Spanish Formosa

Spanish Formosa (Spanish: Formosa Española) was a small colony of the Spanish Empire established in the northern tip of the island known to Europeans at the time as Formosa (now Taiwan) from 1626 to 1642. It was conquered by the Dutch Republic during the Eighty Years' War.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the island off the southern coast of China in 1544, and named it Formosa (Portuguese for "beautiful") due to the beautiful landscape as seen from the sea.[1] The Spanish colony was meant to protect the regional trade with the Philippines from interference by the Dutch base in the south of the island. The colony was short-lived due to the unwillingness of Spanish colonial authorities in Manila to commit more men and materiel to its defense.

After seventeen years, the last fortress of the Spanish was besieged by Dutch forces and eventually fell, giving the Dutch control over much of the island.

Spanish Formosa

Flag of Formosa
Coat of arms of Formosa
Coat of arms
Spanish possessions in green, Dutch possessions in magenta and Kingdom of Middag in orange
Spanish possessions in green, Dutch possessions in magenta and Kingdom of Middag in orange
StatusColony of Spain
(Territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1626 to 1642)
CapitalSan Salvador (Keelung)
Common languagesSpanish, Formosan languages
Roman Catholicism
Historical eraAge of Discovery
• Established
• Surrender of San Salvador
CurrencySpanish real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Prehistory of Taiwan
Dutch Formosa
Today part of Republic of China


As a result of the personal union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns in 1580, Spanish Habsburg monarchs ruled Portugal and its colonies as the King of Portugal. The Dutch of the Seventeen Provinces as well as their allies England and France became enemies of both Portugal and Spain.

The Spanish Habsburgs cut the Dutch rebels off from the spice markets in Lisbon, making it necessary for the Dutch to send their own expeditions to the sources of these commodities to take control of the much desired spice trade in the East Indies.

The Dutch colonization of Formosa was part of a campaign designed to seize all the possessions of the Spanish Habsburgs in Asia, including the Philippines. The Dutch began to take a string of often undermanned coastal fortresses that comprised the Habsburg's Portuguese African and Asian possessions, taking full advantage of the many enemies and pirates that the Habsburgs had to defend their global empire against. The settlements were isolated, difficult to reinforce if attacked, and prone to being picked off one by one, but nevertheless, the Dutch only enjoyed mixed success in its attempts to take them.[2]

Pursuing their quest for alternative routes to Asia for trade, the first Dutch squadron to reach the Philippines on 14 December 1600 was led by Olivier van Noort. The Dutch sought to dominate the commercial sea trade in Southeast Asia, even engaging in privateering. They disrupted trade by harassing the coasts of Manila Bay and its environs, and preyed on sampans and junks from China and Japan trading at Manila.

In the context of this competition for trade, the Dutch established a colony at Tayouan, present-day Anping, in the south of Formosa. From there the Dutch were able to threaten Spain's trade in the region. As a counter to this threat, the Spanish colonial authorities in Manila decided to establish their own colony in the north of the island.

The early years (1626–1629)

1626 Map of Keelung and Tamsui Harbor, Formosa-Taiwan by Spanish 西班牙人所繪福爾摩沙基隆港與淡水港
Spanish Map of Keelung and Tamsui Harbor, 1626

Landing at Cape Santiago in the north-east of Formosa but finding it unsuitable for defensive purposes, the Spanish continued westwards along the coast until they arrived at Keelung.[3] A deep and well-protected harbour plus a small island in the mouth of the harbour made it the ideal spot to build the first settlement, which they named Santissima Trinidad. Forts were built, both on the island and in the harbour itself.

In 1629 the Spanish erected a second base, centered on Fort San Domingo, in Tamsui.[4]

First battle with the Dutch

In 1641, the Spanish colony in the north had become such an irritant to the Dutch in the south that it was decided to take northern Formosa by force. In courteous terms, the Dutch Governor Paulus Traudenius informed the Spanish governor of their intentions.

