Tavakan was a village of about a thousand people; the name was also written Taffacan, Tavocan, Tavacang, and Davocan in Dutch records. The village grew into the market-town of Twa-bak-kang, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of Sin-kang (modern-day Xinshi).
After 1627, the VOC sent missionaries into neighboring districts. In 1635, George Candidius, a Dutch pastor, advised Pieter Nuyts, the leader of the Dutch VOC in Taiwan, that the VOC would have to conquer the aborigines before they could be controlled. In 1636, eighteen tribal groups, including the inhabitants of Tavocan, submitted to Dutch rule.
Since the early part of the 20th century, Xinhua has been an important fruit wholesaling center. Around 1920, dozens of baroque-influenced store buildings were constructed along what is now Jhongjheng Road. Most of these buildings survive in good condition, and the street, known as "Xinhua Old Street," has become a tourist attraction.
The Taiwan High Speed Rail track passes through the western part of the township; no station is planned, however.
Note: Hanyu Pinyin is the national standard and promulgated by the Ministry of Interior. Exceptions: "Tamsui" instead of "Danshui," cardinal direction districts, and names of special municipalities and provincial cities. ¹ — Mountain Indigenous District