-- Working draft for upcoming book by Mark Caltonhill, author of "Private Prayers and Public Parades - Exploring the religious life of Taipei" and other works.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Donggang 東港, Pingtung County (and Gaoping River 高屏溪)

Donggang (東港; “East Port”)

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

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Beigang 北港 (and Bengang 笨港, Wanggang 魍港 and Vasikan 貓兒干)

Beigang: (北港; lit. “North Port”; c.f. Nangang 南港; “South Port”)

Over the last four centuries, “north harbor” (北港; Hoklo Pak-kang; Mdn. Beigang) has referred to a number of places, even, as missionary/writer Rev. Wm. Campbell explains, to the whole of Taiwan:

“According to early Chinese accounts, the name Pak-kang […] was first given to what is now known as Kelung, this name afterwards coming to mean the whole of Formosa […] and it is easy to understand how junk-men would come to speak of crossing to Pak-kang when they really intended to call in at other little landing-places.”
- (Explanatory Notes to “Formosa under the Dutch”; 1903)

Other possible locations therefore include,
i) Keelung, as well as
ii) Danshui,
iii) the whole of northern Taiwan,
iv) Wanggang (魍港) an area now in today’s Tainan, and,
v) the town of Beigang in southern Yunlin County, the only one to bear this name today.

Beigang (北港; lit. “North Port”), is one part of former Bengang (笨港; lit. “Stupid Port”), formerly the Hongya (洪雅) aboriginal area of Vasikan (貓兒干) .

Bengang was the location of the first mass immigration of Han Chinese into Taiwan, when Yan Siqi (顏思齊) from Zhangzhou (漳州) and Koxinga’s father, Zheng Zhilong (鄭芝龍) from Quanzhou (泉州) brought around 3,000 Fujianese to ‘open land for cultivation’, early in the Tianqi reign period (天啟; 1620–1627) toward the end of the Ming dynasty.

Early in the Qing dynasty (1683-1895 on Taiwan), the city, twinned with Fujian’s Xiamen, was the sole officially sanctioned port for import and export of goods, and so prospered greatly; hence the expression “First Fu, second Ben” (一府二笨 ; as Bengang was second in importance to Fu-cheng, the island’s government-capital, now Tainan; also c.f. the later, 19th-century expression “First Fu, second Lu[gang], third Manga [now Taipei’s Wanhua] (一府二鹿三艋舺).

Flooding and realignment of the Bengang (now Beigang 北港溪) River led to the division of the city into two parts, one on the north bank, one on the south. When ethnic tension between between immigrants and their descendants from the Zhangzhou and Quanzhou areas of China’s Fujian Province, descended into fighting between clans with the family names of Wu (吳) and Cai (蔡), it resulted in the Quanzhou people occupying the northern Benbeigang (笨北港; whence today’s Beigang), and the Zhangzhou people taking southern Bennangang (笨南港; which today is Chiayi County’s Xingang: 新港; “New Port”).

Bengang (笨港; lit. “Stupid Port”) is the former name of the twin towns of Beigang (北港) and Xingang (新港) straddling the Beigang River at the border of Yunlin (雲林) and Chiayi (嘉義) counties.

It appeared on 17th-century Dutch maps as “Pongkang” (and similar spellings), and is conjectured to derive from a local Plains Aboriginal name, probably at a nearby but not identical location. This was transliterated to Chinese characters as 笨港, for which the Hoklo pronunciation is now pūn-káng (and Mdn. Beigang).

i) Most likely an aboriginal tribe name [MC: why not Vasikan?] became
ii) Pongkang on Dutch maps and Pun-kang in Hoklo Chinese;
iii) this split into northern (Pun-pak-kang) and southern parts;
iv) Pun-pak-kang was shortened to Pak-kang;
v) Mandarin pronunciation of Hoklo Pak-kang is Beigang.

Wanggang (魍港; lit. “Wang [a kind of monster] Harbor), an area around today’s Beimen (北門) District in Tainan).