I have the honor to communicate to you that I have received the command of a considerable naval and military force with the view of making me master by civil means or otherwise of the fortress Santissima Trinidad in the isle of Ke-lung of which your Excellency is the Governor.
In accordance with the usages of Christian nations to make known their intentions before commencing hostilities, I now summon your Excellency to surrender. If your Excellency is disposed to lend an ear to the terms of capitulation which we offer and make delivery to me of the fortress of Santissima Trinidad and other citadels, your Excellency and your troops will be treated in good faith according to the usages and customs of war, but if your Excellency feigns to be deaf to this command there will be no other remedy than recourse to arms. I hope that your Excellency will give careful consideration to the contents of this letter and avoid the useless effusion of blood, and I trust that without delay and in a few words you will make known to me your intentions.
May God protect your Excellency many years,
The Friend of your Excellency,

The Spanish governor was not inclined to give in so easily and replied in kind.

Sir; I have duly received your communication of August 26th, and in response I have the honor to point out to you that as becomes a good Christian who recalls the oath he has made before his king, I cannot and will not surrender the forts demanded by your Excellency, as I and my garrison have determined to defend them. I am accustomed to find myself before great armies, and I have engaged in numerous battles in Flanders as well as other countries, and so I beg of you not to take the trouble of writing me further letters of like tenor. May each one defend himself as best he can. We are Spanish Christians and God in whom we trust is our protector.
May the Lord have mercy on you.
Written in our principal fortress San Salvador the 6th of September 1641.

Subsequently, the Dutch launched an assault on the northern regions held by the Spanish, but the positions were well-defended and the attacking troops were not able to breach the walls of the fortresses. They returned, thwarted and humiliated, to the Dutch base at Fort Zeelandia.

Final battle with the Dutch

In August 1642, The Dutch returned to Keelung with four large ships, several smaller ships, and approximately 369 Dutch soldiers.[6] A combination of Spaniards, aboriginals, and Pampangos from the Philippines held off the Dutch for six days. They eventually surrendered and were returned to Manila defeated, and giving up their flags and what little artillery remained with them.[6] Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera, governor of the Philippines, was blamed for the loss of Formosa and was eventually tried in court for his actions.[7] Upon conviction, he was imprisoned for five years in the Philippines. Historians since Corcuera's time have chastised him for the loss of the settlement in Formosa[6] but other factors, such as the continuing rise of the Dutch Empire in Southeast Asia, and financial troubles within the over-stretched empire, were also contributing factors.

See also


  1. ^ Sujuan, Zhan (2012-05-22). "The Taiwan Encyclopedia". Council for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  2. ^ Boxer, C. R. (1969). The Portuguese seaborne empire 1415-1825. London: Hutchinson. p. 23. ISBN 0090979400.
  3. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 19.
  4. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 20.
  5. ^ a b Davidson (1903), p. 21.
  6. ^ a b c Andrade, Tonio (2005). How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century. Columbia University Press.
  7. ^ Jose Eugenio Barrio (2007). "An Overview of the Spaniards in Taiwan" (pdf). University of Taiwan Foreign Languages in Literature. University of Taiwan. Retrieved 2012-05-16.


1642 in Spain

Events in the year 1642 in Spain.

Cross of Burgundy

The Cross of Burgundy (Spanish: Cruz de Borgoña; Aspa de Borgoña) or the Cross of Saint Andrew (Spanish: Cruz de San Andrés), a saw-toothed (raguly) form of St. Andrew's cross, was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled a large part of eastern France and the Low Countries as effectively an independent state. The Duchy of Burgundy was inherited by the House of Habsburg on the extinction of the Valois ducal line. The emblem was then assumed by the monarchs of Spain as a result of the Habsburgs bringing together, in the early 16th century, their Burgundian inheritance with the other extensive possessions they inherited throughout Europe and the Americas, including the crowns of Castile and Aragon, where the cross got a global impact, being found nowadays in different continents.

The Spanish monarchs continued to use it in their own arms after the Burgundian house was part of the Spanish Crown, and even after due to the extinction of the House of Burgundy. From 1506 to 1701 it was used by Spain as a naval ensign, and up to 1843 as the land battle flag, and still appears on regimental colours, badges, shoulder patches and company guidons. The emblem also continues to be used in a variety of contexts in a number of European countries and in the Americas, reflecting both the extent of Valois Burgundy and the former Habsburg territories.

