Chapter 2

A Scramble for Influence


Salvador Diaz moved stealthily toward the docks. Tonight, he hoped, he would finally escape from Taiwan. For four years he had been a prisoner of the Dutch—since 1622, when they had captured his junk and enslaved him and its other Chinese passengers. He had been luckier than the others, many of whom had died building Dutch fortresses. He could speak Portuguese and write Chinese, so the Dutch had used him as a translator. Gradually, he had gained their trust, becoming a confidant of the Dutch lieutenant governor, who had even revealed to Diaz that he was a closet Catholic, scandalous information in such a Protestant society. But Diaz, too, had secrets. He had been in league with pirates, feeding them information from within the Dutch headquarters: where and when Chinese junks would sail and what they carried. He had even collected protection money from rich Chinese merchants. Even more dangerous, he had carefully recorded notes about the Dutch colony in a little book, which he planned to show to Portuguese officials in Macao. If he made it out alive, that is.


His heartbeat quickened as he reached the small junk he had bought from a Chinese fisherman. He climbed aboard. A crew member untied the mooring rope, and the junk slipped into the bay.


Four days later it reached Macao, where Diaz's arrival caused a stir. The Portuguese were eager for details about their enemy's new colony and made Diaz tell his story many times. They were encouraged by his account. The Dutch had managed to build a fortress, located at a bay called Tayouan, on the southwestern coast of Taiwan, but the bay was shallow and made a poor harbor. More important, the Dutch faced opposition. The natives of the land were fierce "savages" [montesinhos]; Japanese and Chinese merchants were angry about Dutch tolls; and the land was full of pirates. (Diaz did not mention his own involvement with the pirates.) Moreover, the Dutch soldiers were, Diaz said, few, thinly spread, and frightened.1 The Dutch would not have an easy time if they hoped to make their colony as stable and prosperous as Macao.2


Diaz correctly assessed the key challenges facing the Dutch in Taiwan: aborigines, Japanese merchants, and pirates.3 Whereas the next chapter is about the company's relations with aboriginal villages, this one is about pirates and samurai, both of which contested company dominion on Taiwan. Pirates were the easier of the two challenges. To be sure, pirates interfered with trade and had close links to aboriginal villages such as Mattau, whose inhabitants had attacked Captain Ripon in 1623, and one pirate was even bold enough to attack the company's main fortress. But the company also found pirates useful. Indeed, it was through a pirate-turned-official that the company eventually achieved its goal of regular trade with China. As one Dutch governor wrote, if it were not for the pirates, Chinese officials would become arrogant [hoochmoedigh] and refuse to deal with the company.4


The greater threat came from Japanese merchants. As Diaz noted, Japanese had arrived on Taiwan before the Dutch, and they did not follow the company's new trading rules as Dutch officials would have liked. The Dutch knew they had to tread carefully because the company needed to preserve its trade privileges in Japan, source of the silver it used to buy Chinese silk. The two sides got along, albeit tensely, until tactless Dutch officials tried to forbid Japanese trade on Taiwan altogether. Japanese merchants responded by arranging for "ambassadors" from an aboriginal village to have an audience with the shogun of Japan, who might, the merchants hoped, be persuaded to claim Taiwan from the Dutch. The imbroglio that followed nearly cost the company its trading privileges in Japan. Indeed, things got so bad that in the early 1630s some Dutch officials considered abandoning Taiwan altogether, on the grounds that the colony was useless without the Japan trade. Fortunately for the Dutch, the shogun refused to take Taiwan. Indeed, on the contrary, he ended up decreeing that his subjects could no longer go abroad. This stroke of luck gave the Dutch a free hand on Taiwan.


The Bay of Tayouan


Before we meet the pirates and samurai, let us get acquainted with the company's base on Taiwan: the Bay of Tayouan (大員), near today's Tainan City. Although it gave Taiwan its modern name, the bay itself no longer exists. Over the centuries it has been filled in by silt from the rivers of the western plains. Today the remains of the Dutch fortress are far from the ocean.5 Fortunately our fugitive, Salvador Diaz, told Portuguese officials all about it, and his detailed description allows us to imagine the bay as it existed under early Dutch rule.


Diaz describes the bay as "a large cove penetrating inland more than two leagues from west to east." Its waters were shallow and filled with sandbars, making navigation difficult, especially for deep-drawing European ships. The seaward arm of the bay was a long, narrow peninsula, which stretched northward and then made an abrupt turn, pointing landward like a crooked finger. At the crook crouched a few low hills, and it was here that Chinese laborers built the Dutch fortress. Fort Zeelandia had "four square bulwarks which command [descobrem] the sea beyond as well as the bay and its entrance." The fortress, made of brick, was surrounded by stone-reinforced earthworks. Beneath it, at the entrance of the bay, was a village "of Chinese fishers, pirates [ladroes], and traders . . . in front of which the ships of the Chinese dock, bringing textiles, food, fish, and other things to sell."6


Between the fortress and the Chinese village stood a warehouse and lodge, surrounded by a bamboo stockade. Diaz himself had lived in the lodge, along with the Dutch governor and his aides. The warehouse was the focus of Dutch commercial operations, where silk, pepper, and other goods were weighed and stored. Before it lay a dock for Dutch ships to load and unload. Farther along the beach was a Japanese camp [bangasal] of little thatch houses before which swayed junks from Japan and China. The Japanese came to trade as they had done for years, but now the Dutch "want to make the Japanese and Chinese pay [a toll of 10 percent], which they do not want to do."7


Across the bay, on the mainland of Taiwan, the Dutch flag flew over another fort. "Here the Hollanders have a farm with cows and horses, which they brought from Japan, as well as goats and sheep. Next to this fort is a small settlement of Chinese pirates [ladroes] and fishermen."8 The coast beyond this settlement was "all wild, and one cannot disembark, except with small ships, since it is all too shallow." In the lush plains lived "an infinity of deer, which the Hollanders hunt on foot and on horse."9 Farther inland were thousands of "savages" [montesinhos] who lived in villages with no kings, "the most powerful one in each place making himself chief. They come to sell a few things and the Hollanders and Chinese give them cangans [colorful Indian textiles] in return."10


To the relief of Portuguese officials, Diaz noted that the Dutch soldiers were "short, miserable, and very dirty." He said that there were only 320 of them and that they were "spread thin among the settlements and ships."11 They had to guard against many dangers, such as the Chinese pirates who increasingly infested the seas of coastal China and who used Taiwan itself as a base. Yet the pirates offered opportunities as well as troubles, and they were not as chaotic as the storybook pirates of our imagination. Indeed, they were often quite well organized.




When the Dutch arrived, the pirates of Taiwan appear to have been led by an enigmatic figure named Yan Siqi (顏思齊). According to an important (but dubious) source known as the Taiwan wai ji (臺灣外記), Yan had lived for a time as a tailor in Japan before coming to the realization that "life is as fleeting as the morning dew" and deciding to devote himself to piracy.12 The story told in this source reads like a martial-arts novel. Yan gathers a trusty band, whose members include Deep Mountain Monkey, skilled with guns and powder, and Iron Zhanghong, a forthright strongman. The men take an oath before heaven ("though we were born on different days, let us die on the same day"), accept Yan Siqi as leader of the alliance (盟主), and eventually establish a base on Taiwan from which to rove the seas. The story has elements of fancy, and some scholars have even suggested that Yan Siqi did not exist. Yet the name Yan Siqi (or his courtesy name Yan Zhenquan) does appear in other, more reliable Chinese sources, albeit without the picaresque details.13 Yan Siqi existed but remains mysterious.


