Guo Huaiyi Rebellion
|Guo Huaiyi Rebellion
|Guo Huaiyi's peasant army||Dutch East India Company
|15,000||1,000 Dutch soldiers
5,000 Formosan allies
|Casualties and losses|
|c.4,000 killed||8 Dutchmen, unknown number (likely small) of Formosan allies|
The Guo Huaiyi Rebellion (Chinese: 郭懷一事件; pinyin: Guō Huáiyī shìjiàn; also spelled Kuo Huai-i Rebellion) was a peasant revolt against Dutch rule in Taiwan which took place in 1652. Sparked by dissatisfaction with heavy Dutch taxation and extortion by low-ranking Dutch officials and servicemen, the rebellion initially gained ground before being brutally crushed by a coalition of Dutch soldiers and their aboriginal allies. It is considered the most important uprising against the Dutch during the 37-year period of their colonisation of Taiwan.
The burden of Dutch taxes on the Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan was a source of much resentment. The falling price of venison, a chief export of the island at the time, hit licensed hunters hard, as the cost of the licenses was based on meat prices before the depreciation. The head tax (which only applied to Chinese, not aborigines) was also deeply unpopular, and thirdly, petty corruption amongst Dutch soldiers further angered the Chinese residents.
The revolt was led by Guo Huaiyi (Chinese: 郭懷一; 1603–1652), a sugarcane farmer and militia leader originally from Quanzhou known to the Dutch by the name Gouqua Faijit, or Gouqua Faet. After his planning for an insurrection on 17 September 1652 was leaked to the Dutch authorities, he decided to waste no time in attacking Fort Provintia, which at the time was only surrounded by a bamboo wall. On the night of 7 September the rebels, mostly peasants-farmers armed with bamboo spears, stormed the fort. The Dutch garrison there took refuge in the stable (the most defensible building in the complex) and managed to hold off the assault, though some Dutch were captured, killed and mutilated.
The following morning a company of 120 Dutch musketeers came to the rescue of their trapped countrymen, firing steadily into the besieging rebel forces and breaking them. Governor Nicolas Verburg then sent messengers to summon aboriginal allies to the aid of the Dutch, to which the natives responded in their thousands. On September 11 the Dutch learned that the rebels had massed just north of the principal Dutch settlement of Tayouan. Sending a large force of Dutch soldiers and aboriginal warriors, they met the rebels that day in battle and emerged victorious, mainly due to the superior weaponry of the Europeans.
Over the following days, the remnants of Guo's army were either slaughtered by aboriginal warriors or melted back into the villages they came from, with Guo Huaiyi himself being shot, then decapitated, with his head displayed on a spike as a warning. In total some 4,000 Chinese were killed during the five-day uprising, approximately 1 in 10 Chinese living in Taiwan at that time. The Dutch responded by reinforcing Fort Provintia (building brick walls instead of the previous bamboo fence) and by monitoring Chinese settlers more closely. However, they did not address the roots of the concerns which had caused the Chinese to rebel in the first place.
- Andrade, Tonio (2005). "The Only Bees on Formosa That Give Honey". How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century. Columbia University Press.
- 台灣史蹟研究會彙編. 台灣叢談 (in Chinese). 幼獅文化事業. 1977. ISBN 6665301893.
- Eduard B. Vermeer (1990). Development and Decline of Fukien Province in the 17th and 18th Centuries. p. 21. ISBN 978-90-04-09171-9.
- Huber, Johannes (1990). "Chinese Settlers Against the Dutch East India Company: The Rebellion Led by Kuo Huai-i on Taiwan in 1652". In Vermeer, E.B. Development and Decline of Fukien Province in the 17th and 18th centuries. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004091719.