History of Taiwan

From Academic Kids

See also History of the Republic of China for a history of the government that currently administers Taiwan.


Prehistoric Settlement

Missing image
The Puyuma's Moon-shape Monolith ca. 1896

Taiwan has been populated for what is estimated by some anthropologists as approximately 30,000 years. Little is known about the original inhabitants, but distinctive jadeware, and corded pottery of the Beinan, Changpin and Tapenkeng cultures show a marked diversity in the island's early inhabitants. Today's Taiwan's aboriginal peoples, are classified as belonging to the Austronesian ethno-linguistic group of people, a linguistic group that stretches as far west as Madagascar, to Easter Island in the east and to New Zealand in the south with Taiwan as the northern most point. Austronesian culture on Taiwan begins about 4,000 B.C. Initial Han settlement on the island is a rather disputed and there is no document to support this after the period of Dutch settlement.

'Suspicious'History in Chinese History Records

In the Chinese history records, there are so many 'suspicious'Taiwan appeared.

1 230 A geneal of Kingdom of Wu named Weiwen had been to Yizhou(夷州) leading an army of aroud 10,000.Despite several arguments by Chinese history records that Taiwan was discovered as by Chinese during the Three Kingdoms era, there is no credible evidence to support the claims.

2 264280, A Taishou(like Prefecture)named Shenying(沈莹) wrote a book called 《临海水土志》, it refered some minorities in Yizhou(夷州) whose customs are very similary to the present Taiwanese aborigine

3 During 607 and 610 some generals of Sui Dynasty had taken several military operations on Liuqiu(流求國),described in 《隋書流求傳》(Book of Sui).And many scholars think Liuqiu in Sui Dynasty is the present Taiwan.

4 1292 the Kublai Khan(忽必烈) of Yuan Dynasty tried to make the minorities in Yizhou(夷州) in tributary status.

5 13351340 Wangdayuan(汪大渊) wrote a book 《岛夷志略》 which describe Liuqiu(琉求) after he had visited it.

7 1375 The Ming Dynasty had dispatched a delegation to the now Ryukyu Islands.Thereafter The Chinse call the Ryukyu Islands Liuqiu(琉球). And they call an island under the Ryukyu Islands small Liuqiu(小琉球) maybe Taiwan nowadays.

8 Between 1403 and 1424 the great fleet of Ming Dynasty's admiral-- Zheng He of has visited Taiwan.

European Settlement

Portuguese sailors passing Taiwan in 1544, first jotted in a ship's log the name of the island "Ilha Formosa", meaning Beautiful Island. In 1582 the survivors of a Portuguese shipwreck spent ten weeks battling malaria and aborigines before returning to Macau on a raft. Dutch traders, in search of an Asian base first arrived on the island at the request of the Ming court in 1624 to use the island as a base for Dutch commerce with Japan and the Chinese coast away from China. Two years later, the Spanish established a settlement at Santissima Trinidad, building Fort Santo Domingo on the northwest coast of Taiwan near Keelung, which they occupied until 1642 when they were driven out by a joint Dutch-Aborigine invasion force. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) administered the island and its predominantly aboriginal population until 1662, setting up a tax system, schools to teach romanized script of aboriginal languages and evangelizing. Although its control was mainly limited to the western plain of the island, the Dutch systems were adopted by succeeding occupiers. The first influx of migrants from coastal Fujian came during the Dutch period, in which merchants and traders from the Chinese coast sought to purchase hunting licenses from the Dutch or hide out in aboriginal villages to escape the Qing authorities. Most of the immigrants were young single males who were discouraged from staying on the island often referred to by Han as "The Gate of Hell" for its reputation in taking the lives of sailors and explorers.

The Island Formosa and the Pescadores/ Johannes Vingboons/ ca.1640/ Nationaal Archief, Den Haag
The Island Formosa and the Pescadores/ Johannes Vingboons/ ca.1640/ Nationaal Archief, Den Haag