We have more information about another pirate: Li Dan (李旦), whom Westerners called Captain China.14 Born near the city of Quanzhou in Fujian Province, Li Dan rose to prominence as an overseas trader, becoming "governor of the Chinas at Manila."15 After legal trouble with the Spanish, he went to Japan, where he became the "chosen captain cheefe commander of all the Chinas in Japon" and got rich trading with Southeast Asia and Taiwan.16 Elie Ripon met him in 1623 and witnessed the arrival in Taiwan of one of his junks, "loaded with all sorts of merchandise to trade with the Formosans, as he was accustomed to do, both deerskins and venison, which he took to Japan."17 Having chosen to live in Japan, Li Dan had, in Ripon's words, "alienated himself from his government" [s'était écarté de son gouvernement].18 But living with the enemy and smuggling were not his only crimes. Chinese texts refer to him as the "pirate Li Dan," and some scholars in Taiwan believe that he was an associate of Yan Siqi's, although the evidence is inconclusive.19 According to Ripon, Li Dan "conducted piracy wherever he could . . . taking everything he could capture," activities he carried out with his "more than fifty Chinese-style ships."20 Dutch sources show that Li Dan asked the company to sell him a few junks so that he could "rob the Chinese . . . in the name of the Dutch nation."21


Indeed, Li Dan worked with the Dutch East India Company. While Elie Ripon was fighting aborigines in Taiwan, the main Dutch force was stationed in the Penghu Islands in the middle of the Taiwan Strait. The Dutch hoped to establish their trading post there rather than in Taiwan, but Chinese officials had other ideas. They felt that Penghu, unlike Taiwan, was part of China, so in 1623 the governor of Fujian Province, Nan Juyi (南居益), sent Chinese troops to Penghu to attack the Dutch. The Dutch promptly recalled Ripon and his fellows from Taiwan, because "it is better to fortify one fortress well than to guard two poorly."22 Then both sides—Chinese and Dutch—asked Li Dan to act as an intermediary. Thanks to his negotiations, the Dutch agreed to withdraw from Penghu and move to Taiwan.23 Li Dan's mediation earned him a rapprochement with Chinese officials and an amnesty, but his cooperation with the Dutch was short-lived. In 1625, company officials learned that he had kept gifts they had entrusted him with giving to Chinese officials.24 They also learned that his men had tried pillaging junks coming to trade in Taiwan.25 Li Dan died in 1625, as did the mysterious Yan Siqi, but the company's pirate troubles were just beginning.


In his report to the Portuguese, Salvador Diaz said that there were two Chinese settlements on Taiwan, each of which was filled with pirates [ladroes]. He did not go into further detail, but he could have, because he was in cahoots with them. Shortly after his escape, the Dutch discovered that Diaz had been the pirates' informant, giving them inside information, such as where junks leaving Tayouan might best be captured. He also collected protection money. A Chinese merchant named Xu Xinsu (許心素), who was the company's most important link to the silk markets of southern China, complained to Dutch officials that he had paid 2,000 taels to Diaz to "protect" his junks against attack.26 Such protection money, known as "water taxes" (報水), had deep roots in the Taiwan Straits.27 Indeed, around the same time that Diaz's protection racket was discovered, the Dutch discovered that Li Dan's son, Li Guozhu (李國助), was also selling protection.28 His customers were Chinese fishermen. For 10 percent of their catch they could buy a signed document guaranteeing their safety from pirates.29 The discovery prompted the company itself to enter the protection business. They dispatched three war junks to patrol near a newly arrived fishing fleet of 120 junks. The company's fee was the same as the pirates': 10 percent of the catch.30 It was one of the first taxes the company levied in its new colony.


The discovery of these undercover pirates convinced company officials to keep closer tabs on Chinese in Taiwan. In July 1626, the Council of Formosa, the ruling body of Taiwan, passed a new law: "In order to distinguish the pirates from the traders and workers, we have resolved . . . that all Chinese who live or trade inland among the natives must appear here . . . and obtain a license [een acte van lisentie] permitting them to reside in the land. They shall not be charged for this license."31 This is the first mention in Dutch sources of an institution that would become a key feature of Dutch rule: the residence permit, which became known as the head tax (hoofdgeld). Later the company would begin charging for this permit, which eventually became an important source of income, but in the early years of Dutch rule the residency permit was intended merely to distinguish pirates from non-pirates. Knowing who was a pirate was not easy, because the pirates of Taiwan were linked to larger pirate-merchant networks.


The most important of these networks was led by Zheng Zhilong (鄭芝龍), a key figure in the history of Taiwan.32 Born in Nan'an (between Xiamen and Quanzhou) in 1604, he was by all accounts a handsome and talented lad, who, possibly after a fight with his father, left home to seek his fortune in Macao.33 While in Macao he converted to Christianity, receiving the baptismal name Nicholas Gaspard. After stays in Manila (where he appears to have had trouble with the law) and Nagasaki, he went to Taiwan and joined Yan Siqi's gang.34 He also, and probably concurrently, served as translator for the Dutch East India Company under his Christian name Nicholas Gaspard.35 He probably met Salvador Diaz, and I like to imagine them plotting together in low voices. If, as seems likely, Zhilong worked for the pirates from within the Dutch administration, the Dutch did not find out about it.36 In any case, he soon had bigger opportunities.


After Yan Siqi and Li Dan died in 1625, Zheng sought to become the new pirate chief. Some East Asian sources indicate that the other pirate chiefs elected him as leader thanks to divine intervention, but in fact he won out only after a struggle.37 He had developed close ties to Li Dan, becoming one of his trading agents in Southeast Asia. According to one account, Zheng had just arrived in Cambodia with two of Li Dan's richly laden junks when news arrived that his mentor had died, and he lost no time in declaring himself sole owner of the junks' cargo.38 Whether or not the story is true, there is no doubt that after Li Dan's death Zheng vied with Li Dan's son for control over Li Dan's trading empire.


Zheng's ties with the Dutch helped him, for the Dutch allowed him to pillage under their flag.39 In early 1626, for example, he sailed into the Bay of Tayouan aboard a large junk with a leaking hull and a broken mast. He told Dutch officials that he had come from the north, where he had been patrolling with forty or so companion junks. "From his junk," the governor of Taiwan reported, "the company received for its half, as we had agreed with him, about 960 reals."40 On another occasion the same year, Zheng delivered to the company nine captured junks and their cargos, whose total value was more than 20,000 taels.41


Dutch patronage was only one factor in Zheng's success. He was also a charismatic leader. He cultivated the image of the "noble robber," a seaborne Robin Hood who robbed the rich to feed the poor (jie fu ji pin 劫富濟貧), and stories of his generosity abound.42 He appears to have been careful to avoid violence against the common people, preventing his followers from pillaging those who cooperated, especially near his homeland in Nan'an.43 The image went over well, and thousands of men joined his fleets.44 Others joined because drought and famine left them few alternatives.45


Chinese officials began to worry about his growing power. In a report to the Board of War in Beijing, the Governor-General of Guangdong and Guanxi Provinces wrote that the pirate was "unusually cunning, and practiced in sea warfare. . . . His ships are built like those of foreign barbarians [製自外番], tall and sturdy. . . . His cannons are very effective, shooting from a distance of ten li and smashing their targets. . . . Our ships, on the other hand, although numerous, are scattered along the coastline. They are always on guard but always too few."46 Fujianese officials actually asked the Dutch for help against Zheng, using trading rights as an incentive. Company officials were told that if they refused their help, their main Chinese trading partner, Xu Xinsu, would no longer be permitted to trade with the company but would instead "be destroyed along with his entire family."47 The company agreed to help, and a month later the Dutch lieutenant governor went in person to China to inform officials in Fujian that "the company will undertake to drive (either by force or friendship) the pirate [Zheng Zhilong] and his men from the coast . . . without any help from the Chinese in men or ships (aside from five junks that will be manned by Netherlanders)." In exchange the Dutch expected that "the officials [de grooten] of China will grant to the company permanent free public trade."48 Chinese authorities agreed to the deal, but the Dutch did not act quickly enough. Zheng attacked the city of Xiamen, destroying hundreds of junks and setting fire to buildings and houses.49 The Ming court decided that Zheng was too powerful to subdue with military force. It resolved to woo him with a "summon and appease" policy (zhao fu 招撫).