Vasikan (貓兒干) Culture is a prehistoric archaeological culture from the Metal Age (or Iron Age) approximately 800-400 years ago. The culture was mainly distributed in Lunbei (崙背) and the Mailiao (麥寮) alluvial plain along the river in Yunlin (雲林) County on the south bank of the the Zhuoshui River (濁水溪). Major sites include the Vikisan (Kanding, 崁頂) , Fengrong (豐榮), Leicuo (雷厝), and Shicuoliao (施厝寮) sites, all of which are clustered together.

Text and photos copyright Jiyue Publications

Friday, 18 October 2013

MISCELLANY of 19th-century Notes on 17th-century Dutch Historical Records

A MISCELLANY of Rev. Wm. Campbell’s (1903) “Explanatory Notes” on 17th-century Dutch historical records (i.e. he is commenting on 17th-century names and sometimes comparing them with those of the late 19th century):

[MC: I am not planning to use Campbell as authoritative, but some of his notes are interesting in themselves as well as shedding light on 19th-century foreigners’ interest in place-name etymology. It is a shame that he only gives meanings for the Chinese versions of the names, not the Aboriginal originals from which most derived.

**shows those I consider more interesting (to save readers with limited time working their way through all 24 entries).
[Texts in square brackets are my 21st-century additions.]

Akau: and Akou […] Acouw and Akauw […] was a village in the southern region, and survives to-day in the market-town of Akau, which is about twelve miles ENE. from Pi-thau [Pingtung?], the capital of the Hong-soa [Fengshan] county.

**Asok: This name is preserved in a mountain hamlet of the present-day Chiang-hoa [Changhua] region, but very probably the village referred to here lay much further west; it being a usual thing for villagers who were forced to leave ancestral places of abode on the western seaboard, to cherish the old familiar names, and apply them to their places of retreat in the hill country [MC: also possible that ‘village names’ are really one and the same as the ‘groups’ names’].

Dorko: […] lay between Mattau and Tirosen, and exists to-day in the township of To-lo-koh […]

Favorlang: […] lay north of Tirosen and the Favorlang river must be the present-day Haw-boe-khe of the Chinese.

Golden Lion Island: Its early native name was Tugin or Lamey, but owing to a Dutch captain having been murdered by the inhabitants there, the island came to be known by the name of his ship, the Goude Leeuws, or Golden Lion, island [MC: I bet it didn’t; not by local people at least]. It is situated about twelve miles off the mouth of the Tang-kang [Donggang] river […] The natives themselves speak of the island as Sio Liu-khiu [Mdn. Xiao Liuqiu], or Little Lu-chu, but the chart name of it is Lambay—not Lombay—island.

Kabalan: On the north-east coast of Formosa. The plain there is said to have contained forty-seven villages, and the open anchorage to the east is referred to […] as the Bay of Kabelang. Komolan is another name which was formerly applied to this region, and afterwards the name Kap-tsu-lan came into use. It is now called the Gi-lan (in Japanese Gi-ran) [Mdn. Yilan] district. Steep island [Guishan Dao] lies some ten miles off […] .

Kattia: […] Katya occurs. A southern village is referred to, and a few miles south of Anping there is still a small fishing village known by that name, the inhabitants of which are all Chinese.

**Lakjemuyse: This is no doubt the present-day Lak-e-mng [?鹿耳門; Mdn. Lu-er-men], an open bay into which junks sometimes run for shelter during the north-east monsoon. The syllable ‘muy’ is the Chang-chew [Zhangzhou] way of pronouncing ‘mng’ [cf. Amoy/Xiamen ?]. Lak-e-mng lies a few miles north of Anping, which is the Tayouan of the Dutch occupation.

Longkiau: There can be no difficulty about the identification of this place. It belongs to the Heng-chun region in the extreme south, and is the point at which the Japanese landed for punishing the Baw-tan savages in 1874. […] Loncjou, Lonckjau, Lonkiauw, Lonckjouw, and Lonckquiouw.

Mattau: […] The place still survives in the market-town of Moa-tau [麻豆; Mdn. Madou] north of Tainan and about three miles above the Tsan-bun [Mdn. Zeng Wen] river. […] Matau, Mataw, Mattouw, Mathau, Matthau, Mattauw, and Mandauw.