The Dutch originally sought to use their castle Zeelandia at Tayowan as a trading base between Japan and China, but soon realized the potential of the huge deer populations that roamed in herds of thousands along the alluvial plains of Taiwan's western regions. Deer were in high demand by the Japanese who were willing to pay top dollar for use of the hides in samurai armor. Other parts of the deer were sold to Han traders for meat and medical use. The Dutch paid aborigines for the deer brought to them and tried to manage the deer stocks to keep up with demand. The Dutch also employed Han to farm sugarcane and rice for export, some of these rice and sugarcane reached as far as the markets of Persia. Unfortunately the deer the aborigines had relied on for their livelihoods began to disappear forcing the aborigines to adopt new means of survival. The Dutch built a second administrative castle on the main island of Taiwan in 1633 and set out to earnestly turn Taiwan into a Dutch colony. The first order of business was to punish villages that had violently opposed the Dutch and unite the aborigines in allegiance with the VOC. The first punitive expedition was against the villages of Baccloan and Mattauw, north of Saccam near Tayowan. The Mattauw campaign had been easier than expected and the tribe submitted after having their village razed by fire. The campaign also served as a threat to other villages from Tirossen (Chia Yi) to Lonkjiaow (Heng Chun). The 1636 punitive attack on Lamay Island (Hsiao Liu Chiu) in response to the killing of the shipwrecked crew of the Beverwijck and the Golden Lion ended ten years later with the entire aboriginal population of 1100 removed from the island including 327 Lamayans killed in a cave, having been trapped there by the Dutch and suffocated in the fumes and smoke pumped into the cave by the Dutch and their allied aborigines from Saccam, Soulang and Pangsoya. The men were forced into slavery in Batavia (Java) and the women and children became servants and wives for the Dutch officers. The events on Lamay changed the course of Dutch rule to work closer with allied aborigines, though there remained plans to depopulate the outlying islands.

See also: Taiwan under Dutch rule

Koxinga and Imperial Chinese Rule

In 1661, a naval fleet led by the Ming loyalist Zheng Chenggong (Cheng Ch'eng-kung in Wade-Giles, known in the West as Koxinga), arrived in Taiwan to oust the Dutch from Zeelandia. Zheng, born in 1624 in Japan to Japanese mother and a Han father, Iquan, in a family made wealthy from shipping and piracy, Zheng inherited his father's trade networks, which stretched from Nagasaki to Macao. Following the Manchu advance on Fujian, Zheng retreated from his stronghold in Amoy (Xiamen) and besieged Taiwan in the hope of establishing a strategic base to marshal his troops to retake his base at Amoy. In 1662, following a nine month siege, Cheng captured the Dutch fortress Zeelandia and Taiwan became his base. Concurrently the last Ming pretender had been captured and killed by General Wu San Gui, extinguishing any hope Zheng may have had of re-establishing the Ming Empire. He died shortly thereafter in a fit of madness after learning of the cruel killings of his father and brother at the hands of the Manchus. In 1683, following a naval engagement with Admiral Shi Lang, one of Zheng's father's trusted friends, Zheng's grandson submitted to Manchu (Qing Dynasty) control. Zheng's followers were forced to depart from Taiwan to the more unpleasant parts of Qing controlled land. By 1682 there were only 7000 Han left on Taiwan as they had intermarried with aboriginal women and had property in Taiwan. The Zheng reign had continued the tax systems of the Dutch, established schools and religious temples.

Missing image
1896 map of Formosa

From 1683 the Qing Dynasty ruled Taiwan as a prefecture and in 1875 divided the island into two prefectures, north and south. In 1887 the island was made into a separate Chinese province. About the same time, Matthew Calbraith Perry suggested that the US government claim sovereignty of Taiwan after he came back from his Formosa expedition in 1854. The US government failed to respond to Perry's proposal.

The Manchu authorities tried to limit immigration to Taiwan and barred families from travelling to Taiwan to ensure the immigrants would return to their families and ancestral graves. Illegal immigration continued, but many of the men had few prospects in war weary Fujian and thus married aborigine women to secure land in Taiwan, creating a popular saying from the era, "mainland grandfather no mainland grandmother" (有唐山公無唐山媽). The Qing tried to protect aboriginal land claims, but also sought to turn them into tax paying subjects and Confucianists. Han and tax paying aborigines were barred from entering the wilderness which covered most of the island for the fear of raising the ire of the non taxpaying, highland aborigines and inciting rebellion. A border was constructed along the western plain, built using pits and mounds of earth, called "earth cows", to discourage illegal land reclamation. Following a shipwreck of an Okinawan vessel on the southern tip of Taiwan in 1871, in which the heads of all crew members were taken by the Mu Dan (Paiwan) people, the Japanese sought to test the Manchu commitment to Taiwan. After being refused compensation on account of part of Taiwan being outside of Qing jurisdiction, the Japanese launched a bloody pacification campaign in 1874, which resulted in a high number of casualties for both the Paiwan and the Japanese. The Okinawan affair was more of a trial balloon sent up by the Japanese to test the situation on Taiwan for a possible colonization campaign of their own. This caused the Qing to re-think the importance of Taiwan in their maritime defense strategy and greater importance was placed on gaining control over the wilderness regions. The second test of Qing commitment came during the French blockade of Keelung harbor during the Sino-French War of 1884-1885. The result was a brief bombardment of Qing positions and a French amphibious operation, before both parties arrived at an agreement. The Qing finally made Taiwan a province and assigned Liu Ming-chuan as the first governor of Taiwan to initiate Taiwan development in 1887. In the waning years of Qing control over Taiwan, Governor Liu Ming-chuan initiated a series of modernizing reforms and infrastructure projects, including 60Km of railroad track laid between Keelung and Hsin Chu (Xin Zhu). This segment of railroad became too old in the Japanese eye, and was demolished for modernization later under Japanese rule.