So, early in 1628, the emperor of China offered Zheng an official title, an imperial rank, and an opportunity to prove his loyalty. Zheng was named "Patrolling Admiral" (you ji jiang jun 遊擊將軍) and ordered to clear the coast of pirates. The assignment suited him. He now had a legitimate excuse to destroy his competitors, and his title made it easy to gather supplies for his growing fleets. He established himself in the port of Yuegang (月港, also known as Haicheng 海澄) and worked to expand his trading networks.50 The Dutch, too, found opportunities in Zheng's official status. In October of 1628, the governor of Taiwan took advantage of Zheng's visit aboard a Dutch ship and forced him to sign a three-year trade accord: Zheng would supply silks, sugar, ginger, and other goods in exchange for silver and spices at fixed rates.51


Yet although Zheng had turned legal, his underlings had not. They still wanted booty, so a series of new pirate leaders emerged. First came Li Kuiqi (李魁奇), one of Zheng's former subcommanders, whom Zheng put down with help from the Dutch.52 Then came Zhong Bin (鍾斌), one of Li Kuiqi's subcommanders, who became so powerful that Chinese officials decided to give him Zheng's official position. Zheng attacked and defeated him anyway.


Then, however, the Dutch themselves got angry at Zheng. They grew convinced that he was trying to monopolize trade to Taiwan, feeling that his promises always "disappeared into smoke".53 In the summer of 1633, a Dutch fleet, in alliance with a pirate named Liu Xiang (劉香), carried out a devastating sneak attack.54 Zheng was under the impression that he and the Dutch were on good terms and was caught off guard. He had been building a special new fleet, inspired by European ships.55 ("It is said," wrote the Dutch governor, "That such an armada of beautiful, big, well-armed junks . . . has never been seen before in China.")56 The surprise attack destroyed the fleet before it set sail.


But Zheng was persistent. He immediately began preparing a new fleet. When it was finished he led it to victory against a Dutch armada, forcing the company to come to terms with him. Fortunately for the Dutch, he was conciliatory in peace negotiations. He arranged for three Chinese traders to receive licenses to trade in Taiwan. Thereafter, four or five large junks and eight or so smaller junks arrived in Taiwan each year laden with silks and other Chinese products for the Dutch. The governor of Taiwan believed that the favorable terms could be attributed to Zheng's and other officials' fear of piracy, without which China would become "arrogant" and less willing to deal with the company.57


Thus, by 1634, the Dutch had reached a modus vivendi with Zheng Zhilong, who knew that the Dutch must be kept appeased with trade goods or they would make trouble again. The pirate wars were not yet over. The pirate Liu Xiang still fought against Zheng. He tried to get the Dutch to ally with him, and when they demurred he asked them at least to allow his fleet to rest in Taiwan. The Dutch refused. In response, Liu Xiang captured a Dutch junk and distributed its thirty-man crew throughout his fleet as human shields. Not long thereafter, Liu Xiang sent a force to attack Fort Zeelandia. Some Chinese residents of Taiwan warned the company, which therefore had no trouble repelling the assault.


By 1637, Zheng had defeated Liu Xiang and other rivals and was solidified in his position as master of the Fujianese trading world. His ships sailed freely throughout East and Southeast Asia, from Japan to Melaka.58 Private traders paid to fly his flag for prestige and protection. He built an opulent castle, connected by a canal directly to the sea, and he continued to have a hand in trade to Taiwan. Few junks dared call there without his consent, for which they usually had to pay. For the most part he and the company maintained cordial relations, but there is little doubt that he kept a secret hand in affairs in Taiwan. There is evidence that he even abetted the growth of the Chinese colony there. On one occasion he and a Chinese official made a plan to relocate victims of a severe drought to Taiwan, providing "for each person three taels of silver and for each three people one ox."59 The plan was never carried out, but he maintained an interest in Taiwan. His son would inherit this interest, with devastating consequences for the Dutch. But that was in the future. For now the Dutch were more preoccupied with other rivals, such as samurai.




Japanese traders had for decades been using the Bay of Tayouan as a waystation to buy Chinese silk when the Dutch arrived in 1624.60 Yet Japanese interest in Taiwan went beyond peaceful commerce.61 In 1593, the great unifier, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, planned to incorporate Taiwan into his empire and even sent an envoy with a letter demanding tribute.62 Since there was no authority to which to deliver the letter, it never arrived.63 In 1616, Japanese merchant-adventurer Murayama Toan (村山東庵) sent thirteen vessels to conquer the island.64 Headhunters ambushed one junk in a creek, after which the expedition turned instead to pillaging the Chinese coast.65 Seven years later, after the Dutch had arrived at the Bay of Tayouan, influential Japanese merchants still harbored dreams of annexing Taiwan. Moreover, Japanese junks carried powerful soldiers.66 This combination of ambition and military might made the Japanese an important threat to Dutch control, especially given that aboriginal groups were eager to find allies.


Company officials knew that Japanese merchants had cheap silver and could undercut the company's trade. In 1625 Batavia ordered the governor of Taiwan to prevent the Japanese from trading.67 This, however, was a foolhardy policy. The company's position in East Asia depended upon Japan.68 The company's office in Hirado, established in 1609, was one of its most profitable, yet it was constantly menaced because of Portuguese and Spanish influence in the shogun's court. If the company tried to restrict Japanese commerce in Taiwan it risked angering Japanese traders. The most important of these traders was the regent of Nagasaki, Suetsugu Heizo Masanao, a powerful man with close connections to ruling circles in the shogun's court.69 Suetsugu had for several years been sending junks to Tayouan to trade silver for silk and saw no reason to put up with the pretensions of the new arrivals.


Fortunately for the Dutch, officials in Taiwan did not receive Batavia's foolish orders right away. So when two Japanese junks arrived in the Bay of Tayouan and prepared to trade their rich silver cargos for silk and deerskins, officials in Tayouan resolved not to prohibit their trade altogether but rather "to make [them] pay a duty of ten percent on all products exported [from the island]."70 The Japanese nonetheless protested, "saying that they had come with the emperor's license, that the lords of Nagasaki were their masters, that with the emperor's pass they were allowed to trade anywhere in the Indies without paying tolls, and that . . . their lords would be very displeased."71 While the Dutch and Japanese were negotiating, the letter from Batavia arrived, and the Japanese traders were informed that they would not be allowed to trade at all, information which provoked still more protests. Yet even when forbidden to trade, the presence of Japanese traders hurt the company: Chinese silk merchants refused to sell their wares to the company, convinced that the Japanese would pay more.72


The Japanese insisted that the shogun would be upset, for they carried his red seal. Company officials in Taiwan wisely decided to moderate their policy. They decided that the Japanese would be allowed to trade the silver they had brought this year without tolls but that henceforth "they would not be allowed to trade [in Formosa] with any silver [contanten], but could only sell, directly to the company, goods or provisions it might find useful."73 The Japanese were not pleased with the idea of future restrictions, but they began trading their current cargo with gusto, with dramatic consequences to the company. The Japanese traders, complained company officials, "havecaused the price of silk to go up so quickly that the Chinese sold no silk [to us] for three weeks. . . . If this were to happen every year, the company would be greatly damaged . . . and [the Japanese] would dominate the trade."74 After having spent 70,000 taels on silks and deerhides, the Japanese left, but they said that if they had realized the extent of trade possibilities in Taiwan "they would have sent much more silver this year."75