**Pakan: […] Pak-ande and Pockan. It is said to have been applied to the whole of Formosa, which is extremely doubtful, seeing that the collection of tribes throughout the island differed so much in origin and speech as to render communication or joint action upon anything simply impossible. According to early Chinese accounts, the name Pak-kang (kiang in the so-called mandarin dialect [MC: that would not be for ‘jiang’ (river), or ?], was first given to what is now known as Kelung, this name afterwards coming to mean the whole of Formosa. And this seems a very feasible development, for Pak-kang means Northern Port [北港; Mdn. Beigang] (the only good one in the island), and it is easy to understand how junk-men would come to speak of crossing to Pak-kang when they really intended to call in at other little landing-places. Thus the aboriginal modification of the name, Pak-an, would come into use and gain a certain amount of currency.

Pangsoia: […] this village was situated between Takareiang and Longkiau, and the little town called Pang-soh exists there to-day.

Pehoe: […] seems to be a mere modification of the present Chinese name Phe-aw [Mdn. Penghu; Romanized Pescadores], which means Dashing Lake, referring to the strong tides and frequently stormy condition of the water between Great Island and Fisher Island.

Provintia: After building Castle Zeelandia on the little island or sandbank of Tayouan, the Dutch strengthened their position by the erection of another fort at a place called Sakam, which was on the Formosan mainland about two miles due east from Tayouan.

Sakam: This is the native name of the village which has developed into the present-day city of Tainan. The Chinese called it Chhiah-kham, and after the place enlarged and trade increased, it was surrounded with high brick walls and became the capital of the whole island under the name Tai-wan-fu; but the Japanese have removed the capital to Tai-peh, and Tai-wan-fu is now the district city or town of Tainan. The following early forms of the name are also found: —Chhaccam, Sacam, Saccam, and Zaccam.

**Sinkan: One of the most important stations of the Dutch in Formosa. As in other cases, the records present a confusing variety of forms in spelling the name, such as, Sincan, Sinckan, Cinckan, Xincan, and Zinckan. The village lay about seven miles north of Sakam, and after Koxinga’s time its name took the more Sinicised form of Sin-kang, the two native written symbols for these syllables meaning New-harbour or inlet; but as there is no harbour or inlet in the neighbourhood, the symbols must have been chosen because the sounds they represent convey a definite meaning and come as near as possible to the sounds of the old aboriginal name. […]

Soulang: Soulang still exists as the Chinese market-town of Siau-lang […]

**Tamsuy: For the most part, the name is associated with Kelang, and sometimes also with Kabalan, thus plainly showing that the still much frequented Tamsuy on the north-west end of Formosa is meant. However, [other] references […] point to another Tamsuy in the southern part of the island. And even to-day, the Chinese often refer to this distinction by speaking of the first-mentioned place as Teng (i.e. upper or north) Tamsuy, and the one in the south Hong-soa [Mdn. Feng-shan] county, as E (i.e. lower or south) Tamsuy, while modern maps represent that there is a Tamsuy river both in North and South Formosa.

Tankoia: Lay to the north of Ape’s Hill and a few hours’ sail south from Tayouan. A wide shallow bay existed there during the time of the Dutch occupation, in which small vessels often lay at anchor; but the constant silting up of the land there has much altered the appearance of the coast-line. The place was regarded as being of so much importance that a proposal was made to have it fortified.

Tavakan: […] also written Taffacan, Tavocan, Tavacang, and Davocan. The references show that it must have been situated in the neighbourhood of Sinkan, and its very probably representative to-day is the market-town of Twa-bak-kang, about two miles south-east of Sin-kang.

**Tayouan: The spellings Taoan and Taiwan also occur. Of course it is important to bear in mind that this was the name given to a little islet or long sandbank which lay off the south-west coast of Formosa two hundred and eighty years ago; and that, owing to silting up, the land there became joined onto the mainland of Formosa, and now bears the name of Anping. It was in Tayouan that the Dutch fixed their headquarters when compelled to leave the Pescadores in 1624; and there they erected Castle Zeelandia, their main stronghold and residence of the Governor. On the sandy plain to the north of this Fort, many natives, Chinese, and Dutchmen settled down to carry on trade and supply the wants of the colony, and as their numbers increased, and buildings began to multiply, the settlement came to be known as the city or town of Zeelandia.

