Chapter 11

The Fall of Dutch Taiwan


He Tingbin (何廷斌) was a cabessa, a Sino-Dutch translator, a village leaseholder, a tax farmer, and a merchant.1 In many ways he was like other wealthy and well-connected Chinese immigrants who had bought a stake in the colony, but in other ways he was less typical.2 For one thing, he had especially close relations to the Zheng court and with traders in Chenggong's new capital, Xiamen.3 He also appears to have been remarkably unscrupulous. Other Chinese entrepreneurs accused him of behaving unethically in order to "satisfy his greedy appetite and fill his bottomless stomach."4


Nevertheless, the Dutch chose him as their envoy to the Zheng court, and morale was high as he sailed toward Xiamen. Formosa's Chinese merchants, confident that the mission would yield fruit, began taking orders again for pepper and other goods. Dutch officials wrote to Batavia and requested goods so that Zeelandia's warehouses would be fully stocked when trade resumed.5 They also decided to delay the company's yearly auction for village leases, believing that once trade had been restored the leases would fetch their usual high prices.6 Tingbin made it to Xiamen and began negotiating with the Zheng court. Fortunately, Chinese records of Tingbin's visit to Chenggong's court exist, and they are revealing. Yang Ying, one of Chenggong's revenue officers and his court recordkeeper, wrote: "In the sixth lunar month [of 1657] the chief of the red-haired barbarians, Coyett, sent He Tingbin to the Ming Memorial Capital to arrange to present tribute and open trade relations and also to display foreign treasures."7 Yang Ying goes on to explain:

Because in previous years the red-haired barbarians had captured ships and generally caused trouble, the prince decided to prohibit all harbors and bays—whether east or west, whether states or provinces or prefectures—from trading in Taiwan. The complete ban lasted two years, during which shipping was obstructed, goods rose in value, and the barbarians suffered terribly. For this reason they sent He Tingbin. Because they will yearly pay a tax [輸餉] of 5,000 taels, 100,000 arrow shafts, and a ton of sulfur, we permitted the opening of trade.8

Other Chinese sources corroborate Yang Ying's account, and they too contain expressions similar to Yang Ying's phrases "present tribute" (納貢) and "display foreign treasures" (陳外國寶物).9 Thus, Tingbin portrayed his visit to Zheng within the rubric of the tribute system. More important, he told the Zheng court that the Dutch would pay a tax for the privilege of trading with Chenggong.


Some have suggested that He Tingbin had the tacit approval of Dutch officials, but that is doubtful, for Dutch documents show what Tingbin actually told Dutch officials about his trip, and he did not mention tribute.10 When he returned to Taiwan in June 1657, he told Dutch officials that Chenggong had received him politely and had read the governor's letter with "some contentment."11 He told them that Chenggong's anger was directed not against the current administration in Formosa but against Formosa's previous governor, Cornelis Caesar. "Each time [I] mentioned Caesar," Tingbin reported, "[Chenggong] became upset and violent [hevig]." Tingbin said he told Chenggong that Tayouan was now ruled by a new governor named Frederik Coyett, who was "a just, good, and intelligent person, . . . loved and praised by all." Hearing this news, Chenggong called a general council to consider reopening trade with Tayouan, after which Chenggong informed Tingbin that he would not accept the company's gifts but would reopen trade if the company agreed to five conditions. Tingbin said Chenggong asked him to deliver the conditions orally.12


First, he said, Chenggong was upset that the Chinese merchants who called in Tayouan suffered from Caesar's tolls on outgoing goods. Since the 1620s, the Dutch had searched vessels leaving Taiwan in order to calculate export tolls. But under Caesar's rule, Tingbin said, the inspection process grew longer and longer, causing losses for Chenggong and his people; Chenggong demanded an end to the delays. Second, Tingbin said that Chenggong complained that company employees were forcing sailors from Chinese merchant junks to work on Dutch boats, to bail, scrub decks, and the like. Tingbin said that Chenggong demanded that this practice too be stopped. Third, Tingbin said, Chenggong complained that Chinese merchants did not receive sufficiently swift payment for their wares, which, he alleged, were often taken into the company's warehouses without proper receipts. He demanded that payments be fast and receipts be provided for all goods. Fourth, Tingbin said, Chenggong complained that Chinese merchants who brought bulk goods [grove waren] to Tayouan, such as lumber and roof tiles, were forced to sell them to the company at low prices. According to Tingbin, Chenggong said that although Caesar used the excuse that the materials were needed for company buildings, he instead used them for his own house.13 Chenggong demanded an end to such harassment. Fifth, and most important, Tingbin said, Chenggong demanded that the governor send letters to Batavia telling company captains not to attack any of Chenggong's junks that traded to Southeast Asia.