Japanese traders returned the following year, this time with a huge cargo of 300,000 taels of silver. Again, they asked that the Dutch allow them to trade freely. Company officials stood by their decision to forbid Japanese trade, saying that unless further orders arrived from Batavia the Japanese would not be allowed to trade in Taiwan or even send their capital to China.76 The Japanese visited company officials daily, "with a semblance of great friendship . . . as if there were no disagreement in the world."77 No new orders arrived from Batavia, and the Japanese began getting impatient. They asked to send a small convoy to the Chinese coast. The Council of Formosa refused, saying that Chinese officials would be gravely displeased if the company allowed the Japanese, "who are their enemies," to cross the Taiwan Straits.78 Eventually Dutch officials said that they would allow the Japanese to cross the straits, but under two conditions. First, the company would write a letter to Chinese officials to inform them of the Japanese junks and absolve himself of responsibility.79 And second, the Japanese would be allowed to use only three small junks rather than heavily-armed war or "convoy" junks. The Japanese knew that sending silver across the pirate-infested seas without a convoy was foolhardy, so they asked permission to rent one or two armed junks belonging to Chinese merchant Xu Xinsu (these would attract less attention than armed Japanese junks). The company refused, on the grounds that Chinese officials might find out and revoke Xu Xinsu's permission to trade on Taiwan. The Japanese found little contentment in this, and decided to wait for orders to arrive from Batavia, but no orders came.


Under increasing Japanese pressure the Council of Formosa resolved to allow the Japanese to cross the strait and trade their silver on the coast of China, provided that they use no Japanese war junks.80 To protect themselves from pirates they might instead "man their junks with many Chinese and weapons as Xu Xinsu does, since they should in any case be satisfied to trade in the same way as the company, sending no war junks." The company even provided them with an old junk to fit out as they wished, and they "appeared to be fairly content with the arrangement."81 But by then the monsoon winds had changed and the Japanese were forced to winter in Tayouan. They were getting angry.


Officials in Batavia had warned Taiwan: "You should by no means trust the Japanese. If they were powerful enough and saw an opportunity, they would have no compunction about making themselves masters of the fort and the land, not just in order to get free trade, but also in order to lay claim to the island itself."82 These words proved prescient. As winter turned to spring, the Japanese grew bolder. With a hint of defiance, they requested that the company use its own junks to convoy their goods from China to Taiwan, since they would otherwise, "due to the multitude of the pirates," run a great risk.83 Company officials refused. Indeed, they said, the Japanese themselves would not be allowed to go to China. The Japanese response was audacious. Many of them had trading relationships with a nearby aboriginal village named Sinkan. They secretly took on board sixteen inhabitants of the village and left for Japan. Shocked members of the Dutch Council of Formosa mused, "We presume that the Japanese may undertake something that might cause great problems and prejudice for the company in Japan."84


This was an understatement. The Sinkan expedition to Japan sparked a series of events that nearly ended the company's rule over Taiwan and, indeed, the company's East Asian operations in general. It is not clear whether the action had been planned beforehand or whether it was an ad hoc measure worked out by the junks' captain and the Sinkanders themselves.85 In any case, the Sinkanders arrived at the headquarters of the rich Japanese merchant Suetsugu Heizo Masanao in Nagasaki. Suetsugu was furious about Dutch attempts to hinder his trade in Taiwan. Not long after the Sinkanders had arrived in Nagasaki, Suetsugu presented a remonstrance in their name to the governor (bugyo 奉行) of Nagasaki, charging that the Dutch had tried in all ways to hinder the Japanese trade on Taiwan: Not only had the Dutch aided Chinese pirates and themselves engaged in piracy, but they had also forbidden Chinese merchants to trade with Japanese on Taiwan and had confiscated silk belonging to the Japanese and sold it in Hirado.86 Suetsugu lodged the Sinkanders in his house and gave them clothing and gifts of deerskins. He was preparing to present them at the shogun's court as ambassadors of Formosa. Through translators they would complain about Dutch rule and ask the shogun to take Taiwan under his protection.87


Officials in Batavia were, in the meantime, worried about relations with Japan. They did not know about the Sinkanders, but they knew that Japanese merchants were complaining about trade restrictions. To smooth things over with the shogun, they decided to send a special embassy to Japan. A man named Pieter Nuyts was to lead it, after which he would take over duties as governor of Formosa. His mission was to persuade the shogun that the Dutch had not been mistreating Japanese traders or otherwise hindering their activities. Most importantly, he was to ask the shogun to forbid Japanese junks to sail to Taiwan or, failing that, to ask him at least to refrain for a few years from issuing red seal passes to Taiwan. But when Nuyts arrived in Japan and learned about the Sinkanders, he was furious. He wrote a letter to Taiwan, excoriating officials there for failing to inspect the Japanese junks before their departure from Tayouan.88 Due to Suetsugu's machinations, the shogun declined to receive Nuyts's embassy. To make matters worse, the shogun had decided to grant an audience to the Sinkanders. Fortunately for the Dutch, he declined to accept Formosa for Japan, but he did give the Sinkanders gifts, telling Suetsugu to see to it that the ambassadors were returned safely to Formosa.


Nuyts arrived in Taiwan before the Sinkanders. When they arrived aboard two Japanese junks, Nuyts refused to allow them or anyone aboard the junks to land or even to take in provisions.89 He justified these measures on the grounds that the Japanese were planning to attack the Dutch. Indeed, when company soldiers inspected the junks, they found them highly armed: They carried 470 men and only 40,000 taels of silver. This did not appear to be merely a trading mission. Nuyts ordered the junks to be disarmed. Then he clapped the Sinkanders into irons and confiscated the gifts they had received from the shogun. The Japanese asked to return to Japan, but Nuyts refused to allow them to leave until he had helped them exchange their silver for silk in China. He hoped that if the junks returned to Japan laden with silks the company would avoid complaints in Japan.90


But the Japanese were suspicious. They began to hatch a plot. The Japanese captain, along with fifteen companions, called on governor Nuyts in his house. They found him at home with his son. They said they had come to say goodbye. The governor replied that goodbyes were premature because the Japanese were not allowed to leave yet. The Japanese captain said he intended to leave anyway. Nuyts insisted that he would not. At this, the Japanese "leapt up, seized the governor by his head, and tied him up in the Japanese manner."91 Then they chased the governor's guards out of the house and secured it. In the meantime, other Japanese soldiers had surrounded the house and begun fighting with company soldiers. Gunners in Fort Zeelandia fired their cannons, hitting a Japanese boat, but Nuyts ordered the Dutch military commander to cease firing.


By the time the smoke cleared, 150 Japanese had barricaded themselves in the governor's house. After three days of parleys, the Council of Formosa acceded to five demands, in exchange for which the Japanese would release Nuyts. First, both sides would have five hostages (among the Dutch hostages would be Nuyts's son). Second, the eleven Sinkanders who remained in captivity would be released. Third, the Sinkanders would have their gifts restored to them. Fourth, the Dutch would give the Japanese 200 picols of raw silk which, according to the Japanese, the Dutch had prevented them from collecting in China and which had therefore been stolen by Chinese pirate Zheng Zhilong. Fifth and finally, the rudders would be removed from the Dutch ships in Tayouan to prevent them from chasing the Japanese.92 After the Dutch commander accepted the demands, Nuyts went free.


