Chapter 3

Pax Hollandica


Shortly after the company established its base on the Bay of Tayouan, a Dutch official wrote back to Amsterdam with reassuring news: "Around Tayouan lie various villages. The inhabitants of these come daily to our fort, each trying to be the first to gain our friendship."1 Representatives had come from all the nearby aboriginal villages—Sinkan, Soulang, Baccluan, and Mattau—to ask that Dutchmen come live among them.2 Yet behind this appearance of friendship lay ulterior motives, for in the early seventeenth century, these villages coexisted in an uneasy and hostile balance of power, organized in loose and shifting alliances. By being the first to befriend the Dutch, the villagers hoped to gain a new ally, but when the company accepted offers of friendship, it was brought, willy-nilly, into the complex world of aboriginal war and diplomacy.


The company's most troublesome foe was Mattau, the village whose warriors had attacked Captain Ripon in 1623. Over and over again people from Mattau challenged the company, massacring soldiers, destroying buildings, and uprooting crops. Whenever Mattau flouted company authority, people in the other villages also grew restive, but the company had fewer than four hundred troops.3 To defeat Mattau and its allies decisively, the Dutch needed more troops, but, as we have seen, Batavia was unwilling to invest in Taiwan while Chinese pirates infested the seas and Japanese merchants obstructed trade in Japan. In 1634, however, with the pirates pacified and trade with Japan flowing once again, Batavia decided to send reinforcements. In the winter of 1635 these troops defeated Mattau and in the process touched off a "diplomacy race." The Dutch had proven themselves by defeating the most powerful village, prompting scores of other villages to send representatives to seek peace with the company. Partly these villages were afraid of the Dutch and wanted to be on the winning side, but many also sought help against their own enemies. The Dutch accepted the peace offers and began to call their new allies the "United Villages," echoing the Hollanders' own "United Provinces." Thus, by early 1636 a pax hollandica was established in the plains around the Bay of Tayouan. It was by no means the end of strife between the Dutch and the aborigines, but it was an important step in the colonization of Taiwan.


War and Diplomacy


Of the four main aboriginal villages in the lands around the Bay of Tayouan, the company's closest ally was Sinkan, which was the smallest, having a population of around 1,000. Its neighbors Soulang and Baccluan were larger, with populations of around 1,500. But the largest and most powerful was Mattau, with a population of about 2,000. Mattau was responsible for the attack during which Ripon was wounded and for many others in the years after 1624, even though people from Mattau had, like their neighbors, initially asked for peace with the company.


Why was Mattau so antagonistic to the Dutch? Partly because the company had allied itself with Mattau's enemy, Sinkan. But there was another reason as well. When Ripon reported the attack in the woods, his commander concluded that the attack was incited by Chinese. Subsequent incidents also involved Chinese pirates and smugglers. For example, in the autumn of 1625, a company junk chased three pirate junks to an area called Wankan, an inlet north of the Bay of Tayouan. The company was still technically at peace with all of the villages, so the governor ordered his troops not to attack the pirates if they sought refuge in aboriginal villages.4 He soon learned, however, that "the inhabitants of the village of Mattau, which can be reached via the river of Wankan, are harboring [the] pirate junks along with 170 Chinese pirates, whom they have lodged in their houses."5 Company officials proceeded cautiously. They told the Mattauwers "that they should drive the [pirates] from their village" and stationed a junk at the river's mouth to lie in wait.6 Eventually company forces and the pirates clashed, but "the pirates fought so bravely that our men had to flee. This caused among the inhabitants of all the neighboring villages a great weakening [of our reputation], that the Chinese had routed the Dutch and were therefore powerful."7


Emboldened, warriors from Mattau plundered houses in Sinkan.8 When people from Sinkan asked the governor for help, he realized he had to act to preserve the company's military reputation. He demanded that the Mattauwers expel the pirates from their midst. According to him they replied that "if we wanted the pirates out of Mattau then we were certainly allowed to drive them out ourselves—they would not stand in our way." When the Dutch junk made its way toward Mattau to confront the pirates anew, "many natives gathered, and our men did not know whether they would act as friends or foes."9 As it turned out, the Mattauwers did not interfere in the fight, in which "the Chinese, after making a lot of noise with warlike whooping and shooting, took flight and escaped. Their three junks have been burned."10 This restored the company's reputation, and the governor persuaded Mattau to return the goods stolen from Sinkan's houses and pay an indemnity of two pigs "according to their custom when they reach a reconciliation with someone."11


