Taiwan under Qing rule

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Taiwan under Qing rule
臺灣清治時期
Part of Fujian Province, later its own Province

 

1683–1895
 


Flag

Territory of Taiwan
Capital Taiwan-Fu (Tainan) (1683-1885)
Taichung (1885-87)
Taipei (1887-95)
Languages Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Formosan languages
Government Monarchy
Governor
 -  1885 - 1891 Liu Mingchuan
 -  1891 - 1894 Shao You-lien
 -  1894 - 1895 Tang Ching-sung
Historical era Qing dynasty
 -  Conquered 1683
 -  New nation declared 1895
Currency Qing Tael

The Qing dynasty ruled Taiwan from 1683 to 1895. The Qing court sent an army led by general Shi Lang and annexed Taiwan in 1683. Qing rule over Taiwan ended when Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.

History[edit]

Following the death of Zheng Jing in 1681, the Qing dynasty seized the advantage presented by the struggle for succession and dispatched their navy with Shi Lang at its head to destroy the Zheng fleet off the Penghu Islands. In 1683 following the Battle of Penghu, Qing troops landed in Taiwan. Zheng Keshuang gave in to Qing demands for surrender, and his kingdom was incorporated into the Qing Empire as part of Fujian province, thereby ending two decades of rule by the Zheng family.[1]

Qing Emperor Kangxi annexed Taiwan to remove any threat to his dynasty from remaining resistance forces on the island. However, Qing authorities did not want to develop Taiwan over aggressively as this might have encouraged potential resistances force to build a base there. Accordingly, the early Qing dynasty initially ruled Taiwan passively as part of Fujian province, until it became a separate province in 1885. In 1721, a Hakka-Fujianese rebellion led by Zhu Yigui captured Tainan and briefly established a government reminiscent of the Ming dynasty.

In the immediate aftermath of Zhu Yigui rebellion, the desire to open up new land for cultivation saw government encouraging the expansion of Han migration to other areas of the island. For instance, the population in the Danshui area had grown to the point where the government needed an administrative centre there, in addition to a military outpost. The government tried to build a centre with local aboriginal corvée labor, but treated them more like slaves and finally provoked an uprising. Aboriginal groups split their loyalties —most joined the uprising; some remained loyal to the Qing, perhaps because they had pre-existing feuds with the other groups. The aboriginal revolt was put down within a few months with the arrival of additional troops.

The Lin Shuangwen rebellion occurred in 1787–1788.[2] Lin, who was an immigrant from Zhangzhou, had come to Taiwan with his father in the 1770s. He was involved in the secret Heaven and Earth Society whose origins are not clear. Lin's father was detained by the local authorities, perhaps in suspicion of his activities with the society; Lin Shuangwen then organized the rest of the society members in a revolt in an attempt to free his father. There was initial success in pushing government forces out of Lin's home base in Changhua; his allies did likewise in Danshui. By this point, the fighting was drawing in Zhangzhou people beyond just the society members, and activating the old feuds; this brought out Quanzhou networks (as well as Hakka) on behalf of the government. Eventually, the government sent sufficient force to restore order; Lin Shuangwen was executed and the Heaven and Earth Society was dispersed to mainland China or sent into hiding, but there was no way to eliminate ill-will between Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, and Hakka networks. Though they never again were serious to push out the government or encompass the whole island, feuds went on sporadically for most of the 19th century, only started coming to an end in the 1860s.

There were more than a hundred rebellions during the early Qing. The frequency of rebellions, riots, and civil strife in Qing Taiwan is evoked by the common saying "every three years an uprising; every five years a rebellion" (三年一反、五年一亂).[3]

Qing policy on Taiwan[edit]

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Qing had three main policies relating to the governance of Taiwan. The first policy was to restrict the qualification and number of migrants who were allowed to cross the Taiwan strait and settle in Taiwan. This was to prevent a rapid growth in population. The second policy was to restrict Han Chinese from entering the mountain area which was mainly settled by Indigenous Taiwanese peoples. This policy was to prevent conflict between the two groups of settlers. The third was to apply different tax policies for Han immigrants and aboriginal people. The colonial government first sold farming rights of land to urban businessmen, and then these rights-owners would rented out portions of the land to individual farm laborers from the mainland. Because of the high population from Fujian Province, demand for land was high, and therefore rents were also high and migrant laborers usually didn't make much profit. For aboriginal groups, tax farmers were used. The government recognized aboriginal rights to land, but per-village tax was also imposed. The tax was not paid directly, but by merchants who were buying the right to collect taxes for themselves. Then tax farmers would ruthlessly seize property, rape women, and so on. Besides, corvée labor was included. The result seemed good, since the tax policies made convenient revenue for the government, landowners, tax farmers, yet Han and aboriginal people were struggling.

Despite the restrictions, the population of Han Chinese in Taiwan grew rapidly from 100,000 to 2,500,000, while the population of Taiwanese Aborigines shrank.[citation needed]

The restrictions on mainland Chinese residents migrating to Taiwan stipulated that no family members could accompany the migrant. Therefore, most migrants were mostly single men or married men with wives remaining on mainland China. Most early male migrants to Taiwan would choose to marry the indigenous women. Accordingly, there was a saying which stated that "there were Tangshan (Chinese) men, but no Tangshan women" (有唐山公無唐山媽).