On the eve of the Sino-Japanese War about 45 percent of the island was administered under standard Chinese administration while the remaining lightly populated regions of the interior were under Aboriginal control. As settlement for losing the Sino-Japanese War, Imperial China ceded the entire island of Taiwan to Japan in 1895. Qing's leading statesman, Li Hung-Chang, reported to Empress Dowager Cixi: "birds do not sing and flowers are not fragrant on the Taiwan island. The men and women are inofficious and are not passionate either. It is okay to cede the island."

Japanese Rule

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A 1912 map of Japan included Taiwan, which was part of the Empire of Japan from 1895 to 1945.

After receiving sovreignty of Taiwan, the Japanese feared military resistance from both Taiwanese and Aborigines who followed the establishment by the local elite of the short-lived Republic of Taiwan. Taiwan's elite hoped that by declaring themselves a republic the world would not stand by and allow a sovereign state to be invaded by the Japanese, thereby allying with the Qing. The plan quickly turned to chaos as standard Green troops and ethnic Yue soldiers took to looting and pillage. Given the choice between chaos at the hands of Chinese or submission to the Japanese, the Taipei elite sent Ku Hsien-rong to Keelung to invite the advancing Japanese forces to proceed to Taipei and restore order.

The Taiwanese resistance was sporadic, yet at times fierce, but was largely crushed by 1902, although relatively minor rebellions occurred in subsequent years. Aboriginal resistance to the heavy-handed Japanese policies of acculturation and pacification lasted up until the early 1930s. The last major Aboriginal rebellion, the Wushe Uprising in late 1930 by the Sediq people angry over their treatment while laboring in the burdensome job of camphor extraction, launched the last headhunting party in which over 150 Japanese officials were killed and beheaded during the opening ceremonies of a school. The uprising, led by Mona Rudao, was crushed by 2,000-3,000 Japanese troops and Aboriginal auxiliaries with the help of poison gas.

Japanese rule led to a three-stage process of colonization of the island, which began with an oppressive paternalistic approach, then a dōka (同化) policy in which the Japanese considered the Taiwanese to be separate but equal, and the final stage being 'kōminka (皇民化), a policy which aimed to have the Taiwanese pledge loyalty to the Japanese emperor. The "kominka" was a grand design to instill the "Japanese Spirit" in Taiwanese residents and to assimilate the Taiwanese into Japanese society, with measures including compulsory Japanese education and the adoption of Japanese names. In 1943, 94% of the children received 6-year compulsory education.

Missing image
Bank of Taiwan established in 1897 headquatered in Taipei.

Under the doctrine of "kominka", Taiwan would have to be regarded as part of Japan proper; therefore, the basic infrastructure of Taiwan would have to be equal or comparable to the infrastructure of Japan. The Bank of Taiwan was established in 1889 to encourage Japanese private sectors, including Mitsubishi and the Mitsui Group, to invest in Taiwan. In 1900, the third Taiwan Governor-General passed a budget which initiated the building of Taiwan's railroad system from Keelung to Kaohsiung. By 1905 the island had electric power supplied by water power in Sun-Moon Lake, and in subsequent years Taiwan was considered the second-most developed region of East Asia (after Japan). By 1905, Taiwan was financially self-sufficient and had been weaned off of subsidies from Japan's central government.

Under the governor Shinpei Goto's rule, many major public works projects were completed, which established the basis for the economic development for Taiwan. During his watch, the Taiwan rail system connecting the south and the north was completed. 55% of agricultural land was covered by dam-supported irrigation systems. Food production had increased four-fold and sugar cane production had increased 15-fold between 1895 to 1925. The modernizations of Keelung port and Kaohsiung port were completed. Exports increased by four-fold. By 1939, industrial production had exceeded agricultural production. The health care system was widely established and infectious diseases were almost completely eradicated. The average lifespan for a Taiwanese resident increased from 30 years in 1895 to 60 years by 1945. This investment in Taiwan during Japanese rule provided the foundations of Taiwan's economic development.

