Green Island, Taiwan
Green Island (Chinese: 綠島; pinyin: Lǜ Dǎo; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Le̍k-tó) is a small volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, about 33 km (21 mi) off the eastern coast of Taiwan. In the 19th century, it was called Samasana Island, and the Japanese called it Kasho-to (火燒島). Administratively, Green Island is Lüdao Township (綠島鄉), a rural township of Taitung County and one of the county's two offshore areas. (The other is Orchid Island, or Lanyu.)
The island is 15.092 km2 (5.83 sq mi) at high tide and 17.329 km2 (6.69 sq mi) at low tide. Green Island is the ROC's fourth-largest island.
Green Island is now a locally popular scuba-diving destination for both locals and expatriates living in Taiwan.
The island is primarily noted as the place of past and current prisons and penal colonies. Green Island first served as an isolated spot and place of exile for political prisoners during the martial law period of Taiwanese history under the Kuomintang, and especially in the White Terror. After their release, many of the prisoners jailed between the late 1940s and the late 1980s went on to establish the Democratic Progressive Party, most notably Shih Ming-teh. Cartoonist Bo Yang served his prison terms there.
The place where most of the political prisoners (such as Shih Ming-teh) were held was Lǜ Dǎo Shānzhuāng ("Green Island Lodge"). "Oasis Village" was the main penal colony. The prison was later closed, and its interior is now open to the public.
Lǜ Jiānyú ("Green Island Prison") is also on the island and has housed prisoners considered to be among Taiwan's most dangerous criminals and gangsters. However, this has changed in recent years.
The island is formed of volcanic tholeiite, andesite and volcanic explosive fragments. The volcano erupted from the Pliocene to Pleistocene eras. It is part of the Luzon Volcanic Arc Magma was formed from underthrusting oceanic crust under compression at a depth of about 25 kilometres (16 mi). The andesite rock contains some visible crystals of pyroxene or amphibole. The geochemistry of the rock shows it is enriched in potassium, strontium and rubidium and light rare earth elements. Chromium and nickel are depleted.
The island was originally inhabited by the Amis Taiwanese aborigines, who called it Sanasai. It was called Huǒshāo Dǎo (火燒島) or Huoshao Yu (火燒嶼) (i.e. "Fire-Burned Island") until 1 August 1949. The magistrate of Taitung, Huang Shih-hung (黃式鴻) then renamed it "Green Island" because he thought the former name was unrefined.
In March 1864 the British brig Susan Douglas was swept off course and wrecked on the island. Her captain then sailed by junk from the island to Kaohsiung, and the Royal Navy gunboat HMS Bustard found and rescued the remainder of the survivors.
On 11 December 1937 the Dollar Steamship Company luxury ocean liner SS President Hoover ran aground in a typhoon on a reef at Zhongliao Bay. All 503 passengers and 330 crew survived and were safely brought ashore. Over the next few days the cargo liners SS President McKinley and SS President Pierce took the survivors off the island, helped by boats provided by the Japanese cruiser Ashigara and an Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer. Dollar Lines sold President Hoover's wreck to a Japanese salvage company, which spent the next three years breaking her up in situ.
In response to the wreck, members of the US public gave money through the American Red Cross for a lighthouse to be built near Zhongliao village. Lyudao or Lutao Lighthouse was designed by Japanese engineers, built by local islanders in 1938 and is 33.3 metres (109 ft) high.
In 1995 fewer than half of the registered 2,634 residents of the island actually lived on the island. The population is dwindling due to the difficulty of finding jobs on the island. The island has two pre-schools, one kindergarten, two elementary schools and one middle school. To pursue any education at the senior high school level or above, islanders must move to the main island of Taiwan. Public service centres include one seniors' home, one library, and one community centre.
The villages and the settlements (聚落) they administer are:
- Zhongliao Village (中寮村)
- Nanliao Village (南寮村)
- Nanliao (南寮)
- Yugang (漁港)
- Gongguan Village (公館村)
- Gongguan (公館)
- Chaikou (柴口)
- Liumagou (流麻溝)
- Dahu (大湖)
- Zuoping (左坪)
The following abandoned aboriginal tribal settlements also belong to Gongguan Village:
- Youzihu (柚子湖)
- Nanzihu (楠子湖)
- Haishenping (海參坪)
- Dabaisha (大白沙)
- Zhang, Jinhai; He, Lishi (2002). "Geology of Taiwan Province". Geology of China. Geological Publishing House. ISBN 7-116-02268-6.
- The spelling form is from the administration department webpage: Lu Tao Lighthouse
- "Part Two: The Wreck of the SS President Hoover". SS President Hoover. The Takao Club. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "(untitled)". Otago Daily Times. 29 September 1864. p. 4.
- "(untitled)". The Southland Times. 1 October 1864. p. 2.
- Tully, Anthony; Hackett, Bob; Kingsepp, Sander (2012). "Stranding of S.S. PRESIDENT HOOVER - December 1937". Rising Storm – The Imperial Japanese Navy and China 1931–1941. Imperial Japanese Navy Page. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "Lyudao Lighthouse". About Taitung. Department of Culture and Tourism, Taitung Government. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Green Island, Taiwan.|
- Tourism (Chinese)
- Scuba Diving off Green Island (English)
- Book Trips to Green Island here! (English)