Tingbin insisted the Chenggong had wanted him to deliver these demands orally, and it is also revealing that his explanation of Chenggong's motives was entirely different from those that Chenggong himself had expressed when he imposed the embargo. Tingbin's explanation also differs from that given in Yang Ying's records, according to which the embargo was imposed because the barbarians had been capturing ships.14 Moreover, Dutch records indicate that Tingbin said nothing about the tribute mentioned in Yang Ying's account—the 5,000 taels, the 100,000 arrow shafts, and the ton of sulfur that Zheng's court expected to be paid yearly. Tingbin knew the company's ways. He needed a story to persuade the Dutch that Chenggong wanted to reopen trade but that did not reveal the large concessions—the tribute—he had made on the part of the company. He was playing a daring game. How would he come up with the tribute without giving his deception away?


Members of the Council of Formosa had only Tingbin's account to go on and found Chenggong's purported demands acceptable. They sent Tingbin back to Xiamen with more gifts and a polite but cautious letter, in which they ceded no ground on the issue of who held sovereignty over the Chinese inhabitants of Formosa.15 The reopening of trade, wrote the governor, "greatly pleases us, since it will result in the . . . general well-being of your subjects no less than of ours here."16 The governor promised that Chinese merchants would enjoy in Formosa better treatment "than they would receive from any other nation anywhere else in the world" and that the abuses of Caesar's rule would never be repeated.17 Tingbin's junk was blown off course, and he nearly fell into the hands of the Manchus, but eventually he made it to see Chenggong.18


According to Tingbin’s report later to the Dutch, Chenggong was pleased with the letter and, immediately put up placards declaring that his subjects were free once again to trade in Tayouan.19 Then, however, news arrived that company ships had captured one of Chenggong's junks and brought it to Tayouan. Furious, Chenggong ordered the placards to be torn down. Tingbin told the Dutch he had had to work hard to convince Chenggong that the junk had been captured without the governor's knowledge and to persuade him to put the placards up again. Tingbin also presented a letter purportedly from Chenggong. One passage read: "I have now undertaken to see whether I can regain my land [from the Manchus], and, since there are things under your rule [regieringe] that I need, I therefore ask you please to kindly have such things bought in Tayouan and sent to me, to wit: hemp, whitewood [withoudt] in order to make arrows, and also bow feathers for arrows, jaws from cows to use for bows, and also fish intestines [robben van visch], all of which, except the hemp, I need to make bows and arrows."20 The language is suspicious, as are the contents. If Chenggong expected to receive these military supplies as a tax, why did he write about them plaintively? And the phrase "under your rule [regieringe]" does not appear to fit Chenggong's perspective, which increasingly viewed Taiwan as part of his sphere of sovereignty. It is impossible to know whether this letter was forged by He Tingbin, but he was the only intermediary the Dutch had, and there are other examples of Chinese merchants forging correspondence with Dutch officials. Indeed, Chenggong's father, Zheng Zhilong, carried out an elaborate and highly successful forgery in the early years of Dutch rule on Taiwan.21 In any case, trade picked up at once. Indeed, just two weeks after Tingbin had left Tayouan, a junk arrived from Xiamen with gold, silver, tobacco, paper, and many other trade goods.


