See De Haan, Priangan, I, page 216 for his appointment to Governor of Taiwan.

He took the appointment and made himself ready for the journey, but when governor Carel Reniersz died on May 18,1653, Hartsingh preferred to stay in Batavia and to succeed the new Governor General Maetsuijker as General Director (Res. May 20, 1653.). Thus it was decided, "to qualify and use for the Taijouanse Government " the extra ordinary council of the Indies Cornelis Caesar. He was "ordered with the last shipment to apply hither" (Res. May 24, 1653).

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I.5 Cornelis Caesar

His appointment as governor of Taiwan is dated on June 18, 1653, and can be found in the Colonial Archives under number 780. On June 26, 1653 the new general governor Maetsuijker gave a "vrolijck scheijdmael' (a festive farewell meal) in the honor of Governor Caesar, who was about to leave.

"To the honorable lord Cornelis Cesar, extraordinary Counsel of the Indies who is destined to leave to Taijoan and to take over the government of the honorable Nicolaes Verburgh hither and also the further ships chiefs, was given in the afternoon at the house of the honorable general a festive farewell meal, as well as the lords councilors of the Indies and most all the qualified servants of the company, as well as their wives, as other invited guests." (Dagr. Bat. June 16, 1653, page 82).

In the late afternoon the "public authorization of the honorable lord J. van Maetsuijker in 't general government of the Indies took" place. Of course this was sealed with "a fresh drink"  (Daily reg. Bat. June 16, 1653 page 84). In Resolution of December 16, 1681 was spoken of the "ordinary farewell meal" for return ships that were ready to sail out.

"Mentioned Lord Cornelis Caesar has navigated for the occupation of his trained charge with his family the last June 18 by means of the jacht de Sperwer from the roadstead of Batavia to Taijouan, cargo being worth f 64994.17.4" (Gen. Miss, 19 Jan.1654). Compare also Dagr. Bat. 1653, page 84.

In order to go to Taiwan the jaght (nowadays the word yacht is derived from the word jaght, we will continue to use the Dutch word here, since yacht has gotten a different meaning) the "Sperwer" was chosen.

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I.6 The Spaniards on Taiwan

Though the V.O.C. after her move from the Pescadores (P'eng-hu Lieh-tao) to Taijoan (1624) had attributed the power over the whole island of Taiwan to themselves (W. P. Groeneveldt, De Nederlanders in China, I (Bijdr. Kon. Instituut voor de Taal-, Landen Volkenk. v. Ned.-Indië VI, 4 (1898), page 290)), they were in principal only lord and master of the southern part, namely in the region were they had established themselves and in the near vicinity. They also weren't able to prevent the Spaniards from establishing themselves in the north of Taiwan in 1626. With this settlement the Spaniards wanted to protect their trade from Manila with China, Macao and Japan.

"According to the advice this past northern monsoon received from Teijouhan and according to the reports of several Chinese who came over, and also according to the running rumors in Japan, is seems very certain and without any doubt that the enemy of Manilha came last southern monsoon a° 1626 to the north end of Formosa and on [a] certain small little island called Kelang-Taesuij, which lies not far from the big island, incorporated a place and took hold of a fort with three corners, according to a report from a certain Chinese interpreter from last June with three galleons, a frigate and seven junks, manned with around eighty maritime Chinese, idem with even 180 Castilians departed from Luconia, and according to statements before, had settled on Kelang Tanghsui with the intention to found the Chinese trade there, which [is settled] in Manilha, also in respect of our settlement in Teijouan and also because of the tacking of our ships thereabout sufficiently started to disappear; furthermore, as the rumors were strong in Japan, to visit us in Teijouwan with a sufficient force and chase us away from there. The location of the place where the enemy fortified wasn't known to us completely, however it was on the north side. Concerning the Bay the same was enclosed by this island (which lays from around a quarter mijle off the big Island) and within the vessel was sufficiently protected from all the winds, could enter and exit from both sides. The depth from coming in as de Witt [Commodore Gerrit Frederickszn de Witt, acting Governor] could understand, would be around 40 fathom and within the bay even not more than 5 to 6 fathom. This is in substance that what we could understand till now about this matter" (Memorandum for the honorable Pieter Nuijts dated Batavia May 11, 1627. See also Gen. Miss. July 29, 1627). - Compare The Philippine Islands 1493 - 1898 ed. Blair and Robertson, XXII, page 98, 168 and XXIV, page 153; and the there quoted Historia de Philipinas, V, 114 - 122),

As long as the erected Spanish reinforcement Kelang [Chilung] was there, the V.O.C. most likely couldn't attain her goal, namely the monopoly of the trade with China.

"Kelung, in latitude 25° 9' N and longitude 121° 47' is situated on the shores of a bay.... In this bay is Kelung Island, a tall black rock about 2 miles from the actual harbor.... The ruins of an old Spanish fort still exist on the small island in Mero Bay" (W. F. Mayers, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, 1867, page 323). "Submitting to the location of Formosa where the Compagnie has taken her residency, with the intention to draw the trade of China to there [Taiwan] and to enjoy the commodities of this worthwhile Island, as well as to bring the blind heathens to the Christian faith and to keep them under our subjection" (Missive Batavia to Taijoan, July 4, 1644).

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I.7 Japanese pressure to chase away the Spaniards

The Japanese have urged the V.O.C. several times to chase away the Spaniards from Taiwan.

