Chapter 8

"The Only Bees on Formosa That Give Honey"


In the early 1640s, the Dutch colony on Formosa looked successful. Junks came regularly from China, bringing silks and porcelain for the company to sell in Japan, and the fields near Saccam swayed with sugarcane and rice. But the new decade brought challenges. In 1644 a Manchu army entered Beijing, setting off nearly forty years of civil war in China. War caused inflation and disrupted the silk trade. Requiring revenues to pay for increased expenditures, the company enacted a series of new tolls and taxes, nearly all of which fell on Chinese colonists. As Dutch governor Nicholas Verburg put it, "The Chinese are the only bees on Formosa that give honey."1


To collect these new tolls, the company turned to the same people who had helped establish the colony: Chinese entrepreneurs. It sold them all manner of tax-collection rights. It also sold them economic monopolies, the most important of which was the village leasehold, conferring sole rights to trade in particular aboriginal villages. Being monopolists, the village leaseholders were able to demand ever higher prices from the aborigines, who had nowhere else to sell their goods. But even the leaseholders faced inflation: They bid so eagerly for monopoly rights that they created a speculation bubble, which led some to bankruptcy and others to rebellion. In the meantime, the masses of Chinese colonists were beginning to suffer under a newly instituted residency tax. Company soldiers exploited their right to check for residency permits, harassing travelers on the roads or conducting surprise night searches of Chinese residences. Chinese colonists complained to the governor and the Council of Formosa, but the practices continued. Some colonists began to feel it was time for a rebellion.


Raising Revenues


In the late 1630s, as the costs of administering Formosa mounted, officials in Batavia began urging the governor and the Council of Formosa to increase their revenue.2 In response, officials on Taiwan began to consider ways to draw income from the colony. One of the first things they did was to collect voluntary donations from Chinese colonists. In 1639, the governor wrote about a collection taken to fund a new house in Sinkan for missionary Robertus Junius: " Junius . . . has had a house built in Sinkan, costing around 1600 reals, of which the company will pay not a single penny, but [whose construction funds were] rather contributed voluntarily by the Chinese who live in villages of our [aboriginal] allies."3 But voluntary contributions were unpredictable, and so officials in Taiwan considered imposing new taxes. They had already imposed several early levies, such as the thiende, or "one tenth" tax, which was collected on venison, Chinese beer, salt, mullet (both fresh and salted), arrack (a rice or palm liquor), bricks and mortar, and the selling of houses and buildings, as well as on licenses for deer hunting and fishing.4 Yet these revenues were not enough to offset increasing costs. Officials therefore proposed a new tax on Chinese immigrants: the hoofdbrief, or residency-permit tax.


The idea of the hoofdbrief was not new. It was standard practice in other colonies in East and Southeast Asia, most notably Batavia, Manila, and Macao. Nor was it even new to Taiwan. In 1626, just two years after they had established the colony, Dutch officials had instituted a residency-license requirement, although its purpose was not pecuniary: "The Council of Formosa has decided, in order to tell the pirates apart from the traders and workers, to issue an edict requiring that all Chinese who live or trade inland among the aborigines come here [to the fortress] and acquire a license permitting them to live in the land. They need pay nothing for this."5 This early residence permit was designed not to tax colonists but to keep tabs on them. In the decade and a half after it was established, several motions were made to charge for the permit, but they were always rejected in the interest of attracting Chinese colonists. Indeed, officials believed that they could lure skilled Chinese from Macao to Taiwan precisely because their colony offered free residence whereas Macao did not.6 When the company put up placards to invite Chinese immigration to Taiwan, a main selling point was that residence would be tax-free for at least four years.7


In 1639, however, company officials decided to reconsider charging a residency fee. This would not, they argued, dissuade Chinese from settling in Taiwan, for Chinese agriculture was flourishing, and Taiwan offered plenty of opportunities. As one official wrote, "all the Chinese who reside in Tayouan and the [nearby] countryside do not intend to stay forever, but rather leave after three years or less to return to China. Those who do not leave . . . send their earnings home to their wives and children, and therefore it is not likely that they would leave Taiwan for other areas just because of hoofdgeld."8 Rather, he continued, they prefer to be close to China so that "daily, indeed hourly, they can receive tidings from their children, friends, and relatives."9 These officials reckoned that if each Chinese resident paid just one-eighth of a real per month, the company's income would increase by 12,000 reals per year.10 If the hoofdbrief were cheap enough, they thought, it would have no effect on immigration to Taiwan. The Council of the Indies in Batavia, eager for new sources of income in Taiwan, decided to allow the hoofdgeld.11


The first collection took place in August and September of 1640. At a quarter of a real per month, the fee was considerable, but "after a bit of arguing and complaining" some 3,568 Chinese paid the tax, and from September through February of that year the company collected 3,891 reals, indicating that an average of 4,450 Chinese paid the tax each month.12 Only males were assessed the tax, and nearly all payers lived around Zeelandia and in Saccam, for it was difficult to force Chinese living in inland villages to pay (although the company tried, by means of missionary Robertus Junius).13 In any case, by the fifteenth day of each month, all Chinese colonists were required to acquire a license, or hoofdbrief, indicating that its bearer had paid the hoofdgeld.14


Because the Chinese used the lunar calendar, the Dutch raised a flag above the tax office at the beginning of each month, so that Chinese subjects could not feign ignorance. They also dispatched messengers on the twelfth day of each month to alert colonists that only three days remained before the expiration of the previous month's licenses.15 One might ask why the hoofdbrieven were valid only for one month, since the company might have saved itself administrative work by selling hoofdbrieven of six months or a year. In fact, hoofdbrieven were intended not just to raise money for the company but also to keep track of Chinese colonists. Hoofdbrief holders who wished to move to a different village were supposed to notify a Dutch official. Failure to do so carried the same penalty as being found without a hoofdbrief—a fine of four reals for those who could pay and, for those who could not, imprisonment and a public beating.16 The rules were enforced by soldiers who carried out inspections. Those caught without documentation were fined on the spot or sent to Zeelandia for punishment.17


It is hard to know how heavily this tax fell on the Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan. Han Jiabao suggests that for an average laborer the hoofdgeld amounted to about 10 percent of take-home pay.18 To reach this figure he uses an average daily pay rate of one eighth of a real, which corresponds with figures in company documents.19 But we know little about these laborers. What kinds of expenses did they have? In the company's administration, wages were often garnished for food, supplies, and clothing. Perhaps Chinese laborers suffered similar deductions, either from the company or from their Chinese bosses. Or perhaps laborers were in debt to their bosses or to whomever it was who arranged their passage, as are many of today's Chinese migrants to Europe, Australia, and the Americas. Thus, 10 percent, although a slight burden (and lower than the traditional 12 percent ideal taxation rate of traditional China), might still have fallen hard on some laborers. At the same time, others may have paid no residency tax at all, since entrepreneurs sometimes received free hoofdbrieven for their workers as a favor from the Dutch administration. In 1648, for example, officials in Batavia advised Taiwan to "help the Chinese Sacqua, who is working on silk cultivation, by giving free hoofdbrieven and freedom from other taxes to all the Chinese that work with him [on silk] until such time as this newly born child can walk by itself."20 Until we discover new sources—perhaps in the National Archives of Indonesia—the lives of the Chinese laborers on Taiwan will remain mysterious.21