Company officials were upset, however, when they had a chance to read Chenggong's actual placard. Its tone indicated that he did not recognize the company's sovereignty over the Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan:

My father . . . was happy to grant trade to the Hollanders in Tayouan and allow them for so long to enjoy its good profits, and I from time to time have allowed my merchants, junks, and people freely to go to and from there in order to pursue their trade. And all the people who have gone there and now live there, are they not all my subjects [mijn volk]? And do I not thus lose not a little of my tolls? But thereby have I helped Tayouan, and the Dutch who are there must realize, as they drink the water, where it comes from, so that they can, with a good heart, repay me by treating my merchants and people well.22

Chenggong went on to explain why he would reopen trade. First, a new governor had replaced Caesar, and reports from his merchants and from Tingbin indicated that the new governor was good and just. Second, he had received assurances, not just from Tayouan but also directly from Batavia, that his junks would no longer be mistreated by company ships. Finally, he wrote, "realizing that my subjects [mijn volk] live in Taiwan, I cannot any longer keep their trade closed. I must rather help them from their despair and I therefore reopen trade, so that they can trade as they did before."23 The governor and the Council of Formosa decided that the edict "disparaged the Dutch nation" and asked Tingbin sharply whether Chenggong had intended it to be shown to the people of Formosa or just to Dutch officials.24 Tingbin replied that he had brought the edict to be shown to the Dutch and, if they should approve, that it then would be shown to the people of Formosa. He assured them that the edict that had been put up in Xiamen, was different. Dutch officials were suspicious. At first Tingbin had said that this was the same edict as had been promulgated in Xiamen. Was he changing his story to placate them? How much could he be trusted?


From the very beginning the company had had trouble with Chinese intermediaries. Ripon blamed the company's first skirmish with the aborigines on a mischievous translator; Salvador Diaz and Li Dan had both cheated the company; and now He Tingbin appeared to be acting suspiciously. Indeed, the company had not really trusted Tingbin to begin with. In 1656 they had delayed talks with Chenggong partly because they had been unable to find "trustworthy" Chinese, and they knew that a couple of years earlier Tingbin had been accused of questionable practices [onhebbelijckheden] by members of the Chinese community in Taiwan.25 The Dutch had used Tingbin not because they thought him particularly faithful but because he had strong connections in Xiamen and was known in Chenggong's court.26


They had no way to verify his reports, and he sometimes told stories about his negotiating skills or his courage on the company's behalf that seem exaggerated. On one occasion, he told of how he had saved the company 130,000 taels of silver. Chenggong, he said, told him that since the company had been wont to pay his father several thousand taels each year for the privilege of trading with him, and since it had stopped paying this sum once Zhilong had been taken prisoner by the Manchus, it should pay arrears, which Chenggong and his advisors calculated to be 130,000 taels. Tingbin replied that his lord must be misinformed, for the company had never paid Zheng Zhilong a yearly sum. He suggested that this rumor had probably originated from the company's having once or twice sent presents to Zhilong and his mandarins in the course of trade negotiations. Chenggong's counselors retorted that Tingbin would at that time have been too young to know, at which Tingbin claimed he said "that the daily record book of the Dutch in Tayouan was no youngster, and he had seen all of this written down there . . . and if Their Excellencies still did not wish to believe him they might themselves take the trouble to look in the history books."27 He heard nothing more about this 130,000 taels, and so he concluded that they had checked their records and found that he had been right.


Company officials were, at best, ambivalent about Tingbin. He had probably changed his story about the edict Chenggong had put up in Xiamen. They also had questions about his expense account, which they judged to be higher than necessary, and they delayed paying it in order to examine it more closely.28 Most important, they were beginning to hear disturbing rumors from the Chinese settlers on Taiwan, who accused Tingbin of collecting tolls from Chinese junks leaving Tayouan.29 When they questioned him about the matter, he proclaimed his innocence. Company officials accepted his story, "since such work could not occur here without causing great tumult among the residents." But they warned him never to do such a thing, nor "even to allow such an evil idea to enter his thoughts."30 He promised to comply. Not long afterward, the company caught him cheating in a tax-farming auction. Somehow he had contrived to buy the right to collect the rice tax for a certain area for less than half the going rate.31 The auctions were open. How did he persuade the other bidders to allow him to retain such a low bid? Why did nobody attempt to outbid him?


