History of Taiwan Province

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-7-23 14:23:00

Ancient Period

Modern archaeology has traced Taiwan's connection with the Chinese mainland back to primeval history. Human fossils of Zuozhen Man have been discovered by archaeologists in Zuozhen town, Tainan county, in the south of the province. Zuozhen Man inhabited the area more than 30,000 years ago, during the same period as Peking Man, or the Upper Cave Man, whose fossils were found at Zhoukoudian near Beijing.

Stone and bone utensils and earthenware later uncovered in Zuozhen were found to be very similar to the old-stone-age artifacts excavated in different parts of the mainland. The colored and black earthenware dug up in the Fengbitou area of Kaohsiung county were found to be products of the southeastern coastal areas of the mainland. They are relics of the "geometrically-impressed pottery culture" developed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the coastal areas, and southern parts of the mainland. These artifacts stand testimony to the national ties between progenitors of the inhabitants of Taiwan and of the mainland.

In July 1980, archaeologists in Taiwan exhumed a large number of stone coffins in Pinan Township, Taidong county. Many of the stone utensils, jade ware, and pottery shards uncovered on this site were those used by inhabitants 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. Date authentication of these artifacts and research into the cultural characteristics of these early dwellers indicate that they bore a strong resemblance to the primitive Yuepu people from the southern mainland. Based on these findings, Taiwan's "Research Society into the Sources of Historical Sites" announced that Taiwan's cultural source is the mainland. The earliest settlers in Taiwan came directly from the southeastern coast of China's mainland.

Early Development from the Three Kingdoms to the Yuan Dynasty

Envoys to Taiwan Dispatched by King Sun Quan of the Kingdom of Wu, and Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty.

In 230, King Sun Quan of the Kingdom of Wu sent 10,000 troops, led by generals Wei Wen and Zhuge Zhi, to Yizhou (Taiwan). Their starting point was Piling (near present-day Changzhou). This is the earliest historical record of large-scale mainland exploration of Taiwan.

From 607 to 610 Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty dispatched three squads of envoys from Yi'an Prefecture (near present-day Shantou) to Taiwan. The first group was led by cavalry commandant, Zhu Kuan, and marine commandant, He Man. They had been commissioned to search for tribes living outside the mainland. They arrived in Liuqiu (present-day Taiwan) in 607. The second year, the emperor sent Zhu Kuan to the island to convey his goodwill. In 610, court officials Chen Leng and Zhang Zhenzhou arrived in Liuqiu with more than 10,000 troops.

From the latter period of the Tang Dynasty to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), the economic center in the mainland moved southward, and the increasing population along the southeastern coast put great pressure on its farmland. This factor, together with incessant wars, forced many people to migrate to Penghu and Taiwan.

During the Southern Song Dynasty (mid-12th century), the government already had troops garrisoned and civilians living in Penghu. According to the Records of the Tribes, Penghu was under the administration of Jinjiang County, Fujian Province. In 1290 the Yuan Dynasty set up a military inspectorate in Penghu to administer civil affairs in Taiwan and Penghu, which were then under the jurisdiction of Jinjiang, Fujian Province. By that time, Taiwan and Penghu were already formally part of China's administrative area.

Early development of Taiwan began during the Three Kingdoms period. According to the records of the Three Kingdoms, Sun Quan, ruler of the Kingdom of Wu, dispatched an army to Taiwan in 230 A.D., led by generals Wei Wen and Zhuge Zhi. They brought back to the mainland several thousand local Taiwan residents. This is the earliest record of mainland exploration in Taiwan. During the Sui Dynasty (581-618), Emperor Yangdi sent three groups of envoys to Taiwan, the third in 610, when court officials Chen Leng and Zhang Zhenzhou led an army to Taiwan.

They brought back several thousand local residents who settled in Fulushan, Fuzhou. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), people on the southeastern coast began to migrate to Penghu and Taiwan. Around 1290, the Yuan Dynasty established a military inspectorate to administer civil affairs in Penghu and Taiwan, which were placed under the jurisdiction of Jinjiang County, Fujian Province. During this period, the natives of Taiwan, mainly the Gaoshan ethnic group, lived by primitive farming and fishing.


Development during the Ming Dynasty and Fighting Against the Colonial Rule of the Dutch

In 1620, Yan Siqi from Haicheng, and Zheng Zhilong from Quanzhou, Fujian Province, in defiance of official oppression, migrated to Taiwan, bringing with them a huge numbers of people aboard 13 ships. They landed at present-day Jiayi on Taiwan's central coastline, where they built ten forts, and lived by farming and fishing. In 1628, at Zheng Zhilong's suggestion, the governor of Fujian commenced planned migration of famine victims to Taiwan. Tens of thousands, each given three taels of silver and one ox between three, arrived on Taiwan to open up and cultivate its wasteland. This was the first planned, large-scale migration from the mainland to Taiwan, which contributed greatly to its later development.