In any case, Chinese settlers soon began to complain about the hoofdbrief system. They were required to show their licenses to any Dutch person who asked, a policy susceptible to abuse. Chinese colonists complained that Dutchmen accosted them in fields or on roads and, under the pretext of a hoofdbrief inspection, demanded money from them, "which the poor people frequently paid, in order to be released and not be brought . . . to the fortress."22 In response, the Council of Formosa decided to change the policy. In 1646 council members resolved to put up placards informing Chinese colonists that they now had the right not to show their hoofdbrieven to anyone except company officials and hoofdbrief inspectors, who could be recognized by a special medal worn round the neck.23


Despite this measure, complaints continued, and in 1647 the governor asked for advice from a group of people who were becoming increasingly prominent in the colony: the ten cabessas (also called hoofden) of the Chinese community of Formosa.24 The company had long relied on prominent Chinese colonists for advice and other services, but in 1645 company documents begin referring to ten cabessas. The cabessa system seems similar to the baojia (保甲) or lijia (里甲) system, which was used in mainland China for taxation and public safety: Ten family heads were responsible for keeping order over and raising taxes from a hundred families in their county.25 As was the case in China, the selection of these local headmen was left to the local community, although the company had the authority to remove cabessas from office.26 Moreover, like baojia heads in China, the cabessas were generally from the richest and most powerful families. Most were active in the colony's Chinese trade, with contacts among merchants in Fujian. All were involved in the company's management on the island itself, both economically (many were tax farmers) and administratively. In 1645, when the company set up a Board of Aldermen (College van Schepenen or Schepenbanck) to help administer justice in the colony, its two Chinese members were drawn from the cabessas. And so it is not surprising that, when the governor in 1647 wanted advice from Chinese inhabitants, he turned to the cabessas. They offered their services with alacrity: They would gladly be responsible for selling 8,000 hoofdbrieven each month so long as the company gave them another 2,000 hoofdbrieven for free.27 The Council of Formosa declined the offer. It was more lucrative for the company to collect the hoofdgeld itself.


Although Formosan officials told soldiers to be gentler in hoofdbrief searches, they continued to receive complaints. The governor-general in Batavia himself wrote a letter to Taiwan about the issue, describing how he had heard complaints about soldiers taking Chinese into custody. According to reports, "soldiers not only confiscate their hoofdbrieven, in order to prosecute them and demand a fine, but also take their meager possessions, seizing anything they can get their hands on, whether chickens, pigs, rice, clothing, bedding, or furniture."28 He considered action against such depredations extremely important because the colony of Taiwan was so dependent on Chinese colonists, who must, he said, be treated well:

It is no good policy to treat so badly that immigrant nation, which has come over to us through lack of a better alternative. One should care for these people so that they might have a reason to stay where they are, under a bearable government. They will choose to stay if they are treated according to our good intentions and maxims, leaving behind the slavery of their own land. If, however, because of cruelties, they should choose . . . to leave Formosa, the company would be badly hurt. The company has had high hopes for Formosa, and we order you to take this issue to heart and make it one of your highest priorities and severely punish the guilty parties, evildoers, and breakers of our good orders, without regard to their station or status.29

The governor of Formosa agreed that the Dutch must maintain the good will of its Chinese colonists, for "the company would not survive here without them," and he promised to do his best to control the soldiers, but the soldiers continued their harsh inspections.30 In 1651 Chinese cabessas appeared before the Council of Formosa to request that the "inexcusable violence and extortion" be ended once and for all, "so that from now on [the soldiers] can no longer surprise [Chinese colonists] in their homes at night . . . and beat and rob them . . . under the pretext that they are searching for hoofdbrieven."31


Company officials considered their options. One alternative was to end the hoofdgeld system altogether. The Council of the Indies in Batavia nearly decided to do so, for they had recently abolished Batavia's own hoofdgeld system. But whereas the hoofdgeld brought relatively little income in Batavia, in Taiwan it had become enormously lucrative. Officials felt they could not deprive the company of the revenue.32 Instead they reconsidered selling the right to collect hoofdbrieven to the cabessas. In this way, anger at the policy might be turned away from the company. This proposal, too, they rejected, on the grounds that the poorer Chinese would suffer more under their own nation than under the Dutch: "They are not generally so civil to each other as we are, but rather rule—indeed tyrannize—the common people very strictly . . . according to the manner of their mandarins in China."33 They decided, once again, to keep the system in place as it was, with the exception that night inspections would thenceforth be forbidden.34 Tensions continued to mount. Nor was the hoofdgeld the only revenue source that was causing trouble.


Another source of company revenues was leases, or pachten, a term of such importance in Dutch Taiwan that it gave rise to a Taiwanese term, pak (贌), which remained in use even after the Dutch period ended.35 The English term "lease" is too limited to indicate the variety of things to which the word pachten could be applied. Usually what was leased was an activity, such as the right to collect a toll or make or sell a particular product, and the purchase of the lease implied that the lessee had sole rights to that activity: If others attempted to take the same toll or make or sell the same product, the company was obliged to intervene to preserve the lessee's profits. Leases were usually sold for a period of one year, often at an annual auction, sometimes with part of the price paid up front and the rest later (usually when the lease expired). The first lease was established in 1636, when the company sold to the highest bidder the right to farm the island of Lamey (Xiao Liu Qiu 小琉球), which had recently been cleared of inhabitants.36


In the late 1630s, the Dutch began to implement a series of new leases to increase revenues. Officials in Batavia suggested that there was money to be made from gambling, and in 1637 they offered to sell gambling rights on Formosa to a Chinese merchant named Bencon (蘇鳴崗) for 500 reals.37 The Council of Formosa, however, rejected Batavia's decision.38 So Batavia again ordered officials in Taiwan to allow gambling, "without further delay."39 The governor felt he had little choice but to allow gambling, but he called a meeting of the Council of Formosa to discuss the matter. Six Chinese merchants and three Chinese translators presented a formal petition against gambling. They said that merchants in China would be reluctant to entrust money to agents coming to Taiwan if they knew that their agents might gamble it away. Indeed, they warned, gambling led to piracy because many young men turned to robbery to pay their gambling debts. According to the petitioners, the notorious pirates Li Kuiqi (李魁奇) and Liu Xiang (劉香) had become pirates because of gambling debts. The governor and the Council of Formosa took the brave step of countermanding Batavia's order, on the grounds that their bosses "were not correctly informed."40 Batavia reluctantly gave in, and gambling remained illegal in Formosa.41