The peace was broken by the company's closest ally, the little village of Sinkan. In November 1626, people from Sinkan attacked Mattau and its ally Baccluan and then asked the Dutch to protect them from retribution. Otherwise, they said, they would be forced to flee into the mountains.12 The Dutch felt they could not risk the loss of Sinkan and so demanded that Mattau and Baccluan make peace. When the villagers refused, the Dutch embarked on their first major confrontation with aboriginal forces since Ripon. "We took to the field quickly," wrote the Dutch lieutenant governor, "and they immediately fled, being unable to bear the whine of our bullets. They were amazed when they saw that one of their men had been felled without seeing the cause thereof."13 Mattau and Baccluan therefore sent delegates to Zeelandia to seek peace and agreed to pay an indemnity of twenty pigs.14 Yet despite the whine of its bullets, the company could not maintain authority over the two villages. Refusing to pay respect to the company, the villagers would not visit Fort Zeelandia.15 Worse, people from Sinkan complained repeatedly of harassment, and the company did little to protect them. This was a mistake, for it caused the people of Sinkan to seek protection elsewhere.


In the summer of 1627, sixteen inhabitants of Sinkan decided to go to Japan as "ambassadors" of Formosa, led by a Sinkan headman named Dika (see 2:33). Perhaps they felt that the company was too weak and hoped that the Japanese would be a stronger ally. In any case, they were presented by their Japanese friends (and trading partners) at the shogun's court to hand over sovereignty of their lands to Japan. The Dutch at first believed the Sinkanders had been tricked into going to Japan, that the Japanese had persuaded them to board their ships under the pretext "that they would be gone only ten or twelve days in order . . . to hunt heads (which the natives like very much to do)."16 Governor Nuyts wrote that the aborigines were "a simple, ignorant people, who know neither good nor evil," and were easily duped.17 His opinion was only strengthened when company officials received a request allegedly from the wives and kin of the sixteen Sinkanders stating that the "ambassadors" had been kidnapped and asking for their return to Formosa. Dutch officials later discovered, however, that this document was a fraud and that the Sinkanders had gone of their own accord: "The request made by the Sinkanders . . . was not presented voluntarily but through the . . . instigation of some shrewd Chinese, so that we believe that they were taken from Formosa not through deception but willingly."18 What such "shrewd Chinese" had to gain is unclear.


The Sinkanders knew what they were doing. They had sought friendship and protection from the Dutch. Why not try the Japanese as well? When Nuyts returned from Japan, chiefs [hooffden] from Sinkan, Baccluan, Mattau, and Soulang came to Fort Zeelandia and "demanded with blunt arrogance a yearly tribute [erkentenisse] according to custom, since we were residing in their land."19 Perhaps they were emboldened by the prospect of Japanese protection. In any case, the governor refused the request.


Thus, Sinkan had found a new ally, exploiting Dutch-Japanese rivalry. But then the Japanese departed, never to return (see 2:43). The Sinkanders had to rely more and more on the company.20 Company officials understood Sinkan's dependence on them. As missionary Candidius put it, "The Mattauwers and Baccluaners are bitter enemies of the village of Sinkan. They would have burned it down and chased away and killed all of its inhabitants if it had not been for the Dutch, who came to their help with around one hundred musketeers and drove back the Mattauwers and Baccluaners. This village Sinkan has been until now under Dutch protection, and without this protection it would not stand for even a month."21


Yet the Dutch soon showed that they could not defend even themselves. During the summer of 1629, governor Nuyts heard that Chinese pirates were hiding near Mattau once again, and he led sixty-three of his best soldiers to investigate. When they arrived in Mattau they found no pirates. The villagers invited them to stay for a meal. The governor excused himself and returned to Fort Zeelandia, allowing his men to stay and dine. After a generous feast, the soldiers started back toward Fort Zeelandia. But as they were crossing a river, warriors from Mattau sprang from behind bushes and attacked. They killed and beheaded everyone except a boy and a slave. Afterward, they invited inhabitants of the village of Soulang to join them in celebration by ransacking Sinkan. The Soulangers had generally kept on the company's good side, but they were so emboldened by Mattau's victory against the Dutch that they murdered a Dutch official living among them. (Some Soulangers may actually have taken part in the massacre itself.) Afterward, the Mattauwers held a great party, boasting "that [the Dutch] fear them and dare do nothing in revenge."22


The Mattau massacre was a severe blow to the company's reputation. Missionary Candidius wrote, "The Sinkanders are still friends with us . . . at least as far as anyone knows. They still come visit us . . . , but . . . seldom. From the other villages nobody comes."23 The massacre appears to have been part of a calculated attempt to remove the Dutch from Formosa and thereby prevent them from threatening Mattau's dominance in the Siraya area. When Mattauwers plundered Sinkan, they took special care to chase company employees away, encouraging Soulangers to do the same. They also made sure to destroy the company's fortifications and houses in Saccam. Indeed, they did their best to prevent the company from rebuilding them. In October 1629, the company sent masons to reconstruct houses and fortifications in Saccam. The village council of Sinkan sent a messenger to inform the governor that "around 500 Baccluaners and Mattauwers had set out from Mattau, not desiring that [the Dutch] should begin building . . . again."24 Even if this figure is inflated, the number of warriors sent by Mattau was probably still quite large, which, considering the total population of the village, indicates a concerted collective effort. In the months that followed, Mattau's warriors kept harassing company masons but were kept at bay by Dutch muskets. It seems clear that the Mattauwers were pursuing a coherent collective strategy: to keep the Dutch from establishing themselves again on the mainland of Taiwan. The Sinkanders were pursuing a collective strategy as well. By telling the company of Mattau's plans and encouraging it to rebuild its fortifications, they hoped to maintain the Dutch as a counterweight against Mattau.


