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Thursday 8 August 2013

A Dutch Fort in Formosa

Formosa was a name given to Taiwan by the Dutch during their occupation of Taiwan in the 17th century. One of the fortresses built by them is called Fort Zeelandia (熱蘭遮城) which took them ten years to build (1624-1634). It originally had 3 storeys with the highest storey as the administrative centre of the Dutch occupation.


During the Qing Dynasty, the Dutch surrendered to Zheng Chen Gong (鄭成功) who was exiling from the Qing Dynasty army and invaded Taiwan in 1662. Since then, the Chinese took over the fortress and symbolised the first Chinese occupation of Taiwan.


In 1683, the Qing Dynasty army invaded Taiwan and defeated Zheng's army. The Qing Dynasty army shifted the administrative centre to Provintia and Fort Zeelandia became deserted and started to deteriorate.


The British invaded Taiwan in 1873 and one of the cannon shots was a direct hit on the firearm storage building in Fort Zeelandia. Most of the fortress walls fell apart and the whole place became a ruin.


There is only a part of the fort walls remaining until today. The original fort walls were built by the soldiers of the Dutch East India Company with red bricks imported from Batavia.


The mortar used to assemble the red bricks was made from glutinous rice and coral reefs. Therefore, the remaining wall is also called the 'glutinous rice wall' (糯米牆).


Apart from the remaining red-brick fort wall, the rest of Fort Zeelandia as we see it today was rebuilt during the Japanese occupation. The current name of the site is in Chinese called Fort Anping (安平古堡).

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