There was no doubt that Dutch officials needed more revenues on Taiwan, so the governor and the Council of Formosa began to lease the rights to collect taxes and tolls. The 10 percent tax on rice was the most important such lease. As we have seen, beginning in the mid-1630s the company had guaranteed that Chinese who came to Taiwan to plant rice would pay no taxes on their harvests. By the early 1640s agriculture had been securely established on the island, and in 1643 company officials found that, with rice prices higher than normal in China, many farmers who had been growing sugar (from which the company made large trading profits) had switched to rice. The Dutch officials decided therefore to levy a 10 percent tax on rice and farmed out the collection of the tax to Chinese settlers.42 In September 1644, the rice fields around Saccam were measured and divided into four parts.43 The following month the company auctioned the rights to collect taxes for these areas as well as for fields in the villages closest to the Bay of Tayouan.44 Individual fields were leased separately, and those who made a bid were required to pay half of the price immediately and half six months later. Thereafter, the rice-tax auction was held each year in October.45 Farmers who did not cooperate with the lessees faced stiff fines, of which lessees received a portion.46

Table 1
Auction Prices for the Lease of the Tax on Rice Harvests

Year Reals Total Area
Average price
per morgen
1644 1,640
1645 1,690
1647 6,370 3,299    1.9
1648 16,590 4,175.5 4.0
1649 2,801
1650 9,345 2,842    3.3
1651 6,208 1,458.5 4.3
1652 6,949
1653 8,901
1654 10,921 2,201    5.0
1655 12,995 3,101.5 4.2
1656 7,565 3,771.2 2   
1657 15,935 3,737.3 4.3

Notes: In 1646 the rice-tax lease was not held because of a harvest failure. A morgen (also known as a jia) was roughly 8516 square meters, or about 2.1 acres.

Sources: For the following years, data come from Zeelandia Dagregisters:

1644-vol. 2, F: 184
1647-vol. 2, J: 641
1648-vol. 3, A: 376
1650-vol. 3, B: 1100

For other years, data are from Han Jiabao, Helan shidai Taiwan de jingji, tudi, yu shuiwu (Taipei: Appleseed Press, 2002), 174.


Income from the rice tax rose quickly. The first auction produced 1640 reals, and the auction five years later brought ten times that amount (see table 1). Revenues from the auctions depended on the amount of land under cultivation, the number of harvests per year in the relevant fields, and the price of rice. From 1647 to 1648, for example, total revenues almost tripled whereas the amount of land under production increased by only 25 percent. This disparity resulted from an increase in rice prices because of war and famine on the coasts of China and a concomitant increase in immigration to Taiwan. Such fluctuations were unusual, however, and the rice tax generally brought a steady income. It was also easy to administer. The labor involved in calculating the amount of tax owed was left to the lessees, in whose interest it was to collect as much as possible. And since the lease was sold at public auctions, the company could be reasonably sure that it was getting its money's worth, since competition among bidders would keep prices competitive. To be sure, the company did have to ensure compliance with the tax. Farmers sometimes planted secret fields, with the result that company officials had to institute a licensing system for new fields.47 Other times they tried hiding their rice to avoid paying taxes.48 On the whole, however, the lease provided easy revenues for the company and became one of its major sources of income on Taiwan.


The lease on the rice tax was not, however, the most important lease. Far more significant was the village-leasehold system, which conferred monopoly rights for trading with aboriginal villages. As we have seen, the company had tried various measures to make money from Sino-aboriginal trade before finally settling on the policy of licensing Chinese hunters. But the hunting-license system left large parts of the Sino-aboriginal trading economy outside company control, as smugglers vied with the company for influence in aboriginal villages. As we saw in the case of the village of Favorolang, the Council of Formosa resorted to draconian measures, such as the resolution of 1642 that forbade all Chinese to live in villages north and south of the areas of tightest company control—that is, north of Mattau and Tirosen and south of Tavocan.49


The resolution did not forbid Sino-aboriginal trade altogether. It was, rather, an attempt to make the company an intermediary, or licenser, of such trade: "Those who wish to conduct trade with the aborigines shall be required to purchase a license [pascedul] in Tayouan which (lasting one month and costing one real) will cover one trading sampan in which the licensee must reside while conducting his trade. . . . Traders shall be required to obtain a new license each month."50 Those who could not afford or did not want to buy the license were required to move to Saccam, Zeelandia, or one of the villages nearest to the Bay of Tayouan.51 The Dutch enforced the provision rigorously. Dutch officials who were stationed in outlying villages tried to persuade aborigines to help identify and capture "illegal Chinese" so they could be sent to Fort Zeelandia for punishment.52 Zeelandia also periodically sent teams northward and southward to look for "illegal Chinese" in aboriginal villages. Despite these measures, Chinese pirates and smugglers continued to thwart company rules. The company tried new measures. In 1643, a resolution of the Council of Formosa forbade all Chinese junks, including fishing junks, to anchor in southern Taiwan for any reason if they did not have a pass. More important, it forbade them "to trade with the aborigines or enter their houses without express permission."53 The penalty for infraction was severe: the loss of the junk and cargo and the imprisonment of its captain and crew. But such policies proved impractical, because they did not really help the company profit from the aboriginal trade. Moreover, aborigines and Chinese traders alike repeatedly requested that Chinese be allowed to live in aboriginal villages.


Therefore, in 1644 the company instituted what would become one of its greatest moneymakers on Taiwan: the village-leasehold system.54 "It is decided," reads the text of the resolution, "in order to please the aborigines as much as possible and increase revenues, that under limited conditions . . . and provisionally, as a test, six, eight, or ten Chinese, depending on the size of the village, shall be allowed, with the approval of the inhabitants, to live and trade in the northern villages . . . so long as they pay a good sum of money each year for the privilege."55 The test was a rousing success. Not only were the aborigines happy with the decision (a company employee reported "that the elders were extremely grateful that we had decided to allow a few good Chinese to live and trade in their villages"), but the Chinese traders were ecstatic. The system was soon brought to other villages—first to those nearest the Bay of Tayouan, in such places as Mattau, Sinkan, and Soulang, and then to those in the deer-rich northern areas, such as Gielem, Davole, and Dorenap.56


The village-leasehold system became a mainstay of Dutch rule. Every April, entrepreneurs—nearly all were Chinese—bid openly for sole trading rights in each village.57 After paying half the purchase price, the buyer was given a silver medal on which the name of the village was inscribed. Worn around the neck, it was a sign that he and he alone was permitted to trade in that village.58 The resolution stipulated that the leaseholder (pachter) was allowed "to trade [in the village] with textiles [cangans], rice, salt, and other kinds of Chinese merchandise, as well as to buy such goods as the aforementioned villages produce. Other Chinese . . . will not be allowed to conduct any trade there without express permission from the leaseholder."59 The maintenance of the monopoly was key to the system's success, and it was therefore in the company's interest to protect the monopolies. Eight months after the first auction, company officials put up placards forbidding any but leaseholders to trade in the villages.60 Moreover, they rigorously punished any Chinese they found trading without proper authorization.61 That the leaseholders themselves wanted to keep rivals from their turf made this task easier. The village-leasehold system was so effective in controlling the deer economy that the company officials abolished the hunting-license system altogether and, after 1645, Chinese hunters were no longer even allowed to hunt deer. The job of hunting was returned to the aborigines. Unfortunately, they did not regain their previous prosperity: They suffered more under the monopolists than from the hunters.