Company officials did not investigate the point further, probably because they still depended on Tingbin for his connections to Xiamen.32 He was, after all, still the main conduit through which they communicated with Chenggong. Whenever he traveled between Tayouan and China he carried letters, and he continued polite diplomacy on behalf of the company.33 Company officials knew he was also working for Chenggong, who, Tingbin told them, had entrusted him with money to buy war supplies—whitewood, feathers, cow jaws, and fish intestines—but they condoned this work "so long as [the weapons] be made there [in China] and not here."34


In 1659, however, they learned from a Chinese merchant named Samsiack that Tingbin had indeed been demanding payment from Chinese traders. Exacted in the name of the Zheng family, it was in effect an extra toll on junks departing Taiwan. Samsiack said that junk captains found it too burdensome to pay tolls both to the company and to Tingbin and had therefore reduced their traffic across the strait. After hearing this news, the governor summoned a few Chinese cabessas who had been acting suspiciously. Under "sharp questioning" they admitted that Tingbin had leased the right to collect duties from one of Chenggong's mandarins in 1657.35 The lease allowed him to collect tolls on all Formosan products exported to China, including animal hides, venison, fish, sugar, hemp, and firewood. If the exporter was unable to pay the tolls, Tingbin lent the money, with interest. He had managed to keep his activities secret from the Dutch for so long because he had had help from other Zheng supporters on Taiwan, who helped him run his operation.36 The cabessas showed documentation: In addition to letters from the Zheng family concerning the tolls, there were receipts that Tingbin himself had signed on receiving payment. It is likely that the tolls Tingbin collected went to pay for the tribute and the military supplies that Chenggong expected from the Dutch.


The Council of Formosa summoned Tingbin. Under questioning he gave a partial confession. Six weeks later, after the Board of Aldermen (schepenbanck) conducted a formal trial, Tingbin was removed from his office as a cabessa, discharged from his position as a company translator, and assessed a fine of 300 reals.37 He fled to Xiamen with his wife, children, and relatives, leaving behind heavy debts, both to the company and to individual Chinese and Dutch lenders.38 His escape caused a stir in Tayouan. His creditors said they would be ruined. Company officials were more worried that "the fugitive good-for-nothing [schelm] Tingbin could become for Chenggong an instrument dangerous to the company, since he has a very good knowledge of our situation on Formosa and will not hesitate to use it in order to gain Chenggong's good graces."39


That is precisely what Tingbin did. According to Yang Ying, in 1661 Zheng Chenggong called his top officials to a secret meeting, during which he told them of his plans to invade Taiwan and use it as a base, saying:

The map that He Tingbin submitted two years ago depicts Taiwan as a vast fertile land with revenues of several hundred thousand taels per year. If we concentrate our skilled people there we could easily build ships and make weapons. Of late it has been occupied by the red-haired barbarians, but they have less than a thousand people in their fortress. We could capture it without lifting a hand. I want to conquer Taiwan and use it as a base. After settling you generals' families there, we could campaign to the east and chastise those to the west without worrying about the home front.40

A less reliable account places He Tingbin himself at this meeting, at which he purportedly said that the aborigines (土番) of Taiwan had suffered bullying from the Dutch and would be delighted to help overthrow them, so that expelling the Dutch from Taiwan would be "like a tiger chasing a herd of sheep."41 In any case, Chenggong's advisors were reluctant to leave China. One who had been to Taiwan said, "The fengshui is unfavorable and the land is full of pestilence."42 Others felt that withdrawal was tantamount to giving up the cause of Ming loyalism.43 Nearly all considered Taiwan to be a malarial wilderness, unfit to serve as a base for Ming loyalism. But Zheng had made his decision. He had a family connection to Taiwan, and the Chinese colonists were, he reasoned, his subjects. He ordered his generals to prepare to attack the Dutch.


Rumors of an Invasion


Dutch officials knew nothing of Tingbin's meetings with Zheng Chenggong or of the map. They had their hands full on Taiwan. Although trade had increased briefly after Tingbin's initial missions in 1657, it slowed again toward the end of 1658. Over the next two years, few junks called in Tayouan, and the Formosan economy wilted. Village leaseholders lacked trade goods, and, more importantly, prices for their deer products plummeted in China. Having expected that trade would recover, they had again paid too much for their leases, and most were deeply in debt. Bad weather had hurt the sugar crops even as sugar prices fell in China. Rice crops had fared better, but no junks came from China to buy the harvests.44 Farmers and leaseholders pleaded for help from the governor. Dutch officials decided to lower tolls and decrease interest rates to stimulate the economy. Yet, as officials reported to Amsterdam, "there are many who are in such a state that all these benefits will help little."45 So long as trade stood still in Fujian, Tayouan could not hope to recover. Some officials believed that "with that established colony the best has already come, and it is more likely to decline than to rise."46