Cultural history of Taiwan

The cultural history of Taiwan can be traced back to prehistoric Stone Age. Later the development of written languages made it easier to maintain traditions of the Taiwanese culture.The recorded history of Taiwanese culture mainly stemmed from traditional Chinese culture, despite the influences from other foreign powers. Although the culture of modern Taiwan is significantly affected by Japanese and American cultures, the values and traditions of the Taiwanese people are heavily based on Confucianist Han cultures.

Fort San Domingo

Fort San Domingo is a historic fortress in Tamsui District, New Taipei, Taiwan. It was originally a wooden fort built in 1628 by the Spanish Empire, who named it "Fort San Domingo". However the fort was then destroyed by the Spanish, after losing a battle to the Dutch Empire in 1642. After the battle, in 1644, The Dutch rebuilt a fort in the original site, and renamed it "Fort Antonio". Since the Dutch were called "Red Haired People" by the Han immigrants during the time, the fort was then nicknamed "Fort Red Hair".(Chinese: 紅毛城; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Âng-mn̂g-siâⁿ; literally: 'ang mo fort').In 1724, the Qing Government repaired the fort, and built a perimeter wall with four gates. From 1868 onwards the fort was leased to the British government as its consulate, and a new two-storied building was built nearby as the consul's residence. The fort was briefly occupied by the Japanese Government during the time of the Pacific War, but was returned to British control after the war.

After the war, though official diplomatic relation between Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United Kingdom had been terminated in 1950, the site had been continuously used as an unofficial British embassy until 1972. Afterwards the fort was temporarily managed by Australia and the United States of America, before the fort was returned to the government of Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1980. Since then, the fort has been a National Historical Site, open to tourists and archaeologists alike.

The site of Fort San Domingo includes the main fortress, the former British consul's residence, and the south gate built during Qing dynasty. Among the architectures, the main fortress is one of the oldest buildings on the whole island, and there were four cannons placed in the front of the fortress, which could be traced back to Jiaqing era. The former British consul's residence is on the east side of the main fortress, and is a two-storied English-style building. The south gate is the only Chinese style architecture among all the buildings, and is made from Guangin Stones.

Fort Dan Domingo is located near Hobe Fort, which was built during the late Qing era.

History of education in Taiwan

The recorded history of education in Taiwan can be traced back to the Dutch colonial period.

History of television in Taiwan

History of television in Taiwan. The television industry in Taiwan developed later than that in Europe and the United States.

Kingdom of Tungning

The Kingdom of Tungning (Chinese: 東寧王國; pinyin: Dōngníng Wángguó; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tang-lêng Ông-kok) or Kingdom of Formosa was a government that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan) between 1661 and 1683. It was founded by Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong) as part of the loyalist movement to restore the Ming dynasty in China after it was overthrown by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. Koxinga hoped to recapture the Chinese mainland from the Qing, using the island as a base of operations. Until its incorporation into the Qing Dynasty in 1683, the Kingdom was ruled by Koxinga's heirs, the House of Koxinga.

List of Taiwanese flags

Taiwan has been controlled by various governments and has been associated with various flags throughout its history. Since 1945, the Republic of China controls the island; thus the flag most commonly associated with it is the Flag of the Republic of China.

List of archaeological sites in Taiwan

This list of archaeological sites in Taiwan encompasses sites that have either contributed substantially or have the potential to contribute substantially to research regarding people who have lived in Taiwan since prehistoric times. A historical site is not necessarily an archaeological site. A historical site should be included only if actual field work has been conducted at the site.

List of indigenous peoples of Taiwan

Traditionally, the Taiwanese indigenous peoples are usually classified into two groups by their places of residence. Languages and cultures of aboriginal tribes were recorded by the government of Dutch Formosa, Spanish Formosa and the Qing Empire.

Researches on ethnic groups of Taiwanese indigenous peoples started in late 19th century, when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. The Government of Taiwan (臺灣總督府, Taiwan Sōtokufu) conducted large amount of researches and further distinguished the ethnic groups of Taiwanese indigenous peoples by linguistics (see Formosan languages). After the research, the household registration records remarks of "mountains/plains indigenous peoples". The governmental statistics also listed 9 recognized subgroups under mountains indigenous peoples. However, after World War II, the government refused to recognize the plains indigenous peoples.