The leaseholders, however, could make spectacular profits, and the system caught on quickly. Traders bid so eagerly at annual auctions that average lease prices increased tenfold between 1645 and 1650. Large villages located close to rich hunting fields were the most sought after. Indeed, so valuable were some villages, such as Favorolang and Mattau, that speculators made money by buying and then re-selling lease rights. For example, in 1647, a man bid 1,240 reals for the Favorolang lease. He sold it the very same day to someone else and made a profit of 400 reals.62 The company took advantage of the system's popularity by making more and more village leases available for sale. In 1645 and 1646, the first years in which auctions were held, thirteen leases were put on the auction block. In 1647 the number increased to twenty-three, and in 1648 to thirty-one.


What was the trade on which such profits were based? Vessels departing from the Bay of Tayouan toward aboriginal villages nearly always carried salt, clothing, raw textiles, sugar, and tobacco; often they also carried iron pots and pans, knives, and arak, and sometimes they carried rice and other grains. Those arriving from aboriginal villages carried mostly deer products but also rattan and wood.63 This was a continuance of traditional Sino-aboriginal trade, but with a crucial difference: The monopolists could demand much higher prices for their wares.

Table 2
Auction Prices of Village Leaseholds for Selected Villages

1645 1646 1647 1648 1650 1651
Sinkan 200 305 420 610 980 300
Soelang 305 410 460 800 1,900 875
Tavocan 145 200 330 400 375 200
Baccloangh 210 315 440 700 1,400 650
Davole 360 500 640 1,400 5,000 3,500
Gilim 310 410 520 820 3,550 1,300
Mattau 500 690 900 1,400 2,850 1,200
Dorcko 140 330 480 600 1,250 450
Dorenap 252 330 530 740 2,600 650
Tivorangh 140 340 500 740 1,500 550
Favorolang 400 400 1,240 2,600 7,550 5,550
Tirosen 285 650 1,100 1,800 5,250 3,850
Dalivo 115 400 420 750 3,000 1,900
Average 259 406 614 1,028 2,862 1,613

Source: Data come from Zeelandia Dagregisters:

1645-vol. 2, G: 674
1646-vol. 2, H: 324-25
1647-vol. 2, J: 575-76
1648-vol. 3, A: 314
1650-vol. 3, B: 1017-19
1651-vol. 3, C: 684.


Because leaseholders could demand high prices, aborigines faced stiff inflation, a problem compounded by the growing scarcity of deer. Since deer products were the main means of exchange in the Sino-aboriginal economy, reduction in income from them, combined with the drastic increase in prices for Chinese goods, resulted in a sharp decline in aboriginal standards of living.64 The inhabitants of the villages nearest the Bay of Tayouan were affected most severely. Indeed, the scarcity of deer led to increased disputes over hunting territories, which Dutch officials usually resolved by forcing aborigines to share ever poorer fields. Again, this meant fewer deer could be caught each year, resulting in a concomitant decrease in purchasing power.


Aboriginal elders complained to company officials about high prices. The Council of Formosa's first response was to set price controls. But, as leaseholders pointed out, transport costs varied from one part of the island to another, so prices had to be considered separately for each area, leading to bewildering and complex regulations.65Moreover, a leaseholder could simply offer poorer-quality goods at the set price. It is no surprise, then, that price gouging continued, and the amounts paid for leases in the annual auctions continued to increase. The auctions of 1648 and 1649 brought record revenues. Company officials began to realize that the problem could be solved only by addressing its root cause: the "monopoly of the Chinese, who sell their wares as expensively as they want, in spite of the fact that prices have been set for all goods, forcing them to trade their venison and hides for far less than their worth, which the aborigines have no choice to do because they are not allowed to trade with anyone besides the leaseholders. In this way . . . the Formosans . . . will turn against the company."66


An obvious solution was to increase competition among Chinese traders. Indeed, the company had recently begun experimenting with periodic market days. In April 1648, for example, the Council of Formosa decided to hold a market every Friday in Saccam and expressly invited aboriginal inhabitants of the nearest villages (Tavocan, Baccluan, Soulang, Sinkan, and Mattau) to come and "sell items for as much as they want."67 The first market, held on May 15, 1648, was a success: "Already this first time a good number of natives, as well as Chinese, came from the countryside, each bringing something to sell."68 It was still necessary to protect the aborigines from Chinese exploitation, and the council put up placards forbidding Chinese traders from standing outside the village and trying to circumvent the market by buying aborigines' goods before the market began.69 Nonetheless, this market day appears to have changed transaction conditions in the nearby aboriginal villages, for leaseholders from there complained that they could not make nearly as money from their leases as before, prompting Dutch officials to hold a new auction for the leases for these villages.70 Although the market brought relief to inhabitants of villages near the Bay of Tayouan, those living farther away still faced monopoly prices.71


For this reason some officials in Batavia favored eliminating the village-leasehold system altogether, "for the Chinese . . . are even more deceptive and deceitful than the Jews, and will not sell their goods . . . for a more civil price unless [the company] stopped selling leases altogether."72 Several VOC employees, both missionaries and administrators, wrote letters to Batavia to protest the village-leasehold system. "Who has ever heard of such extortion?" wrote members of the Formosan church council (kerckenraedt), and they referred to the village-leasehold system as a "cancer."73 Officials in Batavia became convinced that the situation had to be ameliorated. "We realize more and more," wrote the governor-general, "that we are growing fat from other people's food, that we reap without having sown, taking the fruits, income, and benefits from the villages, which the natives of the land deserve for themselves . . . and we would not be surprised if the village-leasehold system were ended altogether."74 But because the system brought in such tremendous revenues, the governor-general felt he should ask for advice from his superiors in the Netherlands, who considered the matter closely.


It would not be an easy decision. If the lease system were abolished, the company might still suffer from unregulated Sino-aboriginal trade, since "the arrival of great numbers of Chinese (which we have from the beginning found to be detrimental) would make it difficult to keep order both among the aborigines and among the Chinese themselves."75 Indeed, the lease system had been designed not merely to raise money for the company but also to control Chinese immigrants, which it did quite well: Chinese traders who bought monopolies did their best to keep others out of their villages and thereby helped the company keep track of Chinese settlers. If the village-leasehold system were abolished, the company would have to find an alternative to unregulated Sino-aboriginal trade. One Dutch official proposed that the company build shops in each village and trade with the aborigines directly. In this way, he believed, aborigines would no longer need Chinese traders, and income from the lease system would be replaced by direct income from the village shops.76 Most officials realized, however, that Sino-aboriginal trade could not be stopped: "Its scale is large and many places are very far away."77 The best the company could do was to have a share in the trade and to control it as much as possible. Moreover, abrogation of the village-leasehold system would hurt company profits. A letter from Batavia to Amsterdam neatly sums up company discussions: "[The aborigines] would not be able to live without help from the Chinese, who, in turn, cannot be kept from exploiting the aborigines as much as they are able, whether they pay the company for the privilege or not. Therefore, all things considered, it is best that the company keep enjoying its [lease revenues] in order to help pay for the heavy costs associated with the island."78 The company's directors in Amsterdam elected to preserve the village-leasehold system.


