Cihou Fort

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 22°36′47″N 120°15′51″E / 22.61306°N 120.26417°E / 22.61306; 120.26417

Qihou Fort, southern gate with incomplete inscription

Cihou Fort or Cihou Battery (Chinese: 旗後砲臺; Hanyu Pinyin: Qíhou Pàotái; Tongyong Pinyin: Cíhòu Pàotái; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kî-āu Phàu-tâi) is a historic fort in Cijin District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, formerly guarding northern entrance to Kaohsiung Harbor.

History[edit]

The first fortifications were built in 1720 when Taiwan was ruled by the Manchu-led Qing Empire of China.[1] After Japanese expedition in 1874, the Qing authorities constructed a modern fort, which in 1880 had new Armstrong's guns installed.[2] It played no part in the Sino-French War; the fighting in Taiwan took place around Keelung and during blockade French ships did not approach the port.

Taiwan was ceded to Japan according to the Treaty of Shimonoseki in the aftermath of the first Sino-Japanese war. The local troops, however, fought on. On 12 October 1895, escadre commanded by admiral Arichi Shinanojo (cruisers Yoshino, Naniwa, Akitsushima, Yaeyama, Saien (ex Chinese Jiyuan, captured in Weihaiwei) and corvette Hiei) arrived at Takow (modern-day Kaohsiung) and prompted the foreigners to evacuate, as they would conduct the attack on the next day. The foreigners boarded gunboat HMS Tweed and two tugs and withdrew (only to return once the fight was over). At 7 am, 13 October, Japanese ships "opened fire on the Takow forts at a range of about 6,000 yards. For the first half-hour, the forts responded, but after this their guns were silent...The forts fired twenty four rounds, the best shot being from the 8-inch B.L. Armstrong guns in Apes' Hill fort, which struck the water about 500 yards from the Naniwa Kan."[3] The Japanese troops seized the forts in early afternoon, suffering no casualties (4 Chinese soldiers were killed).[4]

During the Japanese era the fort was not used.

After World War II the hill was fortified by Chinese army: light gun and machine gun nests cut in the rock can still be found there.

Location of the fort

Construction[edit]

Planned by British engineer, H. W. Harwood,[1] the fort consists of three parts:

Barracks and the gate to the battery
  • fortified barracks, around rectangular square, with close-defence parapet on the roof. Of the two gates, one leads to the battery, the other used to be a main southern gate. It bore a Chinese inscription, which could be translated as "Mighty blow to the South" – the characters for "mighty blow" were shot away by a shell from Yoshino. The rest, still visible, serve as ironic remainder of history.
  • central command post
The battery with two visible emplacements overlooking Taiwan Strait
  • main rectangular battery with four open emplacements (two facing west, one north and one south) for four Armstrong's 7 inch rifled muzzle-loaders (RML 7-inch 6½-ton), with bunkers for crews. Magazines are located on the lower level. Steep slopes of the Cihou hill served as fort's natural scarps.

Of the 19th-century fortification at the foot of the hill, only remainders are still visible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wetzel, Charles. "Cijin Island's Cihou Fort Guards Some Interesting History". Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 213: "Orders were given to Chinese men-of-war to survey the North Formosa Channel and to keep a watch on the Russians. In the island four new fortifications were erected between Taiwanfu and Taipehfu, and a modern fortress was built at Kelung costing the government a large amount of money. This latter structure was a source of great pride to the Chinese, and its five modern Krupp guns were thought to be quite sufficient to demolish the Russians or any one else that dared to put in an appearance. At Takow the authorities placed in position, in the two forts which had been built on either side of the harbor, four 7 inch 6½ ton and two 6 inch 80 cwt. muzzle loading rifled Armstrong guns which had been purchased the previous year. Hut the dreaded Russians, like the Spanish, disappeared from the channel one day never to return, and Formosa breathed freely again."
  3. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 357.
  4. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 358: "Takow was then in full possession of the Japanese, the loss of life amounting to four men on the Chinese side, two being killed in Ki-au village and two in Apes' Hill fort. It is hardly necessary to state that the casualties on the Japanese side were nil."

Bibliography[edit]