To add to the troubles, in 1660 company officials began to notice that many Chinese inhabitants were selling their possessions and sending the proceeds to China. They worried "that the Chinese are sending their goods home in order to follow when the opportunity should arise, leaving us with the idle stump, as it were."47 The Council of Formosa asked some of the richer Chinese merchants for an explanation, but the latter replied that they had always sent money to their relatives across the strait. It was an unconvincing response. Moreover, many Chinese residents were sending wives and children back to China.48


In early March of 1660 a distraught cabessa came before the governor to ask for safe haven. Chenggong, he said, was going to invade Formosa. He had learned the news the previous day, and his mother, his wife, and his brother's wife had cried all night. He had no precise information about Chenggong's plans, and so Dutch officials asked other cabessas, who said the invasion was to occur on the night of the next full moon, when Dutch officials would be busy with the company's landdag. At that time, the monsoon winds would begin blowing from the south so that the governor and his men would be unable to send messages to Batavia. Chenggong had already conscripted forty Chinese fishermen from the Pescadores who knew the seas and bays in and around Tayouan. They would help ferry half of Chenggong's army to the north of Tayouan, near Wanckan, and the other half to the south, near Tancoya. The armies would then march first on Saccam and then on Zeelandia itself. Tingbin, they said, had helped formulate the plans and had told Chenggong that Chinese residents in Formosa, especially those who lived in Tingbin's former lands and buildings, would greet Chenggong with open arms.49


Governor Frederik Coyett and the Council of Formosa took action immediately. They put the fortress in a state of defense, sent letters throughout Taiwan telling company employees to prepare for an attack, and ordered soldiers who were not directly guarding the fortresses to repair walls or help finish a new bulwark on Fort Zeelandia. They also detained twelve Chinese residents who had allegedly sent wives back to China. When the houses of the detainees were searched, company employees found some of the wives still at home and told them that their husbands would be held until all Chinese grain and venison was sent to Zeelandia and the cabessas' horses placed in the company's corral in Saccam. "With God's help," wrote Dutch officials, "which is our greatest hope and refuge, we are hopeful that we will . . . preserve our fortress [Zeelandia]."50 There was, however, little the company could do to protect the Formosan plains, with their fertile fields and rich deer herds. The aborigines proclaimed their loyalty to the company, but Dutch officials felt that "this will last only as long as they see that we are as powerful as our enemy and can protect them, for it is to be expected that they will join the side that is strongest."51 Perhaps, company officials mused, the inhabitants of the closest and most Christian towns, such as Sinkan, Mattau, Soulang, and Baccluan, might hesitate to place themselves under the rule of the "heathen Chinese," but they would not help protect the Formosan countryside. One thing they could do was to postpone the landdag, since that was when Chenggong's purported invasion would take place. Most important of all, they dispatched a ship to Batavia to ask for a fleet to resist Zheng's armada and for at least a thousand men to defend the countryside and man the new fortresses that would have to be constructed to defend it properly.


As the ship made its way to Batavia, information about Chenggong's plans continued to arrive in Zeelandia. The most important evidence came when the captain of a small Chinese junk revealed under interrogation that he had come to Formosa to take Chinese settlers to Fujian before Chenggong arrived. Company officials searched the vessel and found eighteen letters. They were addressed to Chinese residents of Formosa, and nearly all of them advised friends and relatives to leave the island with their property before Chenggong's attack. One letter was written to a brother:

I inform you with this letter that I have arrived again in the Pescadores and am farming my land as I did before. I believe that my wife and children who live in Tayouan are not safe there. If they have any grain [gerst], whether it be much or little, or if they can get any, have them bring it here when they come. . . . Send my wife and children here without delay. Trust that I mean it, and do not disregard this letter, as if you do not value my writing, for each night I become frightened, thinking that some tumult or turmoil is taking place there. I therefore request, as I have before, that you take good care of my wife and children.52

It appeared that nearly all the Chinese colonists in Formosa believed the rumors about Chenggong's plans.