The governor and the Council of Formosa did, however, come up with a policy to increase competition. In 1650 aborigines were told that they were no longer required to trade only with the leaseholder of their own village. Now they could take their goods to Tayouan or any other villages they wished, to trade with whichever leaseholders they chose. The leaseholders, for their part, were required to "stay in their own villages and wait there for whatever is brought to them. Similarly, they were not allowed to leave the bounds of their village to trade in the fields or elsewhere."79 This resolution may have helped aborigines, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of lease bidders. The auction that followed it saw by far the highest prices paid for leases up to that point. Prices for the thirteen oldest leases were on average double those of the previous year. What accounted for the increase? A new governor-general attributed it to the pax hollandica: "Because of the company, [the natives] now live in peace with each other and are beginning to become more civilized, turning their hands to the plow in order to have a bit more than just their daily needs, with which they had been content up to now."80 But he was wrong. In fact, the village-leasehold system was in the midst of a classic speculatory bubble.


It was not long before the bubble burst. Lease payments were usually made in two installments. Half the sum was due at the auction and the other half at the end of the lease year. Not long after the auction of 1650, it emerged that the previous year's leaseholders were unable to pay their second installments. They wrote a letter to the Council of Formosa to ask for leniency, complaining that prices for venison in China had fallen to half their previous level. If, they wrote, they sold their inventory now to pay the rest of the lease price to the company, they would go bankrupt. They therefore asked for a deferment. The company granted the request and decreased its toll on venison exports to make the selling of venison cheaper. Yet it was clear that the prices had become ridiculously inflated. Company officials in Taiwan felt they knew who was to blame: "The leaseholders, who at the time of the auction were made aware of all relevant circumstances, proceeded very carelessly and drove up the leases to excessively high prices, even though the [leases] could not possibly be worth as much as they paid."81


The following year—1651—the Council indicated that it would no longer be lenient to debtors. In the 1651 auction, those who had still not paid their debts from two years before (the auction of 1649) were not allowed to bid at all; those who had not paid their debts from 1650 were allowed to bid but were told that they would not be allowed to begin trading in leasehold villages until all past debts were paid. The auction of 1651 saw a sharp price correction. The Council of Formosa had decided to extend the lease system to villages in the far north of Taiwan, in the area of Tamsuy (Danshui) and Quelang (Jilong), and lease bids remained, on the whole, well above those of 1649. Given these favorable circumstances, the village-leasehold auction of 1651 brought in more revenues than any auction up to that point.82 But the price of venison in China continued to drop, falling below 10 reals per picul. Most of the previous year's leaseholders were unable to pay the second half of their lease payment, and, after trying to deal with the debtors by harsh methods, the company was ultimately forced to forgive part of the debt.83 Although no detailed data survive, records indicate that the auction of 1652 brought in lower revenues than did auctions of past years. At the same time, company officials began again seriously to consider eliminating the lease system altogether, "to escape the blame of tyranny that the company has gained for itself by the leasing of the villages."84 There was talk of replacing the leases with markets, starting, as a test, with the nearest villages. These considerations were cut short by rebellion.




Toward the late 1640s, Chinese colonists complained more and more about the actions of Dutch soldiers who searched for hoofdbrieven. At the same time, they also suffered as a result of increased population and high rice prices. Some years many went hungry. Certain Chinese leaders tried to persuade the Chinese of Formosa to turn their allegiance away from the Dutch. In 1643 Dutch officials heard that a pirate named Kinwang had begun attacking aboriginal villages and was handing out his own rattan staves, claiming that he ruled the north and that the Dutch ruled the south of Formosa.85 Over the following months he and his adherents sailed the seas around Taiwan, occasionally striking inland to sack aboriginal villages. In early 1644, when his junk was stranded in the Bay of Lonkjauw, inhabitants of the village captured him and turned him over to Dutch authorities.86 After he was executed on April 2, 1644, the company discovered a document among the possessions of his second in command. It told how the band had tried to gain as many Chinese adherents as possible on Formosa, sending word in all directions, promising to pay people well and asking, "What do we want with the Hollanders, who give us no freedom, who collect taxes on everything, who make us pay hooftgelt and do not let us hunt or do anything else without their license? Come here and I will protect you and put to death any aborigines who seek to do you harm."87 The Dutch soon neutralized this pirate band, but they did not remove the frustration that Kinwang sought to capitalize on. Years later, that frustration exploded into rebellion.


On the evening of September 7, 1652, seven Chinese headmen asked for an emergency audience with the governor. They told him that a Chinese farmer, Gouqua Faijit (Guo Huaiyi 郭懷一), had gathered an army of peasants to attack the Dutch settlements at Saccam.88 The governor and his officers were surprised: "We thought we were sitting in the midst of a peaceful people." They thanked the Chinese cabessas and gave orders to put Fort Zeelandia in a state of defense. Company soldiers searched the Chinese houses near the fortress for weapons but found nothing suspicious. The governor also sent a constable across the Bay of Tayouan to reconnoiter the lands around Saccam. Riding through the warm night air, the constable, approaching Saccam, came to a rice field known as the Amsterdamse Polder, where he saw "as many Chinese as grass in the field."89 Some raised an alarm and attacked him, but he turned his horse and galloped back to Zeelandia. He went straight to the governor and made his report. The Chinese, he said, were preparing for war, armed with bamboo spears and harvest knives. It was a tense time: "That night there was great fear in the town, such that everyone gathered together their best possessions and their wives and children and sought refuge within the fortress."90


When they awoke the next morning they learned that the rebels had attacked the company's house in Saccam, crying, "Kill, kill the Dutch dogs!"91 Most of the Dutch who lived in Saccam had found refuge in the company's horse stables, the most defensible structure in the village. Others had been captured by the rebels, who "cut out the nose and ears as well as the eyes and manliness of some . . . , and so, having put the heads on bamboos, carried them around in triumph."92 The governor sent a company of Dutch musketeers by boat across the Bay of Tayouan. On their approach the rebels, who had encircled the horse stables, turned and approached the shore, four thousand strong, trying to prevent the company's soldiers from landing. The one hundred twenty soldiers had to march ashore through waist-high water and so were a vulnerable target. They maintained their discipline, however, and, wading toward shore in tight formation, shot salvo after salvo at the Chinese rebels. When they reached dry land they were still shooting and in formation, and the rebels scattered before them. Dutch officials sent messengers north and south to summon aboriginal warriors, who were told they would be rewarded with cangans (colorful Indian textiles) if they helped fight against the Chinese. The aborigines responded en masse. Over the next two days the Dutch soldiers and the aborigines together killed around five hundred Chinese, many of whom had hidden themselves in the sugarcane fields.93


