Following on from Beigang (北港; “North Port”), which is not in northern Taiwan, and Xingang (新港; “New Port”), which did not even have a port, it is tempting to assume there is something similarly fishy about Donggang (東港; “East Port”), which is not in Taitung or anywhere on Taiwan’s east coast but, rather, near the southern end of the west coast, in Pingtung County.
Its name refers to its location compared to other ports in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung area. After Xigang (西港; “West Port”; now Qijin (旗津) District of Kaohsiung and Zhonggang (中港; “Middle Port”; now Zhongyungang (中芸港) in Kaohsiung’s Linyuan (林園) District, Donggang, is next, just a few kilometers to the east.
At the time of its naming, Han Chinese had not yet colonized eastern Taiwan
[Another suggested explanation is that Donggang is located to the east of the Gaoping River (高屏溪).]
Gaoping River (高屏溪)
Formerly known as Xiadanshui River (下淡水溪; “Lower Fresh Water River”), with the upper section called the Shangdanshui River (上淡水溪).
Due to there also being a Danshui River in northern Taiwan, when the Taiwan Provincial Government undertook a systematic reorganization of the names of Taiwan’s rivers in 1960, it was renamed Gaoping after Kaohsiung (高雄) and Pingtung (屏東), the two counties it runs through.
Text copyright Jiyue Publications 2013