The Mattau massacre convinced the governor and the Council of Formosa that the company must take drastic action. Too weak to move against Mattau, company forces instead set out to destroy Mattau's ally Baccluan, "by fire and sword." The expedition left and returned on the same day (November 23, 1629), "having killed many people and burned most of the village."25 Shortly thereafter Baccluan sent its best weapons to the Dutch as a sign that it sought peace. Mattau also sent emissaries to Zeelandia, and in early February 1630 the company and Mattau signed a nine-month peace treaty. But both sides immediately began preparing for war: The Council of Formosa requested reinforcements from Batavia; the Mattauwers began building "a sturdy double wall around their village, the inside filled with clay, as well as a moat and many demi-lunes, so that . . . I fear that they do not have much good in mind."26


The Sinkanders, meanwhile, enjoyed a respite from Mattauwers' attacks, which they used to fight against an enemy to the south called Tampsui.27 They asked the company for assistance: "The missionaries Candidius and Junius . . . told the governor that the Sinkanders . . . have importunately and insistently asked for our help against those of Tampsui."28 The governor and Council of Formosa decided to lend a hand. A military expedition set out at the end of December 1630, but it never reached Tampsui, since the Sinkanders did not know where it was. Still, in a small skirmish, the Sinkanders obtained the head of "one of the most important warriors of Tampsui."29 This was enough to "turn the hearts of the Sinkanders toward us," a warming in relations reflected in the decision of some of Sinkan's major warriors to "reject their idols" and receive daily instruction from the missionaries.30


Then, in February 1632, Sinkan decided to raid Baccluan. When the Council of Formosa heard about these plans it sent two representatives to Sinkan. They called the village council together and reprimanded them for going to war without the governor's permission, since they knew well that "without our help they were not capable of carrying out [a war with Baccluan], and if we were to remove our helping hand from them, what had they to expect but their total destruction?" The village council promised to behave in the future and, according to Dutch sources, "acknowledged that the company was like a father to Sinkan and if it were to leave, the village would be helpless against its enemies."31 All seemed to be going well for the company. The people of Mattau had been frightened by the company's expeditions against Baccluan and Tampsui.


But in May 1633, a Mattau headman named Taccaran began preparing to go to Japan.32 He was, it appears, seeking an ally against the company. The governor and the Council of Formosa concocted a devious plan. They decided to invite Taccaran to lead an expedition against a group of aborigines who lived on Lamey Island, located off the Taiwan coast.33 This group had earlier slaughtered the crew of a Dutch ship when it had anchored there to take in provisions. The plan was that after the Mattauwers had led the expedition the Dutch would, "turning back, the expedition having been carried out, take prisoner the people of Mattau, lock them up in the fort, and then immediately, with all the more advantage . . . attack the village of Mattau and avenge the murder of our men."34 The governor and the council reasoned that if Taccaran refused to join the expedition, "it would be certain that . . . Taccaran is being supported by the Chinese or Japanese, and that if he is not then to be moved with many gifts and sweet words . . . he must be told that if . . . we found that he has gone to Japan we would be so displeased that we might easily attack his village."35 Taccaran declined to join the expedition to Lamey. On the contrary, he and other Mattauwers threatened company employees and property in Sinkan and began telling the Sinkanders that the Dutch were cowardly and weak. Missionary Junius wrote, "They dare to speak loudly [wijtmondig] of [the massacre of sixty-three Dutch soldiers], not only to the mockery and shame of our nation but also of our God and his worship."36 Mattau had reason to believe in its power. It had defeated the Dutch, and it had ties to Chinese and Japanese groups.


Then came a small diplomatic revolution. Mattau had been powerful in the Siraya area partly because it had maintained peace with the village of Soulang. Indeed, some people from Soulang probably participated in the massacre of 1629. Yet late in 1633, company officials learned that the Soulangers "are now threatened by Mattau because they have killed an inhabitant of the village of Tirosen" (an ally of Mattau). In January 1634, war seemed imminent. Mattau was aware that the tide might turn against it: "Mattau, which Soulang and Sinkan are threatening to declare war on, is very afraid that we will take the side of Sinkan, and has asked for peace. . . . We are keeping one knife drawn and one in the sheath, but we can tell . . . that Soulang and Sinkan would be ready to join us in a war against Mattau if we were to offer them help."37 The governor and the Council of Formosa welcomed the growing tensions: "The Sinkanders are preparing to go to war against Mattau. We will work as much as is possible to bind Sinkan closely to Soulang, and now in this situation in which Soulang is threatened by Mattau, Sinkan is ready to come to the assistance of Soulang."38 The company did not act immediately. It lacked troops to attack Mattau. Company officials waited to see what would happen next.


