Hobe Fort

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Coordinates: 25°10′46″N 121°25′46″E / 25.179306°N 121.429343°E / 25.179306; 121.429343

Hobe Fort
A group of Qing soldiers during the Sino-French War

Hobe Fort or Huwei Fort (Chinese: 滬尾砲台; pinyin: Hùwěi Pàotái; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hō͘-bé/Hō͘-bóe Phàu-tâi) is a historical fort located near Fort Santo Domingo, in Tamsui District, New Taipei, Taiwan.[1]

In the 1880s Imperial China (Qing Dynasty) and France fought a war over today's Vietnam. In October 1884 in the Keelung Campaign, the French fleet sailed to northern Taiwan where it blockaded the ports of Keelung and Tamsui, and then landed troops at both places. The Chinese managed to turn back the assault at Tamsui, though Keelung fell to the French. Eventually the Chinese government signed a treaty granting the French extensive privileges.

The Sino-French War (1884-1885) at Danshui proved to the Qing government that their coastline defense wasn't as secure as it needed to be.[2] Following the war, the Chinese government decided to strengthen Taiwan's coastal defenses with forts at Keelung, Tainan - Fort Zeelandia and (Fort Anping) - and Tamsui. All in all the government reached the decision to construct ten new forts. Hobe Fort, or 'Bei Men Suo Yao', which translated to 'gate keeper of the northern Taiwan', was one of these ten forts. To ensure that the new forts would be up to date, the government commissioned the German military engineer Max E. Hecht to supervise the construction, which began in 1886 and finished in 1889. When Hobe Fort was finished it had a rectangular structure and commanded the Tamsui River; its armament consisted of a massive 10-inch, one 8-inch, and two 6-inch guns.

Because the fort never saw combat it remains almost entirely intact. The barracks that once stood in the central square are gone, as are the guns, but the outer walls, vaults and gate are close to their original conditions. One enters the fort through a gate that still bears the original inscription Beimensuoyao (北門鎖鑰), given by governor Liu Mingchuan, who was governor at the time of the fort's construction. The vaults inside the fort now contain a museum about the French landing in Tamsui.

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