The governor and the Council of Formosa therefore enacted a series of measures to control Chinese settlers. They required colonists to vacate large areas of Formosa, seeing that "the wide dispersion of Chinese causes difficulties for us, since we have too few people to keep proper surveillance over all of them, and so provides an opportunity and a temptation [for them] to undertake dangerous assaults on this colony."53 Settlers were ordered to move to Saccam. Some complied readily, hoping to find protection under the new fortress, but others had to be cajoled or threatened. Company officials were especially worried about the Chinese who lived in Tancoya and Wanckan, the areas Chenggong intended to attack first. When farmers who lived in Wankan refused to comply, company soldiers brought them to Saccam by force.54 Other settlers, who had fortified positions in the mountains and on the island of Lamey, were also brought to Saccam.


Nor were Chinese permitted to do as they pleased while at sea. Company officials forbade Chinese to fish at Wankan and northward and ordered all Chinese boats and vessels to be impounded and kept in company custody. When company ships encountered junks in the Tayouan Strait, their captains felt no compunction about waylaying them and bringing them and their crews back to Tayouan for interrogation. Junks that called on Formosa of their own accord were not allowed to depart, and their crews and passengers were held to prevent them from talking to the Chinese in Tayouan. Officials also made plans to construct new fortresses in the countryside, and they wrote another letter to Batavia to request more soldiers to man them. They were, they wrote, "praying with fiery prayers" that God would help with this crisis, thanking Him for the warnings they had received, just as He had helped in 1652 with the Chinese revolt. So long as Batavia took these warning seriously and sent proper reinforcements, the company would weather the storm.55


The Council of the Indies responded with unusual speed, sending a fleet of twelve ships under Jan van der Laan.56 Unfortunately, van der Laan carried ambivalent orders. He was to protect Tayouan from Chenggong, but, "if, as has frequently occurred, the rumors about Chenggong disappear like smoke in the wind," he was to take his fleet south to wrest Macao from the Portuguese.57 Van der Laan arrived in Tayouan in late July and began to grow restless in early October, when no invasion had yet taken place. He wanted to move against Macao, and the question was debated in divisive sessions of the Council of Formosa. Van der Laan, whom some Formosan officials began to call Jan the Unreasonable (Jan tegen de reeden aan), argued that rumors of Chenggong's attack were but idle chatter. Even if an attack were launched, he purportedly stated, Formosa's defenses would be ample to repulse it, for "half of these defenses and men would be enough to repel a party of Chinese dogs . . . who are not soldiers but effeminate men."58 Most Formosan officials felt that Chenggong had not abandoned his plans but merely delayed them, perhaps because he had learned of the arrival of van der Laan's fleet. They were afraid that if the fleet departed, their colony would be vulnerable.


One member of the Council of Formosa suggested that a messenger be sent to Xiamen to determine Chenggong's intentions. The Council agreed. Chenggong politely received the envoy, but when the latter made what he felt were subtle inquiries about Chenggong's preparations for war, Chenggong interrupted him and said "that he was not in the habit of publishing his designs, but frequently circulated a rumor that he was moving west when he was really intending to move east." He then wrote a letter to the governor of Formosa. "Your Honor," he wrote, "still remains in doubt about my good feelings toward the Dutch state, and believes that I have been planning to undertake some hostile action against your land. This is, however, just a rumor, propagated, it would seem, by evil-minded people." Chenggong went on to state that he was too busy with the Manchus to concern himself with "a small grass-producing land" like Formosa. In any case, he said, he frequently spread such rumors to deceive his enemies.59 "How," he asked, "can one know my hidden thoughts and tell what are my actual intentions, which have been revealed to nobody?"60 The governor, Chenggong slyly stated, was too quick to believe everything he was told.


The letter, as might be expected, did little to reassure the governor and the Council members. Although shortly thereafter Chenggong took steps to reopen trade between Formosa and China, they remained suspicious and voted to delay the Macao expedition until the following year. They also decided that the soldiers that van der Laan had brought should stay in Formosa. Van der Laan, furious, returned to Batavia, taking with him two ships and some experienced officers. When he made his report to the Council of the Indies, he fulminated against Coyett and presented letters from Formosan employees who complained about the harsh policies Coyett had imposed on Chinese settlers.