Soulang and Mattau began fighting. In May 1634, for example, the governor wrote: "Yesterday Mattau fought again with Soulang. Of the Soulangers, two were killed and many others hurt and badly wounded, whereas of the Mattauwers nobody was killed and although many were injured, none were injured badly."39 Although the Dutch would have preferred to see Mattau lose, they were happy to see their enemy involved in a war. Candidius wrote:

It seems to me to be more profitable for the Hollanders that [Soulang and Mattau] heartily whack each other on the head [malcanderen lustig wat op de mutse gaven]. . . for several reasons: First, because they would waste their strength on each other; second, because the enmity between these two villages would become all the more bitter and we would always be able, according to our desire, to have one or the other village on our side to revenge itself against the other; and third, because the defeated village would seek refuge with the Hollanders, which has not happened until now because both of them are equally proud.40

Thus, Candidius espoused a divide-and-rule strategy, which the governor and the Council of Formosa decided to adopt.41


The Sinkanders, however, took matters into their own hands and joined Soulang against Mattau. The Mattauwers grew anxious. Mattau could prevail against the combined forces of Soulang and Sinkan, but Sinkan was allied to the company. If the Dutch joined the fray, Mattau would surely lose. Mattauwers began fleeing into the mountains with their belongings, and Mattau's village council decided to make peace with Sinkan.42 Thus, Sinkan, the smallest of the Sirayan villages, had managed to turn the tide against Mattau by means of diplomacy. The company's friendship had proved to be a valuable asset.


Heartened by the peace they had reached with Mattau, Soulang and Sinkan decided to set out together against Taccariang, a village to the south.43 The expedition went poorly. Sinkan lost four heads to the Taccariangers, "so that among the Sinkanders there is much wailing and grieving."44 Sinkan asked the company for help, and company officials readily agreed: It "will be very helpful in the work of the Lord and will also bind the Sinkanders to us more closely."45 On November 5, 1634, the company's troops "engaged the savages [wilden] of Taccariang, [consisting of] around 150 to 200 good, disciplined [rustig] men. Five were shot dead by our soldiers (who were lying hidden in a small woods), to the pleasure of the Sinkanders and Soulangers, who immediately, according to their usual custom, took the heads in order . . . to hold the proper celebration with them."46 The company had no direct interest in fighting against Taccariang. The expedition was carried out to bind Sinkan to the company. It was a Dutch-sponsored headhunting raid.


Mattau did its best in the meantime to turn Sinkan away from the Dutch. In the spring of 1635, Taccaran, the headman of Mattau who had threatened to go to Japan, began "spouting off fulminations against the Dutch, the village of Sinkan, and the other nearby villages, asserting that the Dutch were afraid of him because his people had killed the Dutch soldiers, and that if the Sinkanders also wanted to be feared by [the Dutch], they should do the same."47 He threatened to attack Sinkan. Then he went to a small village that was allied with Sinkan and set up an object called a Pockon, "with which he intends to assert that henceforth the village will be under his protection."48 The Sinkanders were incensed and wanted to fight against Mattau immediately. The missionaries recommended that the company help the Sinkanders, "since failing to deal with all of this would work against the company's reputation and damage the company's authority." The governor therefore led a small force, which removed the Pockon and burned it in a church, "to the great satisfaction of the Sinkanders."49 Later that day, some elders from Mattau went to Sinkan. The elders of Sinkan told them with satisfaction what had happened to the Pockon:

[They said] that his Excellency [the governor], arriving in Sinkan, had heard that Taccaran had been there and had seen that the Sinkanders were upset and angered, and that he had therefore ordered that the Pockon be burned. At this the Mattauwers immediately yielded [het hooft in den schoot leyden] and admitted that Taccaran had done wrong, saying that he had fled to another village with his possessions. [They also said] that they were prepared to pay a . . . restitution to settle the differences that had arisen.50

Mattau paid Sinkan an indemnity of nine pigs and eight of its largest spears.51 Missionary Junius wrote to the governor that the Sinkanders had divided the pigs among themselves and "shall today hold a celebration with them. They are very happy, and love us more than before, despite the fact that his Excellency [the governor] made peace with Mattau and ordered them to lay down their weapons."52