Tevorang: The variants of this name are Tefurang, Tefurangh, Tevoran, Tevourang, and Devoran. […] There can be no doubt that Tevorang was about a day’s journey north-east from Sinkan, and that Favorlang [WM is trying to show that Swinhoe is wrong in stating T and F are variants of the same place] lay much further to the north of that village.

**Tirosen: […] also occurs as Tirassen, Tirozen, Tilocen, Tilossen, Tilcen, and Thilocen. The place was north of Mattau and south of Favorlang, and it survives to-day in none other than the well-known city of Kagi [Mdn. Jiayi] in Mid-Formosa. The former Chinese name of that city was Tsu-lo-san (or Variegated-net Hill), which is an exact representation of the way in which any local son of Han would pronounce the aboriginal name Tirosen. The further change took place after a great rebellion in Formosa; for during that rebellion, the Chinese inhabitants of Tsu-lo-san sided with the Imperialist troops, and the news of this so pleased the Emperor that, by Imperial Rescript, he change the name of the city from Tsu-lo-san into Kagi or Established-righteousness.

**Toahimpau: This name has much more of a Chinese than an aboriginal look about it. It is not easy now to identify the place it refers to, which seems to have been about the middle of the Kagi [Mdn. Jiayi] region on its western side. With a very slight modification of the last syllable, Toahimpau might mean in Chinese Great Bear Plain; and as black bears are still found in Formosa, and they would very likely be met with in the thickly wooded western side of the island two hundred and fifty yeas ago, it is possible that Chinese hunters may have originated the name in these circumstances. But again, there are still two villages further north called Toa-hm-paw, or Great Grass Field, because much long coarse grass which is used for house-thatching grows in the neighbourhood; while in the Kagi region itself the market-town of Hm-kang-boe is now a stage on the main road from Tainan city towards the north, and there too the hm grass in question used formerly to grow in abundance. These suggestions about this Chinese-looking name afford a clue to the process often gone through in fixing the place-names in Formosa.

Text copyright Jiyue Publications 2013

Monday, 14 October 2013

Qiugou 邱苟

Qiugou 邱苟

[This entry probably won't make the book, as I don't think there is a place called Qiugou now. But it makes it to the blog version as apparently there was in the 19th century. Charles W. Le Gendre, US Consul at Xiamen from 1867 to 1872, travelled to Kookow, as he called it, as it was a good place to meet "savage" mountain-dwelling Aborigines as opposed to the assimilated plains Aborigines. His book "Notes of Travel in Formosa" has several photos of Kookow Aborigines.]

["Notes of Travel in Formosa"; p 60]

"Kookow [邱苟] is not a town, it is a large residence built of brick and stone where a Hakka named Kookow, flying before the mandarins’ soldiers, settled some years ago. He placed himself in communication with the aborigines, and married the daughter of their chief, receiving with her an immense tract of land, on which he located a number of tenants (some say over 300) who cultivated the ground for him, distilled camphor, and collected coal oil which is found a short distance to the southwest.

"He derived a large income from his traffic, and was like a small king in his solitude, loved, yet feared by all. The mandarins, whose authority he ignored, several times set a price on his head, but by remaining carefully in his settlement, he long escaped their vengeance, as no Chinese dared come and attack him in his dominions.


"At last, in 1871, the mandarins, seeing that they could not accomplish their designs by force or bribes, effected their purpose by means of a stratagem. Pretending that they were very anxious to make peace, and that, so far from entertaining any ill-will towards him, they were, on the contrary, desirous of affording him their protection in order that the enormous trade of which he had the control might be rendered even more profitable and mutually advantageous, they invited him to meet them at Tuick-cham [竹塹; now Hsinchu 新竹市].

"Unfortunately, Kookow, deceived by their plausible assurances, repaired to the place of rendezvous with only a few followers, when the Chinese, with their customary bad faith and contempt for all natural feelings of honor, seized him and beheaded him on the spot."

[So perhaps this post will make the book, as an example of the natural selection of place names. Whereas Mr. Su and Mr. Zeng Wen lived into ripe old age and had "many sons and many grandsons", so today there is still a Su's Bay and Zeng Wen's River; Mr. Qu's head was chopped off and his name was lost to geography if not history.