In October 1935, the Governor-General of Taiwan held an "Exposition to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Beginning of Administration in Taiwan," which served as a showcase for the achievements of Taiwan's modernization process under Japanese rule. This attracted worldwide attention, including the Republic of China's KMT regime which sent the Japanese-educated Chen Yi to attend the affair. He expressed his admiration about the efficiency of Japanese government in developing Taiwan, and commented on how lucky the Taiwanese were to live under such effective administration. Somewhat ironically, Chen Yi would later become the ROC's first Chief Executive of Taiwan, who would be infamous for the corruption that occurred under his watch.

The later period of Japanese rule saw a local elite educated and organized. During the 1930s several home rule groups were created as the Taiwanese developed a "Taiwan Consciousness" in contrast to the Japanese and Chinese. In 1935, the Taiwanese exerted their political power and elected their first group of local legislators. By March 1945, the Japanese legislative branch modified election laws to allow Taiwanese representation in the Japanese Diet.

See also

Political divisions of Taiwan (1895-1945), List of Governor-General of Taiwan

The Republic of China

From 1895, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan, to 1945, when it was assigned to the administration of the Republic of China, the policy of governments on the mainland toward this island followed an ambiguous path. The Qing court parted with Taiwan with little grief, the fledgling Republican government hardly challenged Taiwan's status, and the government did not address Taiwan when it challenged other "Unequal Treaties." Only in 1942 did the ROC government stake a claim to Taiwan; whereas the Chinese Communist Party went on supporting Taiwanese independence until 1943[1] (http://hcs.harvard.edu/~heas/conference/2000/panel_3.htm).

In the Cairo Conference of 1943, the Allied Powers declared an intention to have Taiwan be handed over to the Republic of China upon Japan's surrender. According to both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, this agreement was given legal force by the instrument of surrender of Japan in 1945, though there is contention over the wording of the document which never invokes the Cairo Declaration nor cedes Taiwan to either entity. The position of the People's Republic of China is that the Republic of China ceased to be a legitimate government in 1949 and as the successor government of China, it has the right to rule Taiwan under the succession of states theory as supported by the United Nations Vienna Conference on Succession of States in 1978, which advocates states rights to territorial integrity. It is noticeable that the Treaty of Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties never entered into force[2] (http://www.taiwandocuments.org/vienna02.htm). The official position of the Republic of China is that it is a legitimate government with a general mandate over the people of Taiwan.

A number of advocates of Taiwan independence argue that the Instrument of Surrender of Japan was merely an armistice, a modus vivendi in nature, which served as a temporary or provisional agreement and always would be replaced with a peace treaty afterwards. Thus the Instrument of Surrender of Japan did not transfer title of Taiwan. Only after Japan renounced signed the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 did sovereignty of Taiwan return to its people, a resolution based on the principle of self-determination provided by the UN Charter. Some people believe, however, this Treaty made an undetermined cession of Taiwan that entrusted Taiwan sovereignty to the Allied powers, and that this cession still ought to be in effect today. The ambiguity of the Treaty makes interpretation of Taiwan's political status especially complicated.

Although these interpretations of international law challenged the legitimacy of the Republic of China before the 1990s, the introduction of popular elections in Taiwan means that except for the most extreme Taiwan independence supporters, supporters of the popular sovereignty theory no longer see a conflict between this theory of sovereignty and the ROC's position that it is the current sovereign government of Taiwan, Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu. In fact, Chen Shui-bian has often promoted the popular sovereignty theory by emphasizing it in his speeches.

Economic Developments

The KMT took control of Taiwan's monopolies and property that had been government property under the Japanese passed into possession of the KMT party-state. Approximately 17% of Taiwan's GNP was nationalized and disposed of. Taiwanese investors lost their claim to the Japanese bond certificates they possessed and much of the property remains in KMT party hands and has yet to be returned to the public. Consequently, these real estate holdings made the KMT into the wealthiest political party in the world.

With the help of the China Aid Act of 1948 and the Chinese-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction, the KMT authorities implemented a far-reaching and seemingly highly successful land reform program on Taiwan during the 1950s. They redistributed land among small farmers and compensated large landowners with commodities certificates and stock in state-owned industries. Although this left some large landowners impoverished, others turned their compensation into capital and started commercial and industrial enterprises. These entrepreneurs were to become Taiwan's first industrial capitalists. Together with refugee businessmen from the mainland, they once again revived Taiwan's prosperity previously ceased along with Japanese withdraw and managed Taiwan's transition from an agricultural to a commercial, industrial economy.