In 1604, during the Wanli reign of the Ming Dynasty, the Dutch East India Company's fleet invaded and occupied Penghu. They were expelled by the end of the year, but returned in 1622, taking Penghu and building a castle there. In 1624 the Dutch were again driven out by the Ming troops, and their castle destroyed. The Dutch then went north to build Fort Zeelandia, their trading post, at Taiyu Bay (present-day Anping in Tainan).

In 1626, the Spanish invaded northern Taiwan and occupied Keelung. They took Danshuei the following year.

In 1642, the Dutch drove the Spanish out of Taiwan, and occupied Keelung and Danshuei. In 1653 the Dutch built Fort Providentia and began trading with the mainland.

In 1620, Yan Siqi from Haicheng, and Zheng Zhilong from Quanzhou, Fujian Province, in defiance of official oppression, migrated to Taiwan, bringing with them huge numbers of people aboard 13 ships. They landed at Northern Port (present-day Jiayi) on the central Taiwan coastline, where they built ten forts, and lived by farming and fishing. In 1628, Zheng Zhilong accepted amnesty from the emperor. At this time, Fujian had been stricken by a severe drought, and, at Zheng's suggestion, the governor of Fujian expedited planned migration of famine victims to Taiwan. Tens of thousands were each given three taels of silver, and one ox between three, and arrived in Taiwan to open up and cultivate its wasteland. This was the first planned mass migration from the mainland to Taiwan, which contributed greatly to its later development.

In 1624, the Dutch invaded and occupied southern Taiwan, and in 1626, the Spanish invaded and occupied northern Taiwan. The Dutch subsequently drove the Spanish out of northern Taiwan and colonized the entire island in 1642. The Dutch carried out systematic economic plunder of the island, seized all its land and claimed it on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. The people of Taiwan were forced to work on the "King's Field" under a feudal serf system.

In February 1662, the Ming general Zheng Chenggong, who was against the rule of the Qing, liberated Taiwan from the Dutch, who had been in occupation for 38 years, and implemented new policies to promote development of the island. He encouraged people from the mainland to migrate to Taiwan, stressed the need for land cultivation, forest preservation, irrigation construction, trade development, education, Confucian doctrine, and the promotion of government officials through imperial examinations. During Zheng's reign,

120,000 to 150,000 troops and civilians from the mainland migrated to Taiwan. This was the second large-scale mainland migration to Taiwan, migrants being mostly Han Chinese, who from that time onwards constituted the main body of Taiwan's population, and contributed to a period of rapid economic and cultural development on the island.

Development during the Qing Dynasty and Japanese Colonial Rule

In 1683 Qing troops entered Taiwan, establishing a union between Taiwan and the mainland. At the start of its administration, the Qing government issued a series of decrees, forbidding inhabitants of Fujian and Guangdong to move to Taiwan. However, Taiwan's vast fertile land, yet untilled -- "one year's harvest is several fold that of the mainland" -- and low taxation nevertheless lured tens of thousands of migrants to the island, even on pain of death.

When Taiwan first unified with the mainland under the Qing, about 200,000 Han Chinese lived on the island, and by 1811 they numbered more than 2 million. Migrants opened up large stretches of wasteland, making Taiwan a new agricultural region of the country. Not only did the people there have ample food and clothing, but also the capacity to provide large amounts of rice and sugar to the mainland. In 1885 the Qing government formally designated Taiwan as a province of its empire, and the province went on to enjoy tremendous economic and cultural development during the 212 years of Qing rule.

In 1895, at the end of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Qing government signed the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, ceding Taiwan and Penghu to Japan. Taiwan thus became a Japanese colony. The Japanese forced its policy of "industrial Japan, agricultural Taiwan" on the island, making Taiwan's economy dependent on that of Japan. In order fully to exploit Taiwan's economic resources, Japan further expanded its farmland, and the Japanese colonial government, its financial magnates, and various individuals seized 68.5% of the land and 97% of the forest.

The Japanese established various industries on the island, such as sugar processing, canning, paper making, camphor processing, wood processing, textiles, chemical products, machinery, iron and steel, and electricity. Although these industries served as the basis for Taiwan's modern industrial development after WWII, they also provided large amounts of strategic materials vital to Japan in its aggressive wars in Asia and the Pacific.

Important Events
In 1885, the Qing government formally designated Taiwan as a province. The first governor, Liu Mingchuan, called for emigration from Fujian and Guangdong, and large-scale development occurred on the island. He reinforced forts to strengthen defense, set up arms and munitions manufacture, opened up mines, built roads and railroads, started postal services, and established new schools.