As company officials began gathering the 200 picols of silk and removing the rudders from their ships, a group of Japanese escorted the Sinkanders back to their village. The party arrived in Sinkan in triumph and "celebrated and made merry, praising and glorifying the Japanese as those who treated them magnificently and generously, both in Japan and during their journey, having received from them many gifts, money, and goods. In contrast, they denigrated the Hollanders, painting them in ugly colors, as those who treated them badly and impolitely . . . and took away . . . that which the Japanese had given."93 Shortly thereafter, the Japanese sailed for Nagasaki.


A Dutch ship was dispatched shortly thereafter to try to repair relations with Japan, but upon arrival there it was seized its crew was imprisoned. In fact, all Dutch ships in Japan were detained. Suetsugu had complained to the shogun, who had frozen company activities in Japan. Suetsugu's aims were clear: He ordered his Dutch prisoners to write to Batavia and demand that the company abandon its post on Taiwan. The Council of the Indies in Batavia responded by sending another special envoy to Japan. The envoy went in vain, obtaining only a letter from Suetsugu demanding that Fort Zeelandia be abandoned.


The loss of the Japan trade was a serious blow to the company. As the Governor-General of Batavia (the highest Dutch official in Asia) wrote, "the pantry is closed."94 Officials reflected seriously on their options. On the one hand, they felt that the company had a legal right to collect tolls from the Japanese who traded in Taiwan.95 On the other hand, without trading privileges in Japan, the Dutch colony in Taiwan was not worth the cost of upkeep.96 The governor of Formosa and his council members wrote to Batavia, urging the Council of the Indies to retain the Taiwan factory. They argued that if Taiwan were abandoned, the Portuguese and Spanish would take over.97 After some discussion, Batavia decided not to dismantle the colony, but it did decrease the funds going to Tayouan  telling officials there to cut costs and cease building projects until the Japan trade could be restored.98


But in June 1630, the Dutch had a stroke of luck. Suetsugu died. His son, Suetsugu Heizo Masafusa, was better disposed toward them.99 Whereas his father had kept company officials from appearing in the shogun's court, the son allowed the Dutch to reestablish dialog with the shogun. How would the Dutch make their case? Perhaps a scapegoat would do the trick. Pieter Nuyts soon found himself on a second voyage to Japan, but this time he wore no ambassador's finery. He was far more effective as a prisoner than as a leader. The shogun ordered the Dutch prisoners to be freed (many had died, including Nuyts's son), and the Dutch were once again allowed to trade in Japan. Nuyts remained imprisoned in Japan until 1636, after which he returned to the Netherlands.


The company's lucky streak continued. In 1635, the shogun forbade Japanese to go abroad and required that all Japanese who were currently abroad return to Japan or lose their citizenship. At once, the Japanese threat to Taiwan was lifted. Not only had the company weathered a severe threat to its sovereignty on Taiwan, but henceforth they would face no competition from Japanese traders. (The removal of Japanese competition did not just affect Taiwan. It also allowed the Dutch to expand into other Japanese markets in Southeast Asia.) In 1639, the shogun ended all contact with the Portuguese. Once again, the decision was of tremendous help to the Dutch. The Portuguese, the company's major competitor in the silk-for-silver trade, were no longer a threat in Japan. Taiwan was set to become a flourishing colony. Batavia opened its purses again, allowing—even encouraging—investments in the colony. But the colony would not be able to prosper until the company established authority over its aboriginal neighbors, especially the powerful and recalcitrant village of Mattau.



Note 1: This was Diaz's report, but morale was probably not as bad as he made it out to be. According to Dutch records, in 1626 there were 404 soldiers and 46 bosschieters (artillery specialists). Gerrit de Witt to Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, esp. 178. back

Note 2: Diaz's story is told in Dutch and Portuguese documents, of which the most important is his "Relaçaõ da fortalesa poder e trato com os Chinas, que os Olandeses tem na Ilha Fermosa dada por Salvador Diaz, natural de Macao, que la esteve cativo e fugio em hua soma em Abril do Anno de 1626," Biblioteca Nacional de España, MSS 3015, esp. 55–62v, esp. 56. This marvelous document has been transcribed, translated, and published by José Eugenio Borao Mateo in The Spaniards in Taiwan: Documents, 2 vols. (Taipei: SMC, 2001–2), 1:62–69. Relevant Dutch documents include a resolution of the Council of Formosa from 15 August 1624 (VOC 1083: 75) and a letter from Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier (15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 204v). back

Note 3: To be sure, the Spanish, who in 1626 erected a fortress on northern Taiwan, were also a major rival, as I will discuss in chapter 4, below. Yet in the period under discussion here, Spaniards presented no real threat to the company in southwestern Taiwan. back

Note 4: Governor Hans Putmans to Amsterdam, letter, 28 October 1634, VOC 1114: 1–14, esp. 6. back

Note 5: See Chen Wen-juinn and Kuo Ching-Ton, "Shoreline Changes of Tainan Coast in Taiwan," paper presented at the Fifth International Conference on Hydro-Science and -Engineering, Warsaw, 18–21 September 2003. back

Note 6: Diaz, Relaçao, 56. back

Note 7: Ibid., 57. back

Note 8: Ibid., 56v. back

Note 9: Ibid., 58. back

Note 10: Ibid., 58–58v. back

Note 11: According to Dutch records, in 1626 there were 404 soldiers and 46 bosschieters (artillery specialists). Gerrit de Witt to Pieter de Carpentier, 4 March 1626, letter, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 178. back

Note 12: Jiang Risheng 江日昇, Taiwan wai ji 臺灣外記, Taiwan wenxian congkang, no. 60 (1960): 4–6. back

Note 13: Yan Siqi's courtesy name was Yan Zhenquan (顏振泉). (His name was probably also sometimes misread as 顏樞泉 because of the vagaries of Chinese calligraphy.) Although he does not seem to appear in the Official Ming History (Mingshi), he does show up in several other early sources, such as Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲, Ci xing shi mo 賜姓始末, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 25 (1958): 9; Peng Sunyi 彭孫貽, Jing hai zhi 靖海志, Taiwan wenxian congkang, no. 35 (1959): 1; Liu Xianting 劉獻廷, Guang yang za ji xuan 廣陽雜記選, Taiwan wenxiancongkan, no. 219 (1965): 79 (in the appendix "Fei huang shi mo" 飛黃始末); Hong Ruogao 洪若皋, Hai Kou Ji 海寇記, found as an appendix (pp. 43-47) in Xu Xu 許旭, Min zhong ji lüe 閩中紀略, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 260 (1958), see esp. p. 44.; it is interesting to note that this source indicates that Yan liked Zheng because he was handsome). These works are usually in close agreement in the few facts they offer: Yan Siqi was a pirate who was based in Taiwan sometime in the late Wanli reign (1573–1620) or early Tianqi reign (1621–27); and he was joined there by Zheng Zhilong, who succeeded him after his death. A later but equally useful account is found in the work of Kawaguchi Choju 川口長孺; see especially his Taiwan Zheng shi ji shi 臺灣鄭氏紀事, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 5 (1958): 3–4. back

Note 14: In Chinese sources, Li Dan sometimes appears as Li Xu (李旭). He is the same "China Captain" who caused Richard Cocks—chief factor of the English East India Company in Japan in the early seventeenth century—and the English so much consternation in Japan. The best edition of Cocks's diary is Diary Kept by the Head of the English Factory in Japan: Diary of Richard Cocks, 1615–1622, ed. University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute, Nihon Kankei Kaigai Shiryo: Historical Documents in Foreign Languages Relating to Japan (Tokyo: University of Tokyo, 1980). See also Iwao Seiichi's classic article about Li Dan, "Li Tan, Chief of the Chinese Residents at Hirado, Japan, in the Last Days of the Ming Dynasty," Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 17 (1958): 27–83. back