Yet although "this arrogant village [Mattau] (praised be God) was through these small means brought, at least temporarily, to humility," the Dutch realized that the problem of Mattau had yet to be solved.53 Lacking manpower, they tried to isolate Mattau diplomatically: "It is wise, in order to humiliate the Mattauwers even more, for us to be on very good terms with Soulang, to go and visit [Soulang] frequently, and to invite Autul [a headman of Soulang] and other Soulang headmen to Fort Zeelandia and treat them well and with friendship. That will make the Mattauwers suspicious. The less friendship we show to Mattau the better. . . . In this way they will be humiliated and anxious [bevreest] and we will be free of their troublesome behavior."54


At first, this policy seemed to be working. But suddenly, the Sinkanders decided to revolt against Dutch rule. On September 12, 1635, missionary Robertus Junius arrived at Fort Zeelandia and told the governor and the Council of Formosa that "rebels in Sinkan have conspired against our state . . . and [are planning] to murder and beat to death the missionaries and soldiers in Sinkan."55 It is not clear what caused the rebellion, although it may have been sparked when missionaries prohibited a Sinkan holiday.56 In any case, the entire village was involved. The Sinkanders apparently wanted to remove the Dutch from their midst entirely, because after killing the missionaries and the small garrison stationed in Sinkan they planned to lie in ambush for other company troops in order to "defy them manfully."57 Perhaps they hoped to emulate Mattau's massacre of 1629.


Other villages were also involved in the plot, such as Baccluan. Indeed, it is possible that the Sinkan rebellion was part of a wider anti-Dutch alliance, for, a month after the rebellion, company officials learned that Soulang and Mattau had concluded a treaty with each other against the Dutch: "Junius . . . reports that . . . Mattau and Soulang had sworn to assist each other, because they had heard that we would go to war against them."58 Perhaps Sinkan, too, decided to join the other two villages to help throw off the company's yoke. Indeed, it is possible that all of the villages were concerned that the Dutch were becoming too powerful. It is hard to know. Whatever motivated the rebels, the company was too integrated into Sinkan life for them to succeed. Junius heard about the plans and stopped the revolt before it could start. Thanks to his warning, the governor sent eighty soldiers to the village. They managed to capture three Sinkan headmen and send them to Zeelandia.


Having put down the uprising in Sinkan, the company prepared to undertake the long-delayed expedition against Mattau. Reinforcements had arrived from Batavia, and circumstances augured well. Mattau's former ally Tirosen had turned against it. This, Junius wrote, "will be advantageous to our plans."59 More important, Mattau and Soulang were suffering from smallpox, which the Dutch interpreted as a sign of divine favor:

Those of Soulang have lost two hundred of their four hundred fighting men. Those of Mattau, where this epidemic worsens each day, have already lost two to three hundred fighting men. Among those who have died are almost all of the strongest and the leaders of the village, above all (as if it were a clear punishment from . . . God) those who had played the largest role in the murder of our men. Baccluan . . . , which also took part in the . . . murder of our men, has also been severely affected. In neither Sinkan nor the other surrounding villages has this disease appeared. It affects only those who were guilty of the enormous crime against our people, so that there is little doubt that we will be victorious against Mattau.60

The governor led the expedition from Fort Zeelandia on November 23, 1635. The five hundred newly arrived Dutch soldiers and a force of Sinkan warriors marched together toward Mattau.61 The "brutal heathen" fled "as soon as they caught sight of us." The Dutch and the Sinkanders entered Mattau and set fire to the village and its fields, the Sinkanders capturing twenty-six heads, "including men, women, and children." At last Mattau had been decisively defeated. The Sinkanders had humiliated their long-standing enemy, and the company had avenged the "massacre of our men committed more that six-and-a-half years ago."62


The Mattauwers sent a spear and an ax to the company to show that they were ready to discuss peace. The following day two Mattau elders met with Junius. They "bowed their heads three times to the ground, wishing thereby to imply how full of humility they were," a show of submission which delighted the Sinkanders, "it being something strange and new to them that mountains should be turned into valleys, and that these proud and haughty people of Mattau should thus humble themselves."63 Junius escorted them to Fort Zeelandia, where they "humbly [zeer demoedig] admitted their past mistakes, saying that they had been chosen to seek peace on behalf of their village's people, . . . [who desired] to submit themselves to our authority just as the Sinkanders had done."64 The governor and the Council of Formosa listed conditions of surrender and sent the delegates back to consult with the rest of their village. They returned a week later, bringing betel-nut and coconut trees "planted in some of their native soil, to be offered to the Governor as a symbol that the sovereignty of their country had now been given to the [United Provinces]."65


News of Mattau's defeat spread through the Formosan Plains. Just afterward, Junius received from Tevorang (a political unit consisting of three mountain villages),66 a message saying "that they willingly would have joined us in the expedition as they felt great wrath against Mattau. They also sent us a spear, thereby implying that they were well inclined to join their arms to ours, and that our friendship was all they desired."67 Mattauwers themselves told Junius "that the inhabitants of Tirosen had shown themselves very inimical to them since the day we had vanquished Mattau, also that the people of Favorolang had been heard to say that they would chase the Mattauwers from their village as the Dutch had already done before."68 The defeat of Mattau had created a power vacuum, and the Dutch, now lords of Mattau, inherited their erstwhile enemy's enemies.


