Miaoli County

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Miaoli County
Miaoli County Montage.png
Flag of Miaoli County
Coat of arms of Miaoli County
Coat of arms
Taiwan ROC political division map Miaoli County.svg
Coordinates: 24°33′48.29″N 120°49′32.98″E / 24.5634139°N 120.8258278°E / 24.5634139; 120.8258278Coordinates: 24°33′48.29″N 120°49′32.98″E / 24.5634139°N 120.8258278°E / 24.5634139; 120.8258278
Country Taiwan
Region Western Taiwan
Seat Miaoli City
Largest city Toufen
Boroughs 1 cities, 17 (6 urban, 11 rural) townships
 • County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung
 • Total 1,820.3149 km2 (702.8275 sq mi)
Area rank 11 of 22
Population (January 2014)
 • Total 565,661
 • Rank 13 of 22
 • Density 310/km2 (800/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC+8)
Website www.miaoli.gov.tw
Bird European magpie (Pica pica)
Flower Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
Tree Tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
Miaoli County
Traditional Chinese 苗栗縣
Simplified Chinese 苗栗县

Miaoli County (Chinese: 苗栗縣; pinyin: Miáolì Xiàn) is a county in western Taiwan. Miaoli is contiguous with Hsinchu county and Hsinchu City to the north, Taichung City to the south, and borders the Taiwan Strait to the west. The Council for Economic Planning and Development of Taiwan classifies Miaoli as a county of Central Taiwan, while the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau classifies Miaoli as a county of the North. Miaoli City is the capital of the county, and is also known as "Mountain Town", owing to the number of mountains nearby, making it a destination for hiking.


The name Miaoli was coined using two Hakka words, cat (貓) and raccoon dog (狸), which phonetically approximate Pali (Bari), a community of Taokas people.


Evidence of settlement in Miaoli dates back a thousand years. Many archaeological artifacts have been found showing that during the prehistoric era, people lived in the river terrace. They mainly led an agriculture life and engaged in hunting and fishing for their extra food source. About a thousand years ago, an indigenous group Taokas settled here.

In the mid 17th century, Han Chinese began to migrate into the area, beginning a gradual process of deforestation and establishment of permanent settlement sites. The prior inhabitants of Miaoli were either assimilated into the dominant Han population, or migrated deeper into the mountainous range. After several hundred years, Miaoli had become the home of people from different origins, such as Hakka, Southern Min, Atayal and Saisiyat.[1]

Kingdom of Tungning[edit]

After Koxinga took over Taiwan from the Netherlands, he placed Miaoli into Tian-Sing County and started an immigration plan to develop this area.

Qing Dynasty[edit]

After the last Tungning Ruler Zheng Keshuang surrender to the Qing Dynasty, Tian-sing County was renamed Jhu-Luo County. In 1889, Miaoli was established as an independent county under a new system. At the end of 19th century, thousands of acres of high quality fertile fields had been reclaimed in the area of Nanzhuang, Shitan, Dahu and Zhuolan. Public and private schools were also established all over Miaoli which made the area a place of gathering intellectuals and elites in northern Taiwan.

Empire of Japan[edit]

The county was at first eliminated under Japanese Imperial rule; between 1901 to 1908, parts of modern Miaoli, then known as Byōritsu-chō (苗栗庁) were merged into the district of Shinchiku Prefecture.

Republic of China[edit]

After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China on 25 October 1945, the present day area of Miaoli County was incorporated to Hsinchu County. On 16 August 1950, the government re-established Miaoli County on 16 August 1950 with Miaoli Township as the county seat. On 25 December 1981, Miaoli Township was upgraded from township to a county-controlled city.


Miaoli County is considered to be located in the central northern part of the island of Taiwan, contiguous with Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, and Taichung City. The Xueshan Range is located on the border between Miaoli County and Taichung City. Miaoli County north to south averages about 50 kilometers and east to west averages about 64 kilometers. It is roughly diamond shaped in appearance. The overall coastline of Miaoli is about 50 kilometers long.

Miaoli has little flat lands (plateau) and very mountainous due to the Xueshan Range. Miaoli has rich rainfall along with abundant rivers.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Liu Cheng-hung, Magistrate of Miaoli County

Miaoli County is divided into 1 city, 6 urban townships and 11 rural townships. Miaoli County has the second highest number of urban townships after Changhua County. Miaoli City is the county seat which houses the Miaoli County Government and Miaoli County Council. The incumbent Magistrate of Miaoli County is Liu Cheng-hung of the Kuomintang.