Note 15: These are the words of Richard Cocks, cited in L. Carrington Goodrich and Chaoying Fang, eds., Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), s.v. "Li Tan," 871. We do not know Li Dan's actual position in Manila. back

Note 16: Richard Cocks, cited in Goodrich and Fang, Dictionary of Ming Biography (1976), s.v. "Li Tan,"872. back

Note 17: Élie Ripon, Voyages et aventures du capitaine Ripon aux grandes Indes: journal inédit d'un mercenaire, 1617–1627, ed.Yves Giraud (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute-Savoie: Éditions de l'Albaron, 1990), 113. back

Note 18: Iwao, "Li Tan, Chief of the Chinese Residents at Hirado, Japan." Some of Iwao's conclusions are called into question by Ang Kaim in his "Shiqi shiji de fulao haishang" 十七世紀的福佬海商, in Zhongguo haiyang fazhan shi lunwen ji di qi ji 中國海洋發展史文論集第七輯, ed. Tang Xiyong 湯熙勇 (Taipei: Academia Sinica, 1999). back

Note 19: The biography of Nan Juyi (南居益), military governor of Fujian, in the Mingshi suggests that Li Dan was ordered by the Chinese to negotiate with the Dutch, an office he made the most of for his own enrichment. See Iwao, "Li Tan, Chief of the Chinese Residents at Hirado, Japan," 61–62. The relationship between Yan Siqi and Li Dan is the subject of considerable interest. Some scholars have held that Yan Siqi and Li Dan were the same person. See C. R. Boxer, "The Rise and Fall of Nicholas Iquan," T'ien Hsia Monthly 11, no. 5 (1941): 401–39, esp. 412–14; see also W. G. Goddard, Formosa: A Study in Chinese History (Melbourne: Macmillan, 1966), 40–48. This is almost certainly not the case. Ang Kaim believes that Yan Siqi and Li Dan were close associates. Arguing that Yan Siqi is the man who in Western texts is called Pedro China on the basis of their having died at the same time, he examines a letter from Li Dan to Pedro China that was intercepted by the company and that shows close collusion between the two. See Ang, "Shiqi shiji de fulao haishang," 74–75. Although the evidence Ang uses is inconclusive, his is a compelling hypothesis, which is accepted by others, for example Tang Jintai 湯錦台, Kaiqi Taiwan di yi ren Zheng Zhilong 開啟臺灣第一人鄭芝龍 (Taipei: Guoshi 果實 Press, 2002), 120–21. back

Note 20: Ripon, Aventures, 113. back

Note 21: Reijersen's Journal, cited in Iwao, "Li Tan, Chief of the Chinese Residents at Hirado, Japan," 51–52. back

Note 22: Ripon, Aventures, 114. back

Note 23: Journael van Adam Verhult vande Voyagie naer Tayouan, March–April, 1623, VOC 1081: 65–67. See also see Nagazumi Yoko, "Helan de Taiwan maoyi (shang)" 荷蘭的臺灣貿易(上), Taiwan feng wu 臺灣風物 43, no. 1 (1993): 13–44, esp. 15–23. back

Note 24: He had similarly deceived the English, to whom, when they left Japan, he owed the huge sum of 70,000 taels. See Iwao, "Li Tan, Chief of the Chinese Residents at Hirado, Japan," 68; and Cocks, Diary. back

Note 25: Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, esp. 389. back

Note 26: See Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 204v. See also Relación de las Islas Filipinas y otras partes circunvecinas del año 1626, in Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, eds, The Philippine Islands, 1493–1803, 55 vols. (Cleveland: A. H. Clark, 1902–9), 22:141–45. In Dutch sources Xu Xinsu is called Simpsou. He appears to have been an associate of Li Dan, and, holding the position of local Ming military commander (把總), would later participate in the Ming defense against Zheng Zhilong and other pirates. See Kawaguchi Choju, Taiwan Zheng shi ji shi 臺灣鄭氏紀事, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 5 (1958), 4. back

Note 27: John E. Wills Jr. discusses baoshui in his article "Maritime China from Wang Chih to Shih Lang: Themes in Peripheral History," in From Ming to Ch'ing: Conquest, Region, and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century China, ed. John E. Wills Jr. and Jonathan Spence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979). See also Leonard Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan? The Rise of Cheng Chih-lung, Alias Nicolas Iquan," in Development and Decline of Fukien Province in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. E. B. Vermeer (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990), 259–60. Dian Murray discusses the practice as carried out by Guangdong pirates during the nineteenth century; see her Pirates of the South China Coast, 1790–1810 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987). back

Note 28: Li Guozhu's Christian name was Augustine. This is the same Augustine mentioned in Richard Cocks's diary, and he is therefore Li Dan's son. Iwao Seiichi has shown, using English East India Company records, that Li Guozhu had close ties to Taiwan following his father's death. See Iwao, "Ming mo qiao yu Riben Zhina maoyi shang yiguan Augustin Li Guozhu zhi huodong" 明末僑寓日本支那貿易商一官 Augustin 李國助之活動, in Helan shidai Taiwan shi lunwen ji 荷蘭時代台灣史論文集, ed. and trans. Xu Xianyao 許賢瑤 (Taipei: Foguang renwen shehui xueyuan, 2001), 131–54, esp. 138–39. Company records also indicate that Augustine enjoyed the protection of Japanese traders, who demanded that he be judged in Japan rather than in Formosa. See Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 9 December 1626, VOC 1093: 380v. back

Note 29: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 9 December 1626, VOC 1093: 380v. back

Note 30: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 16 December 1626, VOC 1093: 380v–381. back

Note 31: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 10 July 1626, VOC 1093: 371–71v. back

Note 32: European documents refer to Zheng Zhilong as Iquan, from the Chinese yiguan 一官. The people of Fujian Province traditionally referred to the first-born son as yiguan, usually in conjunction with the family name. Thus, Zheng Yiguan meant eldest-Zheng-son. Biographies of Zheng Zhilong are surprisingly rare, given his importance. One of the best and most recent is Tang Jintai 湯錦台, Kaiqi Taiwan di yi ren Zheng Zhilong 開啟臺灣第一人鄭芝龍 (Taipei: Guoshi 果實 Press, 2002). See also Liao Hanchen 廖漢臣 "Zheng Zhilong kao shang" 鄭芝龍考(上), Taiwan wenxian 臺灣文獻 10, no. 4 (1959): 63–70; and Liao Hanchen 廖漢臣, "Zheng Zhilong kao xia" 鄭芝龍考(下), Taiwan wenxian 臺灣文獻 11, no. 3 (1960): 1–15. Works in English are sadly rare indeed, but see C. R. Boxer, "The Rise and Fall of Nicholas Iquan," T'ien Hsia Monthly 11, no. 5 (1941): 401–43; John E. Wills Jr., Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 222–27; and Leonard Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan?" back

Note 33: The incident is recounted in Peng Sunyi, Jing hai zhi, 3. See also Kawaguchi Choju, Taiwan Zheng shi ji shi, 2. back

Note 34: On Zheng's trouble with the law in Manila, see Tang Jintai, Kaiqi Taiwan di yi ren, 60. back

Note 35: One Dutch source suggests that he became a pirate after leaving the service of the company (see Boxer, "Rise and Fall," 412), but Salvador Diaz's example shows that Chinese pirates were able to work within the company, and Chinese sources suggest that he joined the pirates around 1624 (see Boxer, "Rise and Fall," 413). back

Note 36: Leonard Blussé suggests that Zheng Zhilong was "attached" to the Dutch by Li Dan, who hoped thereby to keep tabs on Dutch plans (Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan?" 254). back