The Council of Formosa decided to sign its peace with Mattau publicly, since "the event ought, in order to have more weight [bevestinge], to occur in the presence of all the villages in the area."69 The governor accordingly called together representatives from Mattau, Soulang, Baccluan, and a village called Dorko,70 and addressed them thus: "You people from other villages now present hear what the people of Mattau say. They have surrendered themselves to our lords, they do so once more as all have heard, while we now accept them as our friends, and bury all grievances that we may have had with them."71 Then the governor appointed four Mattauwers as "spokesmen" and gave them, as symbols marking both their authority and their subjection to the company, orange flags, black velvet robes, and rattan staves with silver heads bearing the company's insignia.72


Then the company began a new offensive against Taccariang, whose people had invaded Sinkan's fields and killed both Sinkanders and company employees, perhaps in revenge for the joint Sinkan-Dutch attack of 1634 (see above). The company, accompanied by Sinkanders, arrived before Taccariang on 25 December 1635: "At first, there was a skirmish between our Sinkandians and the foe, in which the native spears only were used, till our van came up and fired their muskets into the midst of them. The enemy took to flight."73 The allies entered the village with no further resistance and burned it to the ground. The Taccariangers, like the Mattauwers, had been considered great warriors. The company, with its horses, dogs, drums, and guns, had frightened another great village into submission.


The company's forces visited two more villages: Soulang, where it imprisoned and burned the houses of those who had participated in the massacre of 1629; and Tevorang, a village that served as a potential refuge for disobedient aboriginal subjects. ("Whenever difficulties arose between us and our Sinkandians and other villages, and they thereby incurred our displeasure, they were wont to say, 'We will go to Tevorang, there the Dutch cannot and dare not come,' and this idea hardened them in their wickedness. In order to show them that their threat was a futile one, the Governor resolved to visit the people of Tevorang, not as an enemy, but as a friend.")74 Then the company began to taste the fruits of victory.


Pax Hollandica


The company's triumphs set in motion a "diplomacy race": Friendship with the company conferred such advantages, and enmity such disadvantages, that villages throughout southwest Taiwan sent offers of peace. The first arrived just after the defeat of Mattau, when delegates of Tevorang discussed peace with Junius. These delegates also brought two arrows "which the people of [the village of] Taraquang, who live in the mountains, had charged them to hand us. The people in Taraquang had been expelled from their village by some enemies living still higher in the mountains. Fearing this foe [they] had sought shelter in the village of the Tevorangians, [and] they begged us to grant them peace and security."75 Further peace offers followed: Dorko, Pangsoya, Taccariang, Tarokei, Tivalukang, Tampsui, and Zoatalay, among others.76


Following the advice of Junius, the governor and the Council of Formosa decided to hold a great ceremony, which delegates of all these villages would attend. Its purpose was "to give the entry of the villages into Dutch sovereignty a more official status, and to bind these villages, which were usually at war with each other, to the . . . company and also to each other."77 On February 22, 1636, delegates from twenty-eight villages presented themselves to the governor in Sinkan.78


The governor addressed them solemnly, urging them to live in friendship with one another and outlining their duties as his subjects. Then he appointed two or three representatives from each village as leaders and gave them each an orange flag, a black velvet robe, and a rattan staff with a silver head. "It was delightful to see the friendliness of these people when they met for the first time, to notice how they kissed each other and gazed at one another. Such a thing had never before been witnessed in this country, as one tribe was nearly always waging war against another."79 After a lavish meal, "all went back to their villages in great joy."80


This ceremony was the culmination of the first, tumultuous, period of Dutch rule on Taiwan. The company had worked out a modus vivendi with Zheng Zhilong and established regular trade with China. It had survived the crisis in Japan and was now free of Japanese competition. And it had consolidated its position among the aborigines of southwestern Taiwan. Yet to the north, a bitter enemy of the Dutch had established its own colony. By the 1630s, the Spanish in northern Taiwan were rapidly expanding their territorial control. How long would these two rivals be able to coexist?