The following is a list of classifications through Japanese and post World War II. Note that the Japanese names in parentheses does not exist in pre-World War II Japanese demographic researches.

List of rulers of Taiwan

This is a list of rulers of island of Taiwan.

List of years in Taiwan

This is a list of years in Taiwan.

Prehistory of Taiwan

The prehistory of Taiwan, ending with the arrival of the Dutch East India Company in 1624, is known from archaeological finds throughout the island. The earliest evidence of human habitation dates back 20,000 to 30,000 years, when the Taiwan Strait was exposed by lower sea levels as a land bridge. Around 5,000 years ago farmers from the southeast Chinese coast settled on the island. These people are believed to have been speakers of Austronesian languages, which dispersed from Taiwan across the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The current Taiwanese aborigines are believed to be their descendants.

Santisima Trinidad (Taiwan)

Santísima Trinidad (meaning "Holy Trinity") was a bay on the northeast coast of Taiwan at Keelung, where in 1626 the Spanish established a settlement and built Fort San Salvador. They occupied the site until 1642 when they were driven out by the Dutch. The Dutch re-shaped the Spanish fort, reduced its size and renamed it Fort Noort-Holland.In 1661, Koxinga, a Ming China loyalist, with 400 warships and 25,000 men laid siege to the main Dutch fortress (Zeelandia in Anping). Defended by 2,000 Dutch soldiers, the Dutch left their fort in Keelung, when it became clear that no reinforcements were forthcoming from Zeelandia or Batavia (present day Jakarta, Indonesia).

In 1663, the Dutch returned to Keelung, retook the fort, strengthened and enlarged it and kept it until 1668, when they voluntarily gave it up, as the trade in Keelung was not what they expected it to be.

Spanish expedition to Formosa

The Spanish expedition to Formosa was a campaign mounted by the Spanish based in Manila, Philippines in 1626. It was the Spanish response to Dutch settlements being built in Formosa, now known as Taiwan. In cooperation with the Portuguese, this venture was made to attract Chinese traders and curtail the expansion of Dutch power in Asia.

Taiwan (disambiguation)

Taiwan, formally the Republic of China (ROC) or "Chinese Taipei", is a state in East Asia now primarily located on Taiwan Island (Formosa).

Taiwan or Taiwanfu may also refer to:

Taiwan (city) or Taiwanfu, a former name of Tainan, a major city in southeastern Taiwan Island

Taiwan Prefecture or Taiwanfu, a prefecture of the Qing Dynasty between 1684 and 1887, headquartered in present-day Tainan

Taiwanfu River, a former name of the Zengwen, Tainan's major river

Historical states or territories primarily based on Taiwan Island:

Kingdom of Tungning, a Southern Ming stronghold in the early Qing Dynasty

Spanish Formosa, Spanish colonies on the island

Dutch Formosa, a Dutch colony headquartered in present-day Tainan

Republic of Taiwan, better known as the Republic of Formosa, a state that briefly existed in Taiwan in 1895

Taiwan Area, better known as the Free area of the Republic of China, the territory of ROC not lost to the Chinese Communists

Various present-day designations of Taiwan as Chinese territory:

the area covered by the United States' Taiwan Relations Act (the island of Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago, but not the outer islands)

Taiwan Province, Republic of China, a nominal administrative division covering much of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands

"Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China", a political designation reflecting that state's claim of sovereignty

"Taiwan, China", a controversial term presenting Taiwan as part of "China"Tai Wan ("big bay") is the name of several places in Hong Kong, including:

Tai Wan, Hung Hom, an area in Kowloon, which includes Tai Wan Road

Tai Wan, a beach at Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung in the east of the New Territories

Tai Wan, a bay and village on the island of Po Toi

Timeline of Taiwanese history

This is a timeline of Taiwanese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Taiwan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Taiwan and History of the Republic of China. See also the list of rulers of Taiwan.

Yilan County, Taiwan

Yilan County (Mandarin Pīnyīn: Yílán Xiàn; Hokkien POJ: Gî-lân-koān; occasionally and formerly spelled I-lan) is a county in northeastern Taiwan. Yilan is officially administered as a county of the Republic of China.

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Spanish Formosa (1626–1642)

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