Nagasaki October 2, 1642. ".... About 5 to 6 years ago, the Governors of Nangasacqij recommended strongly that the Presidents Couckebacker and  Caron take such, so that the praise would be received by the high government in Japan" (Missive Jan van Elseracq to Paulus Traudenius). ".... the reason why the Dutch have made so great efforts to capture Hermosa Island, going to attack it year after year, was that they had promised the Japanese that they would do so, and would expel the Spaniards from it" (The Philippine Islands, ed. Blair and Robertson, XXXV, page 150. Message from Macasar, March 1643).

In their own country the Japanese regents had persecuted and exterminated the followers of the Catholic faith en masse. To prevent priests and believers from sneaking into Japan from North-Taiwan, they wanted to end the presence of the Spaniards on this island. If the Spaniards were chased away by the Hollanders the suspicious Japanese government would receive the proof  from the side of the V.O.C. that the arrival of catholic missionaries wouldn't have been facilitated. After all the de Hollanders were also Christians and therefore suspect. For the V.O.C. the strongest stimulus to chase away the Spaniards from Taiwan and to keep them away would have been that there were probably gold-mines present in the northern part of the island. The government in Batavia wrote already on May 23, 1637 to Governor Van den Burch:

".... so that the gold-mines at Formosa would be opened to the profit of the Compagnie, in this way both the Parrot and the Eagle are shot, though everything needs its time and big cities were not built in one day".

To obtain those gold-mines the feared ban on the export of silver from Japan could be avoided.

"On the location of the Spanish settlement Kelang Tamsuij, for a long time recommended, [we] will also have to pay more attention to convince or ensure the Compagnie, that by means of this to posses the island Formosa favorably, which is highly needed. One longs very much for the successes of the gold-mines which especially at this point in time would be desirable, if the silver mines in Japan would be kept closed for the Compagnie, which we hope however this will prove differently and would be a good tiding" (Patr. Miss. April 12, 1642)

In this way they could also cover the high costs for the government on Taiwan.

"... the Compagnie's  means have to be replenished to maintain the heavy expenses, and [so] that the participants of the same Compagnie be free to draw more profits from India, if they have the recommendation of many nations without advantage to be under her territory" (Missive Batavia to Taiwan, June 23, 1643).

That they were not intending to take into account the rights of the Taiwanese over these mines, goes for the government in Batavia without saying.

"That which has [previously] been written about the gold-mines has pleased us a lot, but will please us even more if by experience (which already will have been taken according to the advises and reports of the Governor Traudenius) come to know that they are rich with gold and well to be mined; the same being of importance will be entirely secured for the Compagnie, and without waiting for further orders, replace the occupants , exterminate them or drive them away...." (Missive Batavia to Taijouan, April 23, 1643). "The extermination and eradicate of the people thereabout the mine residing (that which your honorable so gravely recommended) we couldn't approve" (Patr. Miss. September 21, 1644). "Of the island's mineral products Gold is the most important.... It may be said.... that of the limited area investigated the north.... possesses the most valuable Gold deposits" (Davidson, The Island of Formosa, page 460).

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I.8 The conquest of Kelang

Finally, one carried out the "design of the north-end of Formosa":

"To feel the right fruits of this costly island Formosa of the Compagnie and to take over possession completely, we accepted the resolution to beat the Castiliaen from Kelangh and to seize the same fortress" (Gen. Miss. December 12, 1642).

Governor Traudenius send on August 17, 1642 an armed force under command of Captain Harouse hither; which arrived there at August 21, and landed the same day, with, as a result, the occupation "rendered her [=the fortress] the 25th next following, and the following day [the soldiers] went with flying fanes out till to the monastery". The losses on the Dutch side were 5 casualties and 15 wounded. (Compare Leupe, De verovering van het fort La Sanctissima Trinidad op Formosa in 1642, Bijdr. Kon, Inst. II, a (1859), page 73; and The Philippine Islands, XXXV, page 135 and further)

The notice of the conquest was send to Batavia on November 9, 1642 (see missive to Bantam dated November 22, 1642) and this is also mentioned in a private letter to G.G. van Diemen which was dated on December 12, 1642 to the States General. During the attack of Koxinga [guóxìngyé] on the settlement of the V.O.C. in Taiwan, which ended with the surrender of Taijoan and Taiwan (February 2, 1662) Kelang was abandoned by the Dutch (June 2, 1661) (See Dagr. Bat, page 430 and Dagr. Japan July 5, 1661). Commander Bort settled himself in August 1664 again in Kelang (Dagr. Bat. page 515) and held out against an assault of the troops of Koxinga [guóxìngyé] on May 14, 1660 (Gen. Miss. January 25, 1667 and compare Dagr. Bat. Page 193). When however the harbors of China remained closed for the V.O.C. and therefore Kelang was of no importance for the trade, the place was abandoned for good on October 18, 1668 (Res. June 20, 1668 and Dagr. Bat. Page 211).

When the conquest however was completed and on September 7, 1642 the pleasant news in Taijoan arrived that the troops had conquered the stronghold of Kelang on August 26, it was decided to pass the news of this memorial moment as soon as possible to the Japanese government:

"To announce the conquest of the Castilian fortress on Kelangh to the Japanese Regents, were also of the opinion that it would please the Emperor himself, the Quel de Brack [name of a galleon] has been send on September 11, lastly from Taijouan to Nangasacque ,... and hope with those from Taijouan.... that it will be a pleasant tiding for the Japanderen, also that the Castilian and Portuguese will be embittered" (Gen Miss, December 12, 1642).

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Next Chapter II: The Shipwreck of the Sperwer