Note 1: General Missive, 27 January 1625, VOC 1082, quote at 175, in Cheng Shaogang, "De VOC en Formosa, 1624–1662: Een Vergeten Geschiedenis" (Ph.D. diss., Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, 1995), 45. back

Note 2: Governor Martinus Sonck to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 5 November 1624, VOC 1083: 41–48, esp. 47. Sinkan is present-day Xinshi (新市), located some 20 kilometers east of the company's headquarters at Kasteel Zeelandia; Soulang is present-day Jiali (佳里), some 15 kilometers north of Zeelandia; Baccluan is present-day Anding (安定), about 12 kilometers northeast of Kasteel Zeelandia; and Mattau is present-day Madou (麻豆), 25 kilometers northeast of Kasteel Zeelandia. back

Note 3: Until 1634, the number of company troops stationed in Taiwan was usually less than 400. In the 1640s the troop strength increased, and by the 1650s the colony had around 1,000 troops. Yang Yanjie uses the Batavia Dagregisters to list troop strengths for most years in Heju shidai Taiwan shi 荷據時臺灣史 (Taipei: Lianjing 聯經 Press, 2000), 75–77. back

Note 4: Gerrit de Witt to the Commanders of the Junk Orangie, lying in Wankan, letter, 18 November 1625, VOC 1089: 181. back

Note 5: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 177v. back

Note 6: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 177v. back

Note 7: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 178. back

Note 8: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, esp. 177. back

Note 9: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 177v. back

Note 10: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 178. Company officials also discovered that the pirates of Mattau had sent someone to spy at Fort Zeelandia. They captured the spy and sent him to Batavia (181). back

Note 11: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 4 March 1626, VOC 1090: 176–81, quote at 178. back

Note 12: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 201. back

Note 13: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, quote at 201 back

Note 14: Commander Gerrit Fredricxz de Witt to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, esp. 201 back

Note 15: Governor Pieter Nuyts to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 22 July 1627, VOC 1092: 398–401. back

Note 16: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 6 August 1627, VOC 1093: 386. back

Note 17: Governor Pieter Nuyts and Pieter Muyser to Governor-General Pieter de Carpentier, letter, 7 September 1627, VOC 1094: 171–73, quote at 172. back

Note 18: Governor Pieter Nuyts to Governor-General Coen, Tayouan, letter, 28 February 1628. This translation is from Leonard Blussé, Natalie Everts, and Evelien Frech, eds., The Formosan Encounter: Notes on Formosa's Aboriginal Society: A Selection of Documents from Dutch Archival Sources, 1623–1635, 4 vols. (Taipei: Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, 1998), vol. 1. back

Note 19: Governor Pieter Nuyts to Governor-General Coen, letter, Tayouan, 28 February 1628 (printed in Blussé, Formosan Encounter; my translation). back

Note 20: As we have seen, in the period 1633–39, the Tokugawa Shogunate issued laws forbidding Japanese to go abroad, which eased matters for the Dutch in Tawian. By 1639, the Japanese threat had disappeared, leaving the Dutch a free hand. See Ts'ao Yung-ho曹永和, "Taiwan as an Entrepôt in East Asia in the Seventeenth Century," Itinerario 21, no. 3 (1997): 94–114. back

Note 21: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor-General Coen, letter, 20 August 1628, VOC 1096: 199–202, quote at 200. back

Note 22: 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, A: 390 (cited hereafter as Zeelandia Dagregisters). back

Note 23: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor-General Coen, letter, 14 September 1629, VOC 1100, quote at 5. back

Note 24: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, A: 389. back

Note 25: Ibid. back

Note 26: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor-General Jacques Specx, letter, 27 March 1630, VOC 1100: 347–59, quote at 6. back

Note 27: Tampsui was probably located near the mouth of the Lower Tamsuy River (today's Gaoping Xi 高屏溪). back

Note 28: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 27 December 1630, VOC 1102, quote at 522. back

Note 29: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Jacques Specx, letter, 22 February 1631, VOC 1102: 446–55, quote at 446. back

Note 30: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Jacques Specx, letter, 22 February 1631, VOC 1102: 446–55, quote at 447. back

Note 31: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, C: 235. back

Note 32: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, E: 576. back

Note 33: Lamey Island was sometimes called Gouden Leeuw Island. Today it is called Xiao Liuqiu 小琉球. Unfortunately, little is known of the people who inhabited it. See Raleigh Ferrell, "Aboriginal Peoples of the Southwestern Taiwan Plain," Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, no. 32 (1971): 217–35. back

Note 34: Instruction for Governor Hans Putmans and the Council of Formosa, 31 May 1633, VOC 1107: 253–64, quote at 257. back

Note 35: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 7 July 1633, VOC 1113: 580b–582. back

Note 36: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 25 November 1633, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15: 2–3. back

Note 37: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 25 November 1633, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15: 2–3. Tirosen is present-day Chiayi. back

Note 38: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 18 April 1634, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15, quote at 9. back

Note 39: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 14 May 1634, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15, quote at 10. back

Note 40: Missionary Georgius Candidius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 14 May 1634, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15, quote at 10. back