On the eleventh of September, company officials learned that the rebels had gathered their forces, four or five thousand strong, near small bay five miles north of Saccam. Company soldiers, accompanied by six hundred aboriginal warriors, approached the bay. The rebels fought bravely, waving "countless banners," but they could not withstand the company's musketeers.94 After a brief, spirited resistance they fled, pursued by aborigines and company soldiers. Some two thousand were killed. The rest fled south, only to be met and slaughtered by a large force of aborigines from southern Taiwan. In total, some four thousand Chinese residents of Taiwan were killed by company soldiers and their aboriginal allies. It was an inhabitant of the village of Sinkan, the company's oldest ally on Formosa, who shot dead the rebels' leader, Guo Huaiyi (郭懷一). He delivered the head to the Dutch, who had it "displayed on a stake . . . to frighten the Chinese and as a sign of victory over those dastardly traitors."95


This rebellion, with at least five thousand adherents, was large and well organized, comprising perhaps a quarter of the Chinese who lived in Taiwan. Moreover, it was a peasant rebellion, whose leaders were rich farmers in the lands around Saccam and whose followers were agricultural laborers who worked these lands.96 Of the various occupations available to Chinese settlers in Dutch Taiwan, those associated with agriculture were the least invested in Dutch rule. To be sure, they had originally been dependent on Dutch aid and tax breaks. But by the 1640s the company had abrogated agricultural subsidies and subventions. The livelihood of farmers was uncertain, being dependent on the vagaries of the weather and economic conditions in China. At the same time, they were preyed upon by Dutch soldiers, who, under the pretext of checking for hoofdbrieven, detained them and stole their belongings. The governor-general in Batavia and the highest officials in Formosa tried repeatedly to put an end to such ravages, but the soldiers were not to be stopped. The Chinese agriculturists thus had much to gain and, they probably felt, little to lose by rebelling. Suitably enough, their most prominent weapons were the knives they used to harvest rice. Yet the leaders of the rebellion may have had a different motivation. The rebellion's principal organizers appear to have been holders of village leases who owed money to the company. The rebellion most likely erupted because these indebted leaders combined forces with poorer agriculturists who were angry about hoofdbrief searches.97


The Chinese inhabitants of the town of Zeelandia, on the other hand, appear to have taken no part in the rebellion. Rigorous searches in Chinese houses near the fortress turned up neither weapons nor rebels.98 Moreover, the Chinese cabessas of Formosa, mostly merchants, warned Dutch officials about the plot. Indeed, there had been strife between the ordinary Chinese inhabitants of Tayouan and the cabessas. The previous year, officials in Batavia heard several complaints "in the name of the common Chinese on Tayouan and Formosa, their request being that, instead of ten cabessas, only one Captain be installed over them, because of the vexations and harassment that they receive from them, and because they must do tribute to ten instead of just to one."99 Thus it is not surprising that many of the cabessas quickly threw their lot in with the Dutch, warning them of the uprising well before it became a threat. Without this help, the Dutch might have been taken by surprise and events might have taken a different turn.


Equally important was the help of the aborigines, who hunted down Chinese rebels with alacrity. In a sense the aborigines had suffered more from Dutch occupation than the Chinese. Why did they choose to support the company instead of the rebels?



Note 1: Governor Nicolaes Verburg to Batavia, letter, VOC 1172: 466–91, quote at 472; cited in De Dagregisters van het Kasteel Zeelandia, Taiwan, 1629–1662, ed. Leonard Blussé et al., 4 vols. (The Hague: Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1986–2001), 3:96–97 (cited hereafter as Zeelandia Dagregisters). back

Note 2: See, for example, Governor-General Antonio van Diemen and the Council of the Indies to Johan van der Burch, governor of Formosa, letter, 30 June 1639, VOC 863: 365–75, esp. 367. Batavia also urged officials on Taiwan to increase revenues by trying to find gold deposits on Taiwan. 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), 165–218 (see also the two supplementary articles that follow). back

Note 3: Governor Johann van der Burch to Batavia, letter, 4 November 1639, VOC 1131: 424–547, esp. 525–26. back

Note 4: See also the discussions of Formosan revenues in Governor Johann van der Burch to Batavia, letter, 4 November 1639, VOC 1131: 424–547 (esp. 520–28); and the Report from Nicolaes Couckebacker Concerning His Trip to Tonkin and His Inspection Tour of the Company's Comptoir in Tayouan on the Island Formosa, 8 December 1639, VOC 1131: 222–315 (esp. 304–6). See also Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 18 May 1638, VOC 1128: 530–32; and Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, K: 476. back

Note 5: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 10 July 1626, VOC 1093: 371–71b. back

Note 6: Governor Johan van der Burch to Batavia, letter, 5 October 1636, VOC 1120: 288–323, esp. 307–8; Governor Hans Putmans to Batavia, letter, 7 October 1636, VOC 1120: 252–82, esp. 263–64; Governor Hans Putmans for Johan van der Burch, letter of advice, 10 November 1636, VOC 1120: 19–34, esp. 23; Governor Johann van der Burch to Batavia, letter, 28 January 1640, VOC 1133: 177–98, esp. 182. back

Note 7: Governor Johann van der Burch to Batavia, letter, 5 October 1636, VOC 1120: 288–323, quote at 307–8. back

Note 8: Report from Nicolaes Couckebacker, 8 December 1639, VOC 1131: 222–315, quote at 304–5. back

Note 9: Report from Nicolaes Couckebacker, 8 December 1639, VOC 1131: 222–315, esp. 305. back

Note 10: The question of exchange rates was exceedingly complex in the early modern period. Although actual rates varied widely, in seventeenth-century Taiwan a real appears to have been worth around 56 Dutch stuivers and so was worth about two-thirds of a tael. See VOC 11207 ("Uytrekening van de Goude en Silvere Munts Waardye, inhout der maten en swaarte de gewigten van Indien" Tot Middelburg, gedrukt by Johannes Meertens, Drucker van de Ed. Geoctroyeerde Oost-Indische Compagnie, Anno 1691). (Thanks to Paul van Dyke for a transcription of this useful document.) For an introduction to early modern currency and exchange rates, see John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775: A Handbook (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, 1978). back

Note 11: Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Paulus Traudenius, letter, 13 June 1640, VOC 864: 236–66, esp. 255. back

Note 12: Dagh-Register Gehouden int Casteel Batavia vant Passerende daer ter Plaetse als over Geheel Nederlandts-India, ed. A. van der Chijs et al. (Batavia; The Hague: Landsdrukkerij / Martinus Nijhoff, 1887–1903), 1640–41, 6 December 1640, p. 113 (cited hereafter as Batavia Dagregisters). back

Note 13: See Missionary Robertus Junius to Governor-General Antonio van Diemen in Batavia, letter, 21 October 1641, VOC 1140: 210–13, esp. 212. back