Township Name Chinese Name Surface Area(km²) Number of Villages Number of Neighborhoods Population Density(person/km²)
Miaoli City 苗栗市 37.8872 28 702 91,138 2,405
Urban Townships
Houlong Township 後龍鎮 75.8072 23 367 38,387 506
Tongxiao Township 通霄鎮 107.768 24 394 37,142 344
Toufen Township 頭份鎮 53.32 32 538 101,596 1,905
Yuanli Township 苑裡鎮 68.2472 25 360 48,452 709
Zhunan Township 竹南鎮 37.5592 25 515 82,515 2,197
Zhuolan Township 卓蘭鎮 75.316 11 176 18,462 242
Rural Townships
Dahu Township 大湖鄉 90.8392 12 180 15,677 173
Gongguan Township 公館鄉 71.452 19 281 34,808 487
Nanzhuang Township 南庄鄉 165.4936 9 184 10,727 65
Sanwan Township 三灣鄉 52.296 8 93 7,121 136
Sanyi Township 三義鄉 69.3424 7 161 17,394 251
Shitan Township 獅潭鄉 79.432 7 100 4,668 59
Tai'an Township 泰安鄉 614.5936 8 64 5,964 10
Tongluo Township 銅鑼鄉 78.38 10 218 19,007 243
Touwu Township 頭屋鄉 52.504 8 120 11,403 217
Xihu Township 西湖鄉 41.0752 9 108 7,647 186
Zaoqiao Township 造橋鄉 47.9976 9 118 13,505 281
Miaoli County 苗栗縣 1,820.3149 274 4,679 565,661 311

Demographics and culture[edit]


The main population of Miaoli County is comprised by the Han Chinese and the Taiwanese aborigines. The Taiwanese aborigines constitute about 1.9% of the total population while the Hakka are the main group of Han Chinese.

Taiwanese aborigines

The Saisiat currently reside in the Wufeng Township of Hsinchu County and the Nanzhuang Township of Miaoli County.[2] Due the oppression by initial Han immigrants, the Atayal aboriginal group and the Nanzhuang Incident, the population of the Saisiat people have decreased to 5,000 people. It is the least populous Taiwanese aboriginal group after the Thao people. The traditions and culture of the Saisiat is greatly impacted by the Atayal aborigines and Hakka in the region.[3]

Han Chinese

During the Qing Dynasty, Miaoli was inhabited by Hakka. Currently, the inhabitants of the four coastal townships of Miaoli (Nanzhuang Township, Houlong Township, Tongxiao Township, and Yuanli Township) consists of primarily Taiwanese Hokkien speakers. With the exception of the four coastal townships and Tai'an Township, the main population consists of Hakka.


The main sports and recreational structures in Miaoli include Miaoli Sports Hall, Miaoli County Tennis Court, and the Park of Zhunan Township. In Taiwan National Athletic Games of 2011, Miaoli is ranked 21 out of 22 teams with 1 gold, 1 silver, and 8 bronze.


Popular regional agriculture, food production and culture promoted by the government include strawberries from Dahu Township, Hakka zongzi, Sanwan Chinese pears, Touwu Daikons, Sanyi wood sculptures, Tai’an persimmons, and many more.


Education-related affairs in Miaoli County is regulated by Education Department of the Miaoli County Government. At the end of 2004, the population of people older than 15 years old was 451,128, among which 97.91% of them were literate. There were 108,052 college-educated, 156,870 senior high school or junior college graduates, 176,755 junior high school or lower graduates. The percentage of people receiving education higher than college was relatively low.[4]

Miaoli County houses several universities and colleges, such as the National United University, Yu Da University, Asia-Pacific Institute of Creativity and Jen-Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management.


Power generations[edit]

Miaoli County houses the gas-fired Tunghsiao Power Plant in Tongxiao Township, the second largest gas-fired power plant in Taiwan with a capacity of 1,815 MW.

Watter supply[edit]

The Mingte Dam in Touwu Township supplies water for irrigation and water supply for the county. The dam has a capacity of 17.1 million m3.

Tourist attractions[edit]


Nature tourism in Miaoli County including Flying Cow Ranch and Shei-Pa National Park.


Miaoli County houses several museums, such as Huoyan Mountain Ecology Museum, Miaoli Pottery Museum, Miaoli Railway Museum, Museum of Saisiat Folklore, Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum, Taiwan Oil Field Exhibition Hall and Zaochiao Charcoal Museum.

Cultural centers[edit]

There is a cultural center in the county, called the Wu Zhuo-liu Art and Cultural Hall.

Theme parks[edit]

Theme parks in the county is West Lake Resortopia.


The various cultural festivals of Miaoli County includes, Miaoli Marine Tourism, Meng-Hua Literary Award, Hakka Tung Hua Festival, Hakka folk song festival, Miaoli international tourism festival, etc.


Miaoli Bus


The Taiwan Railways Administration passes through Miaoli County through the Coastal Line and Taichung Line. The Coastal Line consists of Qiding, Zhunan, Tanwen, Dashan, Houlong, Longgang, Baishatun, Xinpu, Tongxiao and Yuanli Station. The Taichung Line consists of Zhunan, Zaoqiao, Fengfu, Miaoli, Nanshi, Tongluo and Sanyi Station.

Taiwan High Speed Rail passes north to south through Miaoli and will have one of its station in the county, which is the Miaoli Station located in Houlong Township. The Miaoli County Government proposed for a MRT like system in downtown Miaoli, but the plan was rejected by the central government.


Both Taiwan No 1 and Taiwan No 3 highways have stops here.

Relative location[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]