Note 37: According to fanciful Chinese sources, Zheng came to leadership of Yan's gang after a ceremony in which the chiefs prayed for heaven to select their next leader. According to one version, in order to choose their successor, the chiefs prayed in turn before a pile of rice, into which a sword had been inserted. When Zheng began praying, the sword quivered and then leapt out of the rice. The pirates therefore accepted him as the leader of the alliance. See Kawaguchi Choju, Taiwan Zheng shi ji shi, 3. Other versions have him being chosen by heaven through a divination-block ritual. See Jiang Risheng 江日昇, Taiwan wai ji 臺灣外記, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 60 (1960), 13–14. For more on divination blocks (聖珓/筊 or, in Taiwan, 聖杯), see David Jordan, "Divination," in Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors: Folk Religion in a Taiwanese Village (San Diego: Department of Anthropology, UCSD, Web Link, esp. Web Link.) back

Note 38: Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Historia de la conquista de la China por el Tartaro (Paris: Antonio Bertier, Librero de la Reyna, 1670; copy located in Beinecke Library at Yale University). back

Note 39: According to Leonard Blussé, Dutch patronage was a major factor in Zheng Zhilong's rise but was certainly not the only one. See Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan?" back

Note 40: Governor Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, esp. 179. Examples of the company's complicity in Zhilong's piracy abound. See, for example, Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 26 June 1627, VOC 1093: 385v–386. back

Note 41: W. Ph. Coolhaas, ed., Generale Missiven van Gouverneurs-Generaal en Raden aan Heren XVII der Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (The Hague: Martinus Nijhof, 1960–85), H. Brouwer, P. Vlack, en J. van der Burch, Batavia, to the Heren XVII in Amsterdam, 1 December, 1632 (henceforth referred to as Generale Missiven); quoted in Cheng Shaogang, "De VOC en Formosa 1624–1662: Een Vergeten Geschiedenis" (Ph.D. diss., University of Leiden, Netherlands, 1995), p. 105. See also Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan," 255. back

Note 42: According to a Chinese source, this phrase (劫富施貧) was used to describe Zheng during official discussions between Chinese officials about how to handle him and his followers. See Peng Sunyi, Jing hai zhi, 3. Other Ming documents confirm that Zheng cultivated an image of benevolence. See, for example, Cao Lutai 曹履泰, Jing hai ji lüe 靖海紀略, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 33 (1959), 3–4. back

Note 43: See, for example, Peng Sunyi, Jing hai zhi, 2. back

Note 44: Indeed, as Blussé argues, Zheng Zhilong's bond with his home village and his ability therefore to count upon the backing of its people were key factors in his success ("Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan," 264). back

Note 45: One Chinese source indicates that many thousands joined him in one ten-day period because of famine (cited in Tang Jintai, Kaiqi Taiwan di yi ren, 123). back

Note 46: Zheng shi shi liao chu bian 鄭氏史料初編, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 157 (1962), 1–2. See also the citation in Young-tsu Wong, "Security and Warfare on the China Coast: The Taiwan Question in the Seventeenth Century," Monumenta Serica 35 (1981–83): 111–96, esp.124. back

Note 47: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 12 October 1627, VOC 1093: 387v. Simpsou himself took part in action against Zhilong. See Peng Sunyi, Jing hai zhi, 2. back

Note 48: Resolutions of the Council of Formosa, 12 October 1627, VOC 1093: 387v; 25 October 1627, VOC 1093: 388; and 6 November, 1627, VOC 1093: 389v–390. back

Note 49: See Governor Pieter de Nuyts to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 March, 1628, VOC 1094: 133–35. back

Note 50: Wong, "Security and Warfare," 120–27; Boxer, "Rise and Fall," 420–21. back

Note 51: Accort getrocken tusschen Pieter Nuyts, Raedt van India ende Gouverneur over t'eijlandt formosa ende tfort Zeelandia ter enee zijde ende Iquan, overste Mandarijn van t Provincia van Aimoijen, Admiral vande Chineesche Zee ter andere, 1 October 1628, VOC 1096: 124–25. See also Blussé, "Minnan-jen or Cosmopolitan?" 257–59. back

Note 52: Li Kuiqi is known in Dutch texts as Quitsicq. Peng Sunyi discusses his links to Zhilong, in Jing hai zhi, 3. back

Note 53: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Jacques Specx, letter, 9 November 1632, VOC 1109: 195–97. back

Note 54: Liu Xiang was known in Dutch sources as Janglauw based on another form of his name, Xiang Lao (香老). Generale Missiven, H. Brouwer, A. van Diemen, P. Vlack, Philips Lucasz., en J. van der Burch, Batavia, 15 August 1633; in Cheng, "De VOC en Formosa," 108–12. back

Note 55: See Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Hendrik Brouwer, letter, 30 September 1633, VOC 1113: 776–87, esp. 777. The large war junks were each armed with between 16 and 36 large cannons. See Leonard Blussé et al., eds., De Dagregisters van het Kasteel Zeelandia, Taiwan, 1629–1662, 4 vols. (The Hague: Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1986–2001), vol. 1, F: 16 (cited hereafter as Zeelandia Dagregisters). back

Note 56: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Hendrik Brouwer, letter, 30 September 1633, VOC 1113: 776–87, esp. 777. back

Note 57: Governor Hans Putmans to Amsterdam, letter, 28 October 1634, VOC 1114: 1–14, esp. 6. back

Note 58: An account of Zhilong's decisive battle with Liu Xiang is found in Peng Sunyi, Jing hai zhi, 5. back

Note 59: Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲, Ci xing shi mo 賜姓始末, quoted in Fang Hao方豪, "Chongzhen chu Zheng Zhilong yimin ru Taiwan shi" 崇禎初鄭芝龍移民入臺事, Taiwan wenxian 臺灣文獻, 12, no. 1 (1961): 37–38. Fang Hao's short article, which offers a plethora of quotes from primary sources, is still the best introduction to this mysterious episode, but see also Guo Shuitan 郭水潭, "Heren ju tai shiqi de Zhongguo yimin" 荷人據臺時期的中國移民, Taiwan wenxian 臺灣文獻 10, no. 4 (1959): 11–45; Nakamura Takashi 中村孝志),"Helan shidai zhi Taiwan nongye ji qi jiangli" 荷蘭時代之臺灣農業及其獎勵 inNakamura, Helan shidai Taiwan shi yanjiu shang juan 荷 蘭時代臺灣史研究上卷 (Taipei: Daoxiang Press 稻鄉出版社, 1997), 43–80; John E. Wills Jr., "Maritime China from Wang Chih to Shih Lang," 201–238, esp. 215; and John Shepherd, Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600–1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 466–67, note 214. The tael was a weight and currency unit used for silver, around 37.5 grams. back

Note 60: It appears that Japanese trade to Taiwan really began to expand during the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century. See Iwao Seiichi 岩生成一, "Zai Taiwan de Riben ren" 在臺灣的日本人, in Helan shidai Taiwan shi lunwen ji 荷蘭時代台灣史論文集, ed. and trans. Xu Xianyao 許賢瑤 (Taipei: Foguang renwen shehui xueyuan, 2001), 155–85, and C. R. Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 1549–1650 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951), 263–65. See also Robert LeRoy Innes, "The Door Ajar: Japan's Foreign Trade in the Seventeenth Century" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1980); and Leonard Blussé, Willem Remmelink, and Ivo Smits, eds., Bridging the Divide: 1600–2000, 400 Years, the Netherlands–Japan (Leiden: Hotei, 2000). back

