Tainan, the oldest Chinese settlement on Taiwan, is the island’s fourth-largest city. Tainan is an important center of culture, industry, education, and tourism. Two hundred temples ranging from the Tainan Confucius Temple (1662) to the elaborate new Temple of Matzu (Goddess of the Sea) provide some of the best remaining examples of southern Chinese architecture in Taiwan.

Tainan, located on the coastal edge of the fertile Jianan Plateau, is the oldest Chinese settlement on Taiwan and the island’s fourth-largest city. Until the late nineteenth century Tainan was the cultural, political, and economic center of Taiwan. Tainan was a Dutch settlement and trading post from 1624 to 1662. In 1661 the Chinese rebel leader Zheng Chenggong (1624–1662), better known by the English name “Koxinga,” failed in his attempt to restore the Chinese Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and fled to Taiwan. His army soon overcame the Dutch, and he established his government in Tainan. In 1684 the Manchu Qing dynasty (1644–1912) conquered Taiwan and incorporated Taiwan into Fujian Province of China. Tainan flourished during Japanese administration (1895–1945) but declined relative to the city of Taipei after the arrival of the Republic of China on Taiwan in 1945.

This history has left Tainan with many historic sites, including two forts built by the Dutch and more than two hundred temples, ranging from the Tainan Confucius Temple (1662) to the elaborate new Temple of Matzu (Goddess of the Sea) at Luermen. These temples provide some of the best remaining examples of southern Chinese architecture in Taiwan.

Tainan is an important center of education, culture, industry, and tourism. Historically the area has been important for rice and sugar cultivation, fisheries, oyster raising, and salt production. Tainan is home to some of Taiwan’s largest private industrial enterprises, including petrochemical and food-processing plants. It became a high-tech center and enjoyed a new period of growth after completion of the Tainan Science-Based Industrial Park in 2002.

Treaty between Lord Koxinga and the Dutch Government


Treaty made and agreed upon; from the one side, by His Highness the Lord Teibingh Tsiante Teysiancon Koxin, who has besieged Castle Zeelandia on Formosa [Taiwan] since 1st May 1661 up till this 1st day of February 1662; and from the other side, as representing the Dutch Government, by the Governor of the said Castle, Frederik Coyett, and his Council, consisting of the undernoted eighteen Articles:

Article 1

All hostilities committed on either side to be forgotten.

Article 2

Castle Zeelandia, with its outworks, artillery, remaining war materiel, merchandise, money, and other properties belonging to the Honourable Company, to be surrendered to Lord Koxinga.

Article 3

Rice, bread, wine, arack [a fermented alcoholic beverage], meat, pork, oil, vinegar, ropes, canvas, pitch, tar, anchors, gunpowder, bullets, and linen, with such other articles as may be required by the besieged during their voyage to Batavia, to be taken aboard the Company’s ships in keeping with instructions from the before-mentioned Governor and Council.

Article 4

All private movable property inside the Castle or elsewhere belonging to officers of the Dutch Government, shall first be inspected by Lord Koxinga’s delegates, and then placed on board the said ships.

Article 5

In addition to these goods, each of the twenty-eight Councillors shall be permitted to take with them two hundred rijksdaalders, and twenty chosen civilians an aggregate sum of one thousand rijksdaalders.

Article 6

After inspection, the Dutch soldiers may come forth with flying banners, burning fusees, loaded rifles, and beating drums, marching thus for embarkation under command of the Governor.

Article 7

The names of all Chinese debtors or lease-holder in Formosa, with particulars of claims against them, shall be copied out of the company’s books, and handed to Lord Koxinga.

Lord Chen Ch’eng-Kung, [L.S.]

Frederik Coyett, [L.S.]

Source: Campbell, W.. (1903). Formosa under the Dutch. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, pp. 455–456.

Further Reading

Croizier, R. (1977). Koxinga and Chinese nationalism: History, myth and the hero. Cambridge, MA: East Asian Research Center, Harvard University.

Rubenstein, M. (Ed.). (1999). Taiwan: A new history. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Source: Simon, Scott (2009). Tainan. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 2160–2161. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

Tainan (Táinán Shì ???)|Táinán Shì ??? (Tainan)

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