Note 14: The rate was raised slightly in 1645. See Han Jiabao, Helan shidai Taiwan de jingji, tudi, yu shuiwu 荷蘭時代臺灣的經濟土地與稅務 (Taipei: Appleseed Press 播種者文化, 2002), 144. back

Note 15: See Han Jiabao, Helan shidai, 143. back

Note 16: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 11 March 1643, VOC 1145: 430–33 (see also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 274). back

Note 17: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, D: 32; D: 33; D: 34; G: 662; G: 672. back

Note 18: Han Jiabao, Helan shidai, 144–45. back

Note 19: See, for example, Report from Nicolaes Couckebacker, 8 December 1639, VOC 1131: 222–315, esp. 305. back

Note 20: Cornelius van der Lijn and the Council of the Indies to Pieter Antonijsz. Overtwater, Governor of Taiwan, letter, 28 April 1648, VOC 872: 83–92, quote at 86. back

Note 21: One set of documents recently discovered in the Indonesian National Archives looks promising: the records of the Weesmeesteren, or Orphanage Board, of Formosa. They appear to provide a fuller picture of the financial holdings of Dutch citizens and their economic dealings with Chinese entrepreneurs. Weeskamer Zeelandia 1650, in Weeskamer Batavia 13; and Weeskamer Zeelandia 1655–60, in Weeskamer Batavia 19. Thanks to Diederick Kortlang of the National Archives of the Netherlands, who discovered these valuable sources. back

Note 22: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 27 March 1646, VOC 1160: 406. back

Note 23: Ibid. back

Note 24: See especially Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Pieter Overtwater, letter, 11 July 1647, VOC 871: 287–313, esp. 312. back

Note 25: Recent research shows that the lijia/baojia systems were locally based. The central government did not name headmen for the lijia or baojia but left the decision to clan and lineage members. Indeed, the government could not even determine which families would compose li or bao. Zhao Xiuling 趙秀玲, Zhongguo Xiangli Zhidu 中國鄉里制度 (Beijing: Social Sciences Literature Press, 2002), cited in Kent G. Dent, "Fact or Fiction? Re-examination of Chinese Premodern Population Statistics," London School of Economics, Department of Economic History Working Papers, no. 76/03, 2003 (available as of January 2006 at Web Link). back

Note 26: See G. C. Molewijk, ed., 't Verwaerloosde Formosa, of waerachtig verhael, hoedanigh door verwaerloosinge der Nederlanders in Oost-Indien, het Eylant Formosa, van den Chinesen Mandorijn, ende Zeeroover Coxinja, overrompelt, vermeestert, ende ontweldight is geworden (1675; Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1991), 192–94. back

Note 27: Perhaps the earliest reference to the cabessas occurs in a letter of 1645 from Zheng Zhilong, which is addressed to them (see Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, G: 704). The establishment of the Council of Justice is discussed in the Orders or Instructions for Francois Caron for the New Council of Justice [schepenbanck] of the Town of Zeelandia, Tayouan, 6 December 1644, VOC 1149: 670–71. Han Jiabao (Pol Heyns) and Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中) are busy exploring the role of the cabessas in Taiwan. SeePol Heyns and Cheng Wei-chung, "A Portrait of Dutch Formosa's Cabessas," paper delivered at the International Association of Historians of Asia, Eighteenth Conference, 6–10 December 2004, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. back

Note 28: Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Pieter Overtwater, letter, 5 August 1649, VOC 873: 80–90, quote at 83. back

Note 29: Ibid. back

Note 30: Governor Nicolaes Verburg to Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn, letter, 18 November 1649, VOC 1172: 466–91, esp. 472 (cited in Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, pp. 96–97). back

Note 31: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, D: 318 (10 October 1651). back

Note 32: Governor-General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, 11 May 1651, VOC 875: 180–92, esp. 187–91. back

Note 33: Generale Missiven van Gouverneurs-Generaal en Raden aan Heren XVII der Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, ed. W. Ph. Coolhaas (The Hague: Martinus Nijhof, 1960–85), vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuycker, Demmer, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, et al. (4), 19 December 1651, p. 540. back

Note 34: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuycker, Demmer, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, et al. (4), 19 December 1651, p. 540 (see also VOC 1182: 178). back

Note 35: See Ang Kaim 翁佳音, "Difang huiyi pushe, yu wangtian: Taiwan jindai chuqi shi yanjiu biji (yi)" 地方會議, 贌 社, 與王田 -- 臺灣近代初期史研究筆記(一), Taiwan wenxian 臺灣文獻 51, no 3 (2000): 263–82, esp. 267. back

Note 36: For more on the Lamey genocide, see Ts’ao Yung-ho 曹永和 and Leonard Blussé, "Xiaoliuqiu yuanzhumin de xiaoshi" 小琉球原住民的消失, In Pingpu yanjiu lunwenji 平埔研究論文集, edited by Pan Inghai 潘英海 (Taipei: Academia Sinica, 1995), 413–44. back

Note 37: See Bernard Hoetink, "So Bing-Kong, het eerste hoofd der Chineezen te Batavia, 1619–1636," Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-, en volkenkunde 73 (1917): 344–415; see also Ang Kaim, "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 38: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 31 January 1637, VOC 1123: 796–97. back

Note 39: Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Johan van der Burch, letter, 30 June 1639, VOC 861: 365–75, quote at 367. back

Note 40: The petition of the Chinese merchants and translators is preserved in full in the text of the resolutions, along with records of the council's deliberations (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 22 October 1639, VOC 1131: 819–31). back

Note 41: Batavia's acquiescence was communicated in Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Paulus Traudenius, letter, 13 June 1640, VOC 864: 236–66, esp. 256. back

Note 42: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 25 September 1643, VOC 1145: 463–65. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 410. back

Note 43: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, F: 169. back

Note 44: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, F: 184. back

Note 45: Except for 1646, when a drought ruined the harvest. back

Note 46: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 10 October 1644, VOC 1148: 239b–40. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, F: 184. back

Note 47: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, G: 708–9. back

Note 48: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 23 October 1648, VOC 1170: 547–49. back

Note 49: Chinese were allowed to remain in villages in which the company had stationed administrators. back

Note 50: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 18 December 1642, VOC 1146: 692–95, quote at 694. back

Note 51: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 18 December 1642, VOC 1146: 692–95, esp. 694v. back

Note 52: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 396, C: 402, C: 410, D: 27. back

Note 53: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, D: 27. This resolution strengthens a previous resolution (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 18 December 1642, VOC 1146: 692–95, esp. 694v). back