I've only just started reading around this topic, but it seems Mr. Koo Kow (Qiu Gou) was a native of Miaoli County and is described as an Aboriginal interpreter (a profession that history does not treat kindly), and in 1861 he dug Taiwan’s first oil well (though local people had collected surface oil from that site since at least 1817), 3 meters deep which produced 40kg of oil per day, and which was used as lamp oil.

There is a plaque commemorating this at 出磺坑礦場 (苗栗縣公館鄉36號; Gongguan Township in Miaoli County), which appears to be at an identical location to le Gendre's 19th century map of Kookow.

The plot thickens when we learn that the Qing court set up a state oil company in 1877, perhaps their fight with him was economic not criminal.

Text copyright Jiyue Publications 2013

Friday, 4 May 2012

富貴角 Fuguei Cape, New Taipei City

Fuguei (富貴; lit. "wealthy [and] noble") Cape in Shimen District (石門區) of New Taipei City is a rare example of a place name derived from the Dutch language.

This does not date back to the 17th-century Dutch colony on Taiwan, however, but [according to a signboard near the cape's lighthouse] to the name "Hoek" meaning "cape", noted in his journal by a Dutch missionary during the Yongzheng (雍正; 1722-35) reign period of the Qing Dynasty, and transliterated by the Hoklo Taiwanese 富貴 (hu-kui).

Public opinion behind name change

Although the case for changing the name of Jungong Road (軍功路) in Taipei City to Heping E. Road Sec.4 (和平東路四段) having already been submitted to the city council for review, public opinion is still divided, with a majority wanting the change implemented immediately, but 13 percent objecting to the name changing at all.

In light of this, the city’s Department of Civil Affairs (民政局) said the entire case could not be overturned and would continue public consultations.

The situation is complicated because Jungong Road does not continue directly from Heping E. Road Sec.3, there is part of Wolong Street (臥龍街) as well as the Zhuangjing Tunnel (莊敬隧道) in between, with one suggestion being that these would be changed to become a continuation of Section 3. Following a survey of residents which found 73 percent in support of the changes and 13 percent against, in July 2011 the city council was asked to approve the proposal.

[From an article this week in the Liberty Times (full Chinese-language article here)]

The article doesn’t discuss the motivation behind the name change, but sources cynically suggest to FTTK that it is all about real estate values, with properties located on Heping E. Road—which is associated with the Daan District of Taipei—being worth considerably more than those on Jungong Road, which is in the Muzha area of Wenshan District.

Heping, literally “peace and tranquility” are two of the Confucian “eight virtues” (八德; bade), while Jungong means “military achievements”.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

野柳、萬里 Yeliu Village/Harbor and Wanli Township, New Taipei City

Yeliu (野柳; lit. “wild willows”). Most of the large number of tourists visiting the geopark on the spit of land at Yeliu in Wanli District, New Taipei City, will be unaware that its bizarrely shaped rocks might also be behind the village’s name, which on the surface means “wild willows”.

While some suggest it is
a) a transliteration of an Aboriginal place name,
also hypothesized (for example on New Taipei City website) is
b) the partial transliteration of European seafarers’ description of the site.
Dutch called it Duijvel Hoek and Spanish Punto Diablos, both meaning “Devil’s Cape”. Loss of the D and B from diablos is said by some of having led to 野柳 (Hoklo: la-liu).

[MC: this explanation seems as bizzare as the rocks' shapes and needs further checking]

Wanli (萬里; lit. "myriad neighbourhoods") is located between Jinshan and Keelung, it was sometimes part of Jinshan (Jinbaoli; 金包里) sometimes of Keelung. In 1950 it was transfered from Keelung City administration to become a township in Taipei County (now New Taipei City).

Wanli is a shortened form of 萬里加投 (Hoklo: ban-li-ka-tau), possibly an earlier Aboriginal name or a transliteration of the Spanish name Barien for this area. The NTC source says Wanli Harbor was originally called 瑪鍊 (Hoklo: be-lien; lit. "agate smelt/chain") [This also requires further checking.]

Text and photos copyright Jiyue Publications