Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Formosa
The Chinese portion of the island was till 1876 divided into the districts of Komalan, Tam-sui, Chang-hua, Kia-i, Tai-wan, Feng-shan, of which Komalan or Kapsiulangting was the only one on the eastern side; but the districts of Komalan and Tam-sui have been abolished, and a department of North Formosa established with three dependent magistracies. A highway runs from Bangka in the north to Pangliavu in the south. Beginning at the north we find the following places of importance:—Kelung, the ancient Pe-Kiang, a treaty port in the neighbourhood of the mines; Tam-sui, or properly Howei or Hobay, also a treaty port with 100,000 inhabitants, on the harbour of the same name, which is formed by hills upwards of 2000 feet high and has a depth of 3 fathoms and a bar of 7 feet; Twa-tu-tia, about 13 miles up the Tam-sui river in a tea district, and possessing a population of 20,000; Mengka, Bangka, or Banca, a little higher up the river, one of the most flourishing commercial towns in the north, with 30,000 inhabitants; Teukcham or Teuxham, a walled town at the head of the Tam-sui district, with a population of 40,000 inhabitants; Heong-san and Tiong-Kang, both near the coast; Oulan and Suikang, both inland; Changhwa the capital of a district, and the second city in the island, with a population of 60,000 or 80,000; Chip-Chip, a large town inhabited solely by Chinese; Kagee, or Chin-la-san, and Ung-Kan-bay; Kok-si-Kong, with a small harbour; Taiwanfu, the capital of the island, with 30,000 inhabitants (or, according to another statement, 100,000), a treaty port, and the remains of the Dutch port of Zelandia; Takao or Takow, also a treaty port, in 22° 37′ N. lat., 120° 16′ E. long., to the south of Ape’s Hill; Pataou or Pitau, a few miles inland, the Feng-shan-hsien of ancient documents; and Tang-Kang, a town of 20,000 inhabitants. Besides these there are many places of several thousands of a population, and the whole of the Chinese territory is dotted with villages and hamlets. The whole island is estimated to contain from one and a half to two million souls, the smaller number being probably nearer the truth. The Chinese influence is rapidly spreading, and the island is more and more attracting the attention of foreigners.
The island of Formosa must have been known from a very early date to the Chinese who were established in the Pescadores. The inhabitants are mentioned in the official works of the Yuan dynasty as Tung-fan or southern barbarians; and under the Ming dynasty the island begins to appear as Kilung. In the beginning of the 16th century it began to be known to the Portuguese and Spanish navigators, and the latter at least made some attempts at establishing settlements or missions. The Dutch were the first, however, to take footing in the island; in 1624 they built a fort, Zelandia, on the east coast, where has since risen the town of Taiwanfu, and the settlement was maintained for thirty-seven years. On the expulsion of the Ming dynasty in China a number of their defeated adherents came over to Formosa, and, under a leader called in European accounts Coxinga, succeeded in expelling the Dutch and taking possession of a good part of the island. In 1682 the Chinese of Formosa recognized the emperor Kanghi, and since then it has formed part of the empire. In 1714 the Jesuit mathematicians from the court visited the island. In 1782 occurred a most destructive storm, which laid the public buildings in ruins and wrecked twenty-seven of the imperial war-ships; and in 1788 there broke out a violent rebellion, which was put down only after the loss, it is said, of 100,000 (?) men by disease and sword, and the expenditure of 2,000,000 taels of silver. In the early part of the present century the island was principally known to Europeans on account of the wrecks which took place on its coasts, and the dangers that the crews had to run from the cannibal propensities of the aborigines, and the almost equally cruel tendencies of the Chinese. Among the most notable cases was the loss in 1842 of the British brig “Ann,” with fifty-seven persons on board, of whom forty-three were executed at Taiwan. By the treaty of Tientsin (1860) Taiwan was opened to European commerce, but Mr Swinhoe found the place quite unsuitable for a port of trade, and the harbour of Tam-sui was selected instead. Shortly afterwards a rebellion broke out, to which several of the Chinese authorities fell victims; and for some time the condition of the foreign settlers was rather precarious, while the trade of the new port was so small that it was proposed to relinquish the consulate. In 1865 Dr Maxwell of the English Presbyterian Church established a medical mission first at Taiwan and afterwards at Takao; and the organization thus originated comprised in 1877 thirteen churches among the Chinese, and as many among the aborigines of the southern provinces, with upwards of 1000 baptized converts and 3000 attendants at worship. The northern provinces are in the hands of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, which commenced its operations in 1872, and had nine stations in 1877. A Roman Catholic mission has also been in existence in the island since 1859. In 1867 the United States consul at Amoy made a treaty with Tok-a-Tok, a chief of the aborigines of the southern part of the island, by which the safety of foreigners was secured in that district. An attack made on the Protestant and Roman Catholic missions at Feng-shan-hsien in 1868 led the British consul to authorize the occupation of Fort Zelandia and Amping by Colonel Gordon; but his action was afterwards disapproved by the home Government, and the indemnity demanded from the Chinese restored. In 1872 the crew of a Japanese vessel shipwrecked on the coast being murdered by the savages, the Japanese Government sent an expedition to punish the assassins, and a war between China and Japan would have been the consequence if Wade the English ambassador had not succeeded in bringing them to terms,— China agreeing to pay 500,000 taels as compensation to the friends of the murdered men and to purchase the houses, &c., erected by the Japanese, and the Japanese on their side withdrawing their troops and giving up all claims to occupation. According to Mr Hewlett’s report for 1872, the political state of the island is very bad; the official classes, he says, have a proverb “every three years an outbreak, every five a rebellion,” and the reason of this instability is to be found in their own rapacity and glaring violations of justice. A more hopeful account is given by Mr Morrison in 1877; under the enlightened government of Ting, formerly futai of Fuhchow, roads are being constructed throughout the Chinese territory, and other measures adopted for the development of its resources. A telegraph has been laid between Taiwanfu and Takao; and the proposal to make a railway from the south to the north of the island is being seriously discussed. A fort was built at Anping (the port of Taiwanfu) between 1874 and 1876, and two others at Takow. A scheme is in operation for the military reduction of the east coast districts, and a road is being pushed south from Sauo.