Note 54: A general missive from 1649 indicates that the village-leasehold system began in 1642, "when the first villages were leased for 1600 reals." I could, however, find no other reference to this sale. If the lease system existed before 1644, it must have been limited in scope, for in 1642 Chinese were forbidden from living in all but the closest villages (Sinkan, Mattau, Soulang, etc.), and it appears likely that those closest villages were put on the auction block for the first time only in 1644. See Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 31 October 1644, VOC 1148: 246–50. There was, to be sure, a license system for Chinese traders, but it appears to have lacked the most important feature of the village-leasehold system: the monopoly. See Instructie [from Governor-General Antonio van Diemen] voor d'heer Francois Caron, raed van India, verreckende van hier met den schepe de Vreede, de fluijte Beer, 't Quel, d'Hasewint, mitsgaders de nieuwe lootsboot, na 't Eijlant Formosa als vice gouverneur van de castelen en fortressen in Tayouan, Quelangh, Tamsuiw etc., ende directeur van Compagnies trafficq ende geheelen omslach op 't voornoemde Eijlandt, daerna zijn E. sich sal hebben te reguleren, 4 July 1644, VOC 868: 360–88, esp. 377. back

Note 55: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 16 April 1644, VOC 1147: 470–71. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 293. back

Note 56: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 298; Batavia Dagregisters, 1644–45, p. 158. back

Note 57: Nearly all leaseholders were Chinese. Once in a while, however, company officials and normal colonists (vrijburgers) bought leases. In 1650, for example, a Dutch lieutenant bought the lease for two villages. His investment, however, came to naught because the two villages were at war with each other. The Council of Formosa was kind enough to excuse him from the payment of the lease (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 11 June 1650, VOC 1176: 829–30). back

Note 58: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Van der Lijn, Caron, Reniers, Van Dutecum en Demmer (8), 18 January 1649, p. 354. back

Note 59: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 31 October 1644, VOC 1148: 246–50, quote at 248. back

Note 60: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 14 November 1644, VOC 1148: 253–55. back

Note 61: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, G: 662; G: 664; G: 672. back

Note 62: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 575. back

Note 63: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, B: 1023, B: 1016, B: 1015, C: 365, C: 712, C: 700, C: 698, C: 690, C: 678. back

Note 64: Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, 17 May 1650, VOC 874: 84–114, esp. 92. This is true mostly of northern villages, which relied more heavily on deer. South of Zeelandia, agriculture was more important. back

Note 65: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 4 April 1648, VOC 1170: 515–20. back

Note 66: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Van der Lijn, Caron, Reniers, Demmer, en Barendsz (10), 31 December 1649, p. 393. back

Note 67: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 4 April 1648, VOC 1170: 521. back

Note 68: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, A: 327. back

Note 69: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, A: 333. back

Note 70: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 18 June 1648, VOC 1170: 525–29. When adjusted for the amount of time they were valid, the new auction prices were only slightly lower than the original prices. Soulang, for example, had originally sold for 800 reals, which works out to around 66 reals per month; this time it was sold for 550 reals, which, at nine months, works out to around 61 reals per month. See Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, A: 337. back

Note 71: The village-leasehold system may also have had longer-term effects on the aborigines and their societies. In an innovative article, Chan Su-chuan (詹素娟) argues that it was one factor in determining the boundaries of aboriginal social units. See "Pushe, diyu, yu Pingpushequn de chengli," 贌社、地域與平埔社群的成立, Taida wenshi zhexue bao 臺大文史哲學報 59(2003): 117–42. back

Note 72: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Van der Lijn, Caron, Reniers, Van Dutecum en Demmer (8), 18 January 1649, pp. 353–54. back

Note 73: Cited in Han Jiabao, Helan shidai, 166. back

Note 74: Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Pieter Overtwater, letter, 5 August 1649, VOC 873: 80–90, p. 84. back

Note 75: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Van der Lijn, Caron, Reniers, Van Dutecum en Demmer (8), 18 January 1649, p. 354. back

Note 76: This was the idea of Wilhem Verstegen. See Governor-General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, VOC 876: 218–58, esp. 229–30. back

Note 77: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 6 April 1650, VOC 1176.799–800, esp. 799. See also Governor-General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, VOC 875: 180–92, quote at 82. back

Note 78: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Demmer, Cunaeus, Versteghen, De With, en Steur (2), 20 January 1651, p. 456. back

Note 79: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 6 April 1650, VOC 1176.799–800, quote at 800. back

Note 80: Governor General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, 11 May 1651, VOC 875: 180–92, quote at 182. back

Note 81: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 27 May 1650, VOC 1176: 826. back

Note 82: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuycker, Demmer, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, et al. (4), 19 December 1651, p. 538. back

Note 83: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 28 May 1651, VOC 1183.749–51. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, C: 708; and Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuycker, Demmer, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, et al. (4), 19 December 1651, p. 538. back

Note 84: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Cunaeus, Caesar, and Steur (7), 24 December 1652, p. 607. back

Note 85: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 417. back

Note 86: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, D: 44; see also Batavia Dagregisters, 1643–1644, p. 148. back

Note 87: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 343. back

Note 88: The term Faijit probably came from the term hao-guan (豪官), meaning leader. See Johannes Huber, "Chinese Settlers against the Dutch East India Company: The Rebellion Led by Kuo Huai-I on Taiwan in 1652," in Development and Decline of Fukien Province in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. E. B. Vermeer (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990), 265–96, esp. 270, note 12. back

Note 89: Governor Nicolaes Verburgh to Batavia, letter, 30 October 1652, VOC 1194: 121–27. Johannes Huber's translation (Huber, "Chinese Settlers," 292). back

Note 90: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1633–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Cunaeus, Caesar, and Steur (7), 24 December 1652, p. 610. back

Note 91: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1633–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Cunaeus, Caesar, and Steur (7), 24 December 1652, p. 610. back

Note 92: Governor Nicolaes Verburgh to Batavia, letter, 30 October 1652, VOC 1194: 121–27. I have altered Johannes Huber's translation (Huber, "Chinese Settlers," 293). back

Note 93: Governor Nicolaes Verburgh to Batavia, letter, 30 October 1652, VOC 1194: 121–27. My translation (but see Huber, "Chinese Settlers," 295). back

Note 94: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Cunaeus, Caesar, and Steur (7), 24 December 1652, p. 611. back

Note 95: Governor Nicolaes Verburgh to Batavia, letter, 30 October 1652, VOC 1194: 121–27. Johannes Huber's translation (Huber, "Chinese Settlers," 296). back

Note 96: Johannes Huber, in a subtle and well-researched analysis of the rebellion (Huber, "Chinese Settlers"), comes to the conclusion that the rebellion was an entirely rural affair, and he does away with the notion that the rebels were affiliated with Zheng Chenggong. back

Note 97: This brilliant hypothesis is suggested by Han Jiabao, Helan shidai, 170–72. In a personal communication (17 June 2005) he put it succinctly: "It was this mix of disgruntled common farmers and heavily indebted entrepreneurs that formed an explosive combination. In my view these two 'groups,' who must have been in contact with each other, allied themselves because they had a common interest in getting rid of the Dutch."back

Note 98: Governor Nicolaes Verburg to Batavia, letter, 30 October 1652, VOC 1194: 121–27, cited in Huber, "Chinese Settlers," 292. back

Note 99: Governor-General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolaas Verburg and Wilhem Verstegen, letter, 22 June 1651, VOC 875: 223–29, quote at 227. back