8/19/2006

Casteel Zeelandia at Tainan

The Dutch started to build Zeelandia in 1624 (it would take eight years to complete) after being invited by Peking to take Taiwan in exchange for leaving the Pescadores (澎湖). Zeelandia was built on a peninsula so that the fort would be able to withstand attacks originating from Taiwan itself. Surrounded by two walls, it was fortified by bulwarks and redoubts around its outer rim. From the fort on the far side of the peninsula's arm, a town called Tayouan spread southeast to northwest. Two an a half leagues in length and a quarter of a league in breadth, it was arranged as follows: Church, Weights' Official, Armaments/Blacksmith, Gallows, Slaughterhouse, Market, Prison & Alleys. The main Wharf seems to run along the tip of the far side all the way to fort walls, facing toward the inner-bay. A barren expanse of sand, Tayouan produced only pineapple trees and few other wild trees. Over 10,000 Chinese, 1,200 Dutch and number of Taiwanese aborigines called Tayouan home. A Blockhouse known as Utrecht was just above the arm of the peninsula on the near-side of Zeelandia. Described as being "a bow's shot distance from Zeelandia," it was 16 feet high and protected by stone palisades. It cut off all land access from Taiwan.

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