Taiwan has developed steadily into a major international trading power with more than $218 billion in two-way trade. Tremendous prosperity on the island was accompanied by economic and social stability.

Taiwan's phenomenal economic development earned it a spot as one of the East Asian Tigers.

Democratic Reforms

Internationally, the Republic of China, headquartered in Taipei, was recognized as the sole legitimate government of China by the United Nations and most Western nations, both of which refused to recognize the People's Republic of China on account of the Cold War.

The late 1970s and early 1980s were a turbulent time for Taiwanese as many of the people who had originally been oppressed and impoverished by the KMT occupation became members of the Taiwan's new middle class. Free enterprise had allowed native Taiwanese to gain a powerful bargaining chip in their demands for respect for their basic human rights. The Kaohsiung Incident and would be a major turning point for democracy in Taiwan.

Taiwan also faced setbacks in the international sphere. In 1971, the ROC government walked out of the United Nations shortly before it recognized the Beijing government as the legitimate holder of China's seat in the United Nations. The ROC had been offered dual representation, but Chiang Kai-shek demanded to retain a seat on the UN Security Council, which was not acceptable to the PRC. Chiang expressed his decision in his famous "the sky is not big enough for two suns" speech. In October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly and "the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek" (and thus the ROC) was expelled from the UN and replaced as "China" by the PRC. In 1979, the United States switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Chiang Kai-shek's eventual successor, his son Chiang Ching-kuo, began to liberalize Taiwan's political system. The events of 1979 highlighted the need for change and groups like Amnesty International were mobilizing a campaign against the government and President Chiang Ching-kuo. Finally, in 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party was formed illegally and inaugurated as the first opposition party in Taiwan to counter the KMT. A year later Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law. Chiang selected Lee Teng-hui, an native Taiwanese technocrat to be his Vice President. The move followed other reforms giving more power to the native Taiwanese and calmed anti-KMT sentiments during a period in which many other Asian autocracies were being shaken by People Power movements.

After the 1988 death of Chiang Ching-Kuo, his successor as President Lee Teng-hui continued to hand more government authority over to the native Taiwanese and democratize the government. Under Lee, Taiwan underwent a process of localization in which local culture and history was promoted over a pan-China viewpoint. Lee's reforms included printing banknotes from the Central Bank rather than the Provincial Bank of Taiwan, and disbanding the Taiwan Provincial Government. Under Lee, the original members of the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly, elected in 1947 to represent mainland constituencies, were forced to resign in 1991. Restrictions on the use of Taiwanese in the broadcast media and in schools were lifted as well.

However, Lee failed to crack down on the massive corruption that developed under authoritarian KMT party rule. Many KMT loyalists feel Lee betrayed the R.O.C. by taking reforms too far, while other Taiwanese feel he did not take reforms far enough.

Lee ran as the incumbent in Taiwan's first direct presidential election in 1996 against DPP candidate and former dissident, Peng Min-ming. This election prompted the PRC to conduct a series of missile tests in the Taiwan Strait to intimidate the Taiwanese electorate so that electorates would vote for other pro-unification candidates, Chen Li-an and Lin Yang-kang. The aggressive tactic prompted U.S. President Clinton to invoke the Taiwan Relations Act and dispatch two aircraft carrier battle groups into the region off Taiwan's southern coast to monitor the situation, and PRC's missile tests were forced to end earlier than planned. This incident is known as the 1996 Taiwan Straits Crisis.

One of Lee's final acts as president was to declare on German radio that the ROC and the PRC have a special state to state relationship. Lee's statement was met with the PRC's People's Army conducting military drills in Fujian and a frightening island-wide blackout in Taiwan, causing many to fear an attack. Lee's assertion that the ROC is a sovereign and independent nation separate from the mainland was popular among Taiwanese. However, many suspected that his two nation theory was intended to ultimately create a Republic of Taiwan, which was not popular among the electorate.

In the 2000 presidential election marked the end to KMT rule. Opposition DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian won a three way race that saw the pro-reunification vote split by independent James Soong and KMT candidate Lien Chan. Chen garnered 39% of the vote.

After finishing his term as ROC president and KMT chairman, Lee founded the independence-leaning Taiwan Solidarity Union, a small political party allied with the DPP. In response to his vocal criticism of the pan-blue coalition and its reunification orientation, the KMT revoked Lee's party membership in 2001.

See also

External links

ja:台湾関係記事の一覧 zh:臺灣歷史


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