Literature.—G. Candidius, A short account of the island of Formosa, 1637, printed in Churchill’s Collection, vol. i; ’t Verwaarloozde Formosa, by C. E. S., Amsterdam, 1675, translated into French as “Formose négligée” in the Recueil de voyages pour l'établ. de la Comp. des Indes, t. x.; Valentyn, Oud en Nieuw Oozt Indien, t. iv., with a large map of the island; Malte-Brun, “Analyse de quelques mémoires hollandais sur l'île de Formose,” in Annales des Voyages, 1810; Klaproth, “Description de Formose,” in Mém. relatifs à l’Asie, t. i., and “Sur la langue des indigènes,” in Journal Asiatique, 1822; Lindsay and Gutzlaff, Voyage to the Northern Ports of China, 1833; E. Stevens, “Island of Formosa,” in Chinese Repository, vol. ii., 1833; E. C. B., “Dealings of the Chinese Government in Formosa,” in Chinese Repository, 1837; Lieut. Gordon, “On Coal in the N.E. of Formosa,” in Journ. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1849; Robert Swinhoe, “Bericht über die Westküste von Formosa,” in Ztschr. für Allgem. Erdk. zu Berlin, 1857, translated from Overland Chinese Mail; “Visit to Formosa,” in Jour. of North China branch of Roy. As. Soc., 1859; “Notes on Formosa,” in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1864; “Additional Notes,” in Proceed. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1866; Habersham, My last Cruise, 1859; Biernatzki, “Zur Kunde der Insel Formosa,” in Ztschr. für Allgem. Erdk., 1857, and “Die Insel Formosa,” in Ztschr. für Allegm. Erdk., 1859; Jomard, Coup d'œil sur l'île Formose, Paris, 1859; E. W. Brooker, “Observations on Tai-wan,” in Nautical Mag., 1858, and “Journal of H.M.S. the Inflexible,” in Nautical Mag., 1859; A. C. Gras, Renseignements sur les îles Bashee, îles les Formose, &c., 1860; G. Stanley, “Les Côtes O et S. der Formose,” in Annales hydrogr., 1867; “Ile Formose.” in Annales de la prop de la foi, 1867; Vivien de Saint Martin, “Aperçu général de l'île de Formose,” in Bull. de la Soc. de Géogr., 1868; Guérin and Bernard, “Les aborigènes de l'île de Formose, Bull. de la Soc. de Géogr , 1868; E. W. Brooker, “Remarks on the Coast of Formosa,” in Nautical Magazine, 1868; Bechtinger, Het eiland Formosa, 1871; Thomson, “Notes of a journey in Southern Formosa” in Proceedings of Roy. Geogr. Soc., 1873; Taintor, Aborigenes of Formosa, 1874; Bax, Eastern Seas, 1875; Arthur Corner, “Journey in interior of Formosa” in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 1875; Knoblauch, “Einige Notizen über Formosa,” in Mitth. d. Deutsch. Ges. für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ost Asiens, Yokohama, 1875; Kühne, in Annalen der Hydrogr. und mar. Meteor., 1875; Cyprian Bridge, “An Excursion in Formosa,” in the Fortnightly Review, 1876; H. J. Allen, “Notes of a journey through Formosa,” in Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1877; T. L. Bullock, “A trip into the interior of Formosa,” in Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1877; James Morrison, “Description of the Island of Formosa,” in Geographical Magazine, 1877; W. A. Pickering, “Among the Savages of Central Formosa, 1866–1867,” in Messenger of Presbyt. Church of England. 1878; and British Consular Reports. A map of the island is given by E. G. Ravenstein in the Geographical Magazine, Oct. 1874.