Note 41: As Leonard Blussé has argued, the Protestant missionaries on Taiwan were in the early years of the colony proponents of military rule. See Blussé, "Dutch Protestant Missionaries as Protagonists of the Territorial Expansion of the VOC on Formosa," in Conversion, Competition, and Conflict: Essays on the Role of Religion in Asia, ed. Dick Kooiman, Otto van den Muizenberg, and Peter van der Veer (Amsterdam: Free University Press, 1984), 155–84. See also Leonard Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse: The Interaction between the Administration and the Protestant Mission in Early Colonial Formosa," in After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements, ed. Gyan Prakash (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 153–82. back

Note 42: General Missive, 15 August 1634, VOC 1111: 4–143, in Cheng, "De VOC en Formosa, 1624–1662," 135. back

Note 43: Taccariang was in the eastern part of Gaoxiong, about 30 kilometers southeast from Tainan (see Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, p. 195, note 120). back

Note 44: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, F: 71. back

Note 45: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 232. back

Note 46: Ibid. back

Note 47: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 241. back

Note 48: It is not clear what the Pockon was. It does not appear elsewhere in VOC documents (Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 241). back

Note 49: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 241. back

Note 50: Ibid. back

Note 51: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 241; Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 15 May 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15: 39. back

Note 52: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 15 May 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15: 39–40. back

Note 53: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 241. back

Note 54: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 15 May 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 15: 39–40. back

Note 55: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 248. back

Note 56: See Intructie [from Antonio van Diemen] voor d'heere Johan van der Burch, raet van India, vertreckende met de scheepen Breedam ende d'Swaen mitsgaders t jacht Hooch Caspel naer Teijouan omme den heer vice gouverneur ende directeur over ‘t fort Zeelandia des Compagnies handel ende den voorderen omslach op ‘t Eijlandt Formoza ende de custe van China te succederen, 2 July 1636, VOC 858: 431–50, esp. 437. back

Note 57: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 27 September 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout 15: 13. back

Note 58: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G: 251. back

Note 59: Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor Hans Putmans, letter, 8 November 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 14: 4–5. back

Note 60: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Henrick Brouwer, letter, 19 September 1635, VOC 1116: 368–75, quote at 375. back

Note 61: There is, unfortunately, little information available on this expedition, since the Zeelandia journals have not been preserved for November and December 1635. back

Note 62: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Henrick Brouwer, letter, 18 January 1636, VOC 1120: 219–24, quote at 220. back

Note 63: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–1356, William M. Campbell's translation, in William M. Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Sources (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1903), 119. It is interesting to note that the Mattauwers' show of submission was the traditional Chinese kowtow. back

Note 64: Governor Hans Putmans to Governor-General Henrick Brouwer, letter, 18 January 1636, VOC 1120: 219–24, quote at 220–21. back

Note 65: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–1356, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, p. 120). See also VOC 1120: 219–224, quote at 221. back

Note 66: Tevorang is probably present-day Yujing (玉井). back

Note 67: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 118–19). back

Note 68: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 121). Favorolang was probably located near present-day Huwei (虎尾), 25 kilometers southeast of Erlin (二林). back

Note 69: Governor Hans Putmans to Missionary Robertus Junius, letter, 15 December 1635, Dutch Nationaalarchive Teding van Berkhout, 14: 6. back

Note 70: Dorcko is probably present-day Dongshan (東山). back

Note 71: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 122). back

Note 72: This can be considered the first landdag, a ceremony the Dutch used to administer the aborigines of Taiwan. See Tonio Andrade, "Political Spectacle and Colonial Rule: The Landdag on Dutch Taiwan, 1629–1648," Itinerario 21, no. 3 (1997): 57–93. back

Note 73: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 123). back

Note 74: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–1356, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 126). back

Note 75: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 122–23). The location of Taraquang is in doubt. back

Note 76: Pangsoya is present-day Linbian (林邊), Pingdong County (屏東). The locations of Tarokei, Tivalukang, and Zoatalay are in doubt. back

Note 77: Governor Hans Putmans to the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 2 August 1637, VOC 1120: 1–18, quote at 9. back

Note 78: The Dutch distinguished between northern and southern villages. The northern villages were Tarokei, Tirosen, Dorko (consisting of two villages), Tevorang, Taiouwang, Tusigit, Mattau, Soulang, Bakloan, Magkinam, Teopmang, Tivalukang, and Tivakang. The southern villages were Takareiang, Tapuliang, Pandel, Calivong, Sotanau, Tourioriot, Pangsoya (also consisting of two villages), Kesangang, Tararahei, Jamich, Sangwang, and Flatla. With Sinkan, there were thus twenty-eight villages in total. back

Note 79: Missionary Robertus Junius to the Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 5 September 1636, VOC 1121: 1308–56, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 130). back

Note 80: Governor Hans Putmans to the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, letter, 2 August 1637, VOC 1120: 1–18, quote at 9. back