Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/111

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By the Rev. Thomas Barclay, M.A., English Presbyterian Mission.

The Island of Formosa, one of the largest islands in Asia, is situated off the south-east coast of China, opposite to the province of Fukien, to which it formerly belonged. Its greatest length from north to south is over 260 miles, its greatest breadth about 80 miles. It has an area of 15,000 square miles, which is half the size of Scotland. The population amounts to a little over 3,000,000. At the north end it is distant from the mainland of China about 70 miles, at the south end about 250. To the west of Formosa, about 30 miles distant, lie the Pescadore Islands, with a population of about 60,000 inhabitants.

The island consists of a high range of mountains, running from north to south, the highest peak of which is Mount Morrison, 13,880 feet, a little higher than Fujiyama in Japan proper. On the east coast these mountains run right down to the sea, in some places leaving not enough level ground for a road. The population on this side of the island is very sparse, though under Japanese rule it is increasing more rapidly ; they encourage settlers to go to live there with a view to the development of the resources of the hills. On the west side, between the mountains and the sea, is a level stretch of fertile land, where the main body of the people lives. In the north the mountains are more broken, the scenery is more varied, and hill and plain more intermixed. Speaking generally, the mountains are inhabited by wild savages, the lower hills along the base of