Note 61: There was also Japanese activity in northern Taiwan. Nakamura Takashi finds evidence suggesting that Japanese prospectors sought gold in northern Taiwan in the sixteenth century. See Nakamura Takashi 中村孝志, "Shiqi shiji Helan ren zai Taiwan de tanjin shiye" 十七世紀荷蘭人在臺灣的探金事業, in Nakamura, Helan shidai Taiwan shi yanjiu shang juan 荷蘭時代臺灣史研究上卷 (Taipei: Daoxiang Press 稻鄉出版社, 1997), pp. 165–218, p. 173. back

Note 62: Iwao Seiichi 岩生成一. “Zai Taiwan de Riben ren” 在臺灣的日本人. In Xu Xianyao 許賢瑤, Ed. and translator, Helan shidai Taiwan shi lunwen ji 荷蘭時代台灣史論文集. Taipei: Foguang renwen shehui xueyuan, 2001, 155–185. back

Note 63: Iwao Seiichi, "Shi qi shi ji Riben ren zhi Taiwan qin lüe xing dong," 十七世紀日本人之臺灣侵略行動, Taiwan yanjiu congkan 臺灣研究叢刊 71 (1959): 1–23. back

Note 64: Richard Cocks wrote, "The sonne of [Murayama] Toan . . . departed to sea with 13 barkes laden with souldiers to take the . . . Isla Fermosa." Cited in N. Peri, "Essai sur les relations du Japon et de l'Indochine aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles," Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient 23 (1923): 1–126, p. 57. back

Note 65: Boxer, Christian Century in Japan, 298–99. Spanish documents also refer to Japanese plans to take Formosa in the late sixteenth century (see chapter 4, below). back

Note 66: An outstanding study of Japanese military history during the early Tokugawa Period is Matthew Keith, "The Logistics of Power: Tokugawa Response to the Shimabara Rebellion and Power Projection in Seventeenth-Century Japan" (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 2003). For a comparison between Japanese and European military prowess during this period, see Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). back

Note 67: Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier to Governor of Tayouan Martinus Sonck, letter, 13 May 1625, VOC 852: 67–75, esp. 68. back

Note 68: For an elegant introduction to early Dutch and Japanese trade relations, see Akira Nagazumi, "Japan en de Nederlanden rond 1632: Terugblik op een keerpunt," De Gids 145, no. 1 (1982): 26–38. back

Note 69: Suetsugu was the daikan (代官) of Nagasaki, which I have translated as "regent." back

Note 70: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 2 July 1625, VOC 1093: 351v–352v. Quote from Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, esp. 386. back

Note 71: Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, quote at 386. back

Note 72: Governor Gerrit de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, esp. 386. back

Note 73: It is difficult to know exactly what the Council of Formosa told these traders. Leonard Blussé writes that they said merely that in the future they should expect to pay some kind of dues in order to use the Dutch port (Zeelandia Dagregisters, 1:xv). According to a letter from Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, however, the Council of Formosa told the Japanese "of the General's decision that in the future they will not be allowed to trade with any silver, but that they would be allowed to provide to the company any goods or provisions it might find useful" ("dat men de Japanders geen tol sall affvoorderen, maer haer informeren van des Ed: heer Generaels meninghe dat in toecomende alhier met geenighe contanten zullen vermogen te handelen, dan alsulcke provisien ofte goederen die de Comp. alhier dienstich is, hier aende Comp. mogen brengen, ende daervoor alleen retouren nemen" [Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, quote at 386]). According to the resolution records of the Council of Formosa, however, the Japanese were informed "of the General's order concerning the freedom that would be granted them here . . . without letting on that this was the order of the General, but allowing them believe that this was our decision and that we would await further orders from the general, so that if further problems should arise in Japan we can always refer to this quasi order we are supposedly expecting" (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 11 July 1625, VOC 1093: 252v–253). back

Note 74: Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 29 October 1625, VOC 1087: 385–96, quote at 386. back

Note 75: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 1 July 1625, VOC 1093: 351. back

Note 76: Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 197. This proscription probably concerned only raw silk, which was by far the most important trade item, for the council had earlier decided that they would be allowed to trade in other types of silk products and in deerhides (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 3 February, 1626, VOC 1093: 363–64v; see also Commander Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, esp. 176). back

Note 77: Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, quote at 197v. back

Note 78: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 14 May 1626, VOC 1093: 368v–69. See also Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, quote at 197v. back

Note 79: Around this time the Japanese also asked for permission to fit out a few Chinese junks manned with Japanese in order to hunt for Chinese pirates. The company denied the request. Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 21 May 1626, VOC 1093: 369–69v. back

Note 80: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 24 June 1626, VOC 1093: 370–71. back

Note 81: Gerritt de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 198v. back

Note 82: Batavia to Governor Gerrit de Witt, letter, 3 May 1626, VOC 853: 76–82, quote at 81. back

Note 83: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 24 April 1626, VOC 1093: 384v. back

Note 84: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 6 August 1627, VOC 1093: 386. back

Note 85: Robert Leroy Innes believes that Suetsugu planned the entire episode from the beginning (Innes, "The Door Ajar"). back

Note 86: Bugyo might also be translated as "magistrate." It was a higher position than that of daikan. back

Note 87: Memorabel verhael van den waeren oorspronck, voortganck ende nederganck van de wichtige differenten die tusschen de Nederlanders en de Japansche natie om den Chineeschen handel ontstaen zijn, by Justus Schouten, 17 February 1633, VOC 1110: 408–21. I rely here on Leonard Blussé's beautifully edited version, in Blussé, "Justus Schouten en de Japanse gijzeling," in Nederlands Historische Bronnen (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1985), 69–109. News of the Sinkanders also arrived in Manila, in the form of a Jesuit relation in which it was recorded that "the natives of Isla Hermosa sent ambassadors to the emperor of Japan, asking for assistance to help them expel the Dutch from that port where they have their fortress. They were well received and help was offered to them, and they were sent back with assurances of friendship." See Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 22:317–18 (also in Borao Mateo, Spaniards in Taiwan, 1:137). back

Note 88: He was also angry that they had disobeyed his order to help the Japanese convey their silk from the coast of China. Peiter Nuijts to Gerritt de Witt, letter, 7 September 1627, VOC 1092: 416–18, esp. 416. back

Note 89: Spanish sources from the Philippines indicate that the Spanish, too, were worried about a Japanese seaborne attack around this time. See Tavora to Philip IV, letters, 4 August 1630, in Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 23:93–117, esp. 93. See also Tavora to Philip IV, Cavite, letter, 1 August 1629, AGI Filipinas, 21, r. 3, no. 14. back

Note 90: Schouten, Memorabel verhael, 413v. back

Note 91: Ibid., 414. back

Note 92: Eijsch van de Japonders in Tayouan aen Gouverneur Pieter Nuijts overgelevert in de stadt Zeelandia, 2 July 1628, VOC 1096: 128–29. back

Note 93: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor-General Coen, letter, 20 August 1628, VOC 1096: 199–202, quote at 199. back

Note 94: Governor-General Jacques Specx to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 17 May 1630, VOC 855 (unfoliated). back

Note 95: See Governor-General Jan Pietersz. Coen to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 24 April 1629, VOC 1097: 146–54. back

Note 96: Batavia to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 13 July 1630, VOC 855 (unfoliated). back

Note 97: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Jacques Specx, letter, 15 October 1630, VOC 1101: 412–23. Governor Hans Putmans to the Kamer Amsterdam, letter, 10 October 1631, VOC 339–43. back

Note 98: Governor-General Jacques Specx to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 31 July 1631, VOC 1103: 1–18; Batavia to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 13 July 1630, VOC 855 (unfoliated). back

Note 99: For a fascinating introduction to this son, see Oka Mihoko, "A Great Merchant in Nagasaki in the Seventeenth Century: Suetsugu Heizo II and the System of Respondência," Bulletin of Portuguese/Japanese Studies 2 (2001): 37–56. back