When the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 ended, the Qing government signed the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, ceding Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to Japan. The people of Taiwan were enraged; Taipei residents staged protests by beating gongs demanding a boycott on Japanese goods, engulfing the city with their remonstrations, and patriots submitted petitions to the Qing court, swearing that "they would rather fight to death than give up Taiwan." Under the leadership of Qiu Fengjia and Liu Yongfu, military resistance against the Japanese occupation lasted for six months. On the October 19, 1895, Kaohsiung and Tainan were captured by the Japanese, marking Japan's occupation of the entire island. The picture shows Japanese policemen and their families at Batungguan on Mount Yushan.


Japan's Plunder of Taiwan's Resources

The forestry farm on Mount Alishan set up during Japan's colonial rule of Taiwan. The Japanese built special railroads to transport precious wood to Japan. From 1914 to 1915, the Japanese opened up coal mines in Keelung and Taipei, increasing coal production to 2.85 million tons of coal annually from 1.9 tons in 1897. They opened up gold mines in Jinguashi and Ruifang in northern Taiwan for gold and copper, and in 1915, they extracted 1.64 million grams of gold. In 1927, the Japanese exploited oil and gas resources in western Taiwan, producing 22.83 million kilos of oil, the highest production in history. Gas production was 18.97 million kilolitres. In 1937, the Japanese prohibited all spoken and written Chinese. In 1940, Taiwan had 860,000 hectares of farmland, and served as the major supplier of agricultural products to Japan. In 1942, Japan instituted conscription in Taiwan.

International Recognition

After eight years' heroic struggle, the Chinese, together with the anti-fascists of other countries, triumphed over the Japanese. All international protocols henceforth made clear that Taiwan was the territory of China and that it should be returned to China. This accorded with the facts of history, and with the strong wish of the Chinese people.

At the Cairo Conference attended by China, the United States and Great Britain on November 21, 1943, to consider military operations against Japan in the Far East, China's demand that it recover all its lost lands including Taiwan was approved by both the United States and Great Britain. On November 23, the Chinese and American leaders published a summary of their conversations, which confirmed that the two sides agreed the territories Japan had seized from China-the four provinces in the Northeast, Taiwan and the Penghu islands-must be returned to China.

The Cairo Declaration signed by China, the United States and Great Britain at the end of the Conference on December 1, 1943 stipulated that "The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan.... It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa (Taiwan), and the Pescadores (Penghu islands), shall be restored to the Republic of China."

The Proclamation Defining Terms for the Japanese Surrender, signed at Potsdam on July 26, 1945 by China, the United States and Great Britain, and later joined by the Soviet Union, reiterated: "The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine."

On August 15 the same year, Japan surrendered and declared that it would accept the Potsdam Proclamation. On October 25, 1945, the Chinese government held a ceremony to accept the surrender of Japan in Taibei, at which it declared that from that day on, the territory of Taiwan and the Penghu islands, and the people and civilian affairs in their area, were under the sovereignty of China. Great rejoicing prevailed in Taiwan. People decorated their houses, held memorial ceremonies for their ancestors, and spent the whole night at parties with relatives and friends. In Taibei hundreds and thousands of people paraded in the streets to celebrate victory in the Anti-Japanese War. The 50-year colonial rule had ended and Taiwan had rejoined the motherland.

Cultural Relics Excavated in Taiwan

Stone implements excavated at Changbin township, Taidong county, in 1968. Remains of the late Old Stone Age, their appearance and manufacture are very close to those discovered in the Beijing suburb of Zhoukoudian, site of Peking Man.

Painted and black pottery excavated in the Fengbitou area in Gaoxiong county in 1980. These pieces of pottery, closely connected with the Yangshao and Longshan Culture of the Neolithic period, are vestiges of the culture represented by the geometric pottery found in the middle and lower reaches of the Huanghe River (Yellow River), in the coastal areas and in southern China.

Painted and black pottery, stone tools, wood ware, bone and horn implements, fish forks, plated ware, grain and shell ornaments excavated at the Zhishanyan cultural site in the Taibei basin in 1982. Many of these comprise the same cultural elements of the Neolithic period as that in China's southeastern coastal areas.

"Beizhong" tomb uncovered at Penghu's Magong in 1983. Here. Four well-preserved skeletons and a great deal of rope-mark pottery, including containers, ornaments and plummets for fishing nets were found. They have been dated to the Shang Dynasty (1711 BC-1066 BC). Archaeologists believe they are relics taken from the mainland first to Penghu, then to Taiwan, as the same kind of rope-mark red pottery has also been found in central China and at the mouth of the Minjiang River in Fujian Province. Taiwan historians agree that Taiwan culture has its roots on the mainland, that Taiwan is a branch of the mainland tree, and that nothing can separate them.


Posted in: Adventures

blog comments powered by Disqus