The Han people frequently occupied the indigenous land or conducted illegal business with the indigenous peoples, so conflicts often happened. During that time, the Qing government was not interested in managing this matter. It simply drew the borders and closed up the mountain area so they could segregate the two groups. It also implemented a policy which assumed that the indigenous peoples would understand the law as much as the Han Chinese, so when conflicts arose the indigenous peoples tended to be judged unfairly. Accordingly, indigenous land were often taken through both legal and illegal methods, sometimes the Han Chinese even used inter-marriage as an excuse to occupy land. Many people crossed the maintain borders to farm and to conduct business, and conflicts frequently arose.

Around 1890, Governor Liu Mingchuan declared that the "savages" of the island were completely subdued. This was only part of a broad action by the Qing government against southern aboriginal tribes in China.[4]

Development[edit]

The Han people occupied most of the plains and developed good agricultural systems and prosperous commerce, and consequently transformed the plains of Taiwan into a Han-like society.

Taiwan had a strong agricultural sector in the economy, while the coastal provinces of mainland China had a strong handcrafting sector, the trade between the two regions prospered and many cities in Taiwan such as Tainan, Lukang and Taipei became important trading ports.

During 1884-1885, the Sino-French War affected Taiwan. The Qing government then realized the strategic importance of Taiwan in relation to trade and geographical location and therefore began to try to rapidly develop Taiwan. In 1885, Taiwan became Taiwan Province, and Liu Mingchuan was appointed as the governor.[citation needed] Liu increased the administrative regions in Taiwan to tighten control and to reduce crime. He implemented land reform and simplified land management. As a result of the land reform, the taxation received by the government increased by more than threefold. He also developed the mountain area to promote harmony between the Han Chinese and the Indigenous Taiwanese peoples.

However, modernization of Taiwan was Liu's main achievement.[citation needed] He encouraged the use of machinery and built military defense infrastructure. He also improved the road and rail systems. In 1887, he started building the first Chinese-built railway (completed in 1893, see Taiwan Railways Administration). In 1888, he opened the first post office in Taiwan (see Chunghwa Post), which was also the first in China. Taiwan was then considered the most developed province in China.[citation needed]

However, Liu resigned his post as governor in 1891 and most of the modernization projects initiated by him came to a halt shortly thereafter and were never restarted throughout the rest of the Qing reign over the island. In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

Westerners claimed that diseases like leprosy and malaria were present in Taiwan.[5][6]

Reaction of Taiwan to the Treaty of Shimonoseki[edit]

In an attempt to prevent Japanese rule, an independent democratic Republic of Formosa was declared. This republic was short-lived as the Japanese quickly suppressed opposition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Copper, John F. (2000). Historical dictionary of Taiwan (Republic of China) (2nd ed.). Lanham, Md. [u.a.]: Scarecrow Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780810836655. OL 39088M. 
  2. ^ Peterson, Willard J. (2002), Part 1: The Ch'ing Empire to 1800, The Cambridge History of China 9, Cambridge University Press, p. 269, ISBN 9780521243346, OL 7734135M 
  3. ^ Skoggard, Ian A. (1996). The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9781563248467. OL 979742M.  p. 10
  4. ^ The Chinese times, Volume 4. THE TIENTSIN PRINTING CO. 1890. p. 24. Retrieved 2011-06-27. From January, 1890, to December, 1890
  5. ^ Skertchly, S.B.J. (1893). "The Ethnography of Leprosy in the Far East". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 13: 14. The two islands of Hainan and Formosa are striking examples of our theme. Hainan is inhabited by a tribe that, keeping to the interior, give but partial submission to the Chinese, and hold scarcely any communication with them. The Chinese proper on the island, are mostly descendants of emigrants from Fokien, and they are leprous, while the natives are free. Formosa was early settled by an Indonesian race, and the island did not become Chinese till 1661. Even now they are confined to the west of the dividing range, and the natives successfully hold the rest. The Chinese are leprous, the Formosans are not. 
  6. ^ Nitobe, Inazo (1912). "Japan as a Colonizer". The Journal of Race Development 2 (4): 349. doi:10.2307/29737924. The indigenous population consists of head-hunters of Malay descent, who live in small communities in a very low grade of culture. The only art with which they are acquainted is agriculture, and that in a very primitive style —what the Germans name Spatencultur, not agriculture proper but rather what Mr. Morgan, if I remember rightly, in his Primitive Society calls a primitive form of horticulture. They have no ploughs; they have no draft animals; this horticulture is all that they know. But these people are very cleanly in their habits. This may be due to their Malay instinct of frequent bathing; and they keep their cottages perfectly clean, unlike other savages of a similar grade of culture. The main part of the population, however, consists of Chinese who have come from the continent and settled in Formosa. They came chiefly from the opposite shores, the province of Fukien and from the city and surroundings of Canton. It seems that the Chinese emigrants could not perpetuate their families in their new home for any number of generations, succumbing as they did to the direct and indirect effects of malaria, and hence the Chinese population proper was constantly replenished by new arrivals from the main land. The aborigines or savages living a primitive life, constantly driven into the forest regions and high altitudes, did not increase in numbers; so when Japan assumed authority in this island she found few conditions that bespoke a hopeful outlook. The Chinese, representing two branches of their race totally different in character and in their dialects—their dialect being unintelligible one to the other—occupied the coast and the plains and were chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits. They had a few fortified cities and towns among them; Tainan and Taihoku, with a population of about 40,000 were the most important. 

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Kingdom of Tungning
(See also kingdom of Middag)
History of Taiwan
Under Qing dynasty rule

1683-1895
Succeeded by
Under Japanese rule