Coyett had enemies in Batavia's Council of the Indies, who listened to Van der Laan's complaints with eager ears. They wrote a letter to Amsterdam, excoriating Coyett for wasting valuable resources by deciding to retain men and ships in Formosa rather than attack Macao.61 Moreover, they decided that rumors of Chenggong's attack were groundless, "having been spread among the common folk for years on end without the least outcome."62 The rumors had "been from beginning to end nothing but a bunch of false and frivolous fantasies propagated by a few bad Chinese."63 As for the Chinese settlers who were fleeing Formosa, Batavia blamed Coyett and other Formosan officials:

Our people are themselves causa movens of the commotions that have taken place on Formosa, from which the inhabitants and especially the farmers . . . have received such hindrance and suffering, as if Chenggong's army had already been there. The poor peasants have seen their grain sheds razed, and . . . their rice burned. . . . The governor had all the elders and other powerful Chinese . . . imprisoned. . . . [T]hey have been in detention for eight months now, and their assets, which mostly consisted in agriculture, have fallen into ruin.64

The Council of the Indies sent a sharp letter to Coyett and the Council of Formosa. First they chastised them for harassing Chinese settlers: "The Chinese colony, which has been planted there at so much cost and trouble, is the only means through which that island has been brought to fruitfulness and from which the company thus yearly derives such rich incomes . . ., and therefore the correct maxim has always been to nurture the Chinese there. You, however, have oppressed [the Chinese colony] with such a hard hand, that they are more inclined to leave Formosa than to live under such a restless and punishing government."65 Then they told Coyett and his second and third in command that they were henceforth relieved of their duties. They were to come to Batavia immediately to answer for their actions.


As Coyett's replacement they chose a man named Hermanus Clenk van Odesse, whose instructions called for him to reestablish the Chinese colony on Formosa: "Above all see to it that the Chinese colony there, which, thanks to the actions of our people, has suffered like winter wheat in the field, can be helped on its feet again, because without that hard-working nation the island Formosa cannot be fruitful or bring any income."66 Clenk was ordered to adopt special measures to make Chinese colonists feel welcome again. First, he was to issue full pardons for the Chinese cabessas whom Coyett and his men had imprisoned. They would be allowed to take up their old positions, including judicial duties in the Council of Justice. Second, the sheriff (landdrost) Valentijn, "who, with . . . his fines and abuse [breucken], is chewing the legs off the poor [Chinese]," would be replaced by someone who "will serve this office with more compassion and less greed [schraperie]."67 Third, the Chinese farmers whom Coyett and his men had forced from their fields between Soulang and Sinckan and elsewhere would be given back their lands, so long as they agreed to abide by the old lease conditions. Finally, friendly overtures were to be made to Chenggong and his people. They would be sent a "compliment letter," in which Chenggong would be told explicitly that the new governor had been sent in order "to take away all of the differences that had arisen between him and Governor Coyett."68


The governor-general and the Council of the Indies were quite explicit that the Chinese settlers should be mollified. The new governor was instructed to tell the Chinese plainly that Coyett had been fired from his post "in order to show openly that we are upset by the cruel procedures that have recently been undertaken against them and that they occurred without our knowledge." Coyett's replacement would "not only protect [the Chinese] from further oppression but also make it possible for them to settle again on Taiwan without molestation."69 According to the Council of the Indies, "we shall gain more from Chenggong by love than by the exercise of violence." Clenk took the letters and sailed to Formosa in June 1661. But he was too late.


Zheng Chenggong Attacks


In April 1661, strange portents occurred. On one day a mermaid was seen off the Zeelandia peninsula. One night disembodied voices rose from the execution ground between the fortress and the city, some speaking Chinese and others Dutch. Another night an eerie wailing issued from a bastion of Zeelandia; soldiers rushed there but found nothing.70 On April 15, a company scribe noted that in Saccam "a dog has given birth to two leopards [luypaerden], which died shortly thereafter, this being something strange and never before seen here."71 An ominous silence hung over Zeelandia City. Most inhabitants had locked their houses and left.


On April 30, 1661, Dutch sentinels spotted Chenggong's fleet—several hundred large junks—heading under full sail toward Tayouan.72 Chenggong had waited for the monsoon winds to turn southerly, thereby cutting off the chance for Formosa to send word to Batavia. The Dutch had few ships left—of those that had come with van der Laan only three remained. Moreover, Dutch guns, whether firing from Fort Zeelandia or Fort Provintia, could not defend all entrances to the Bay of Tayouan. The Dutch could do little but watch as Chenggong's fleet sailed into the bay and began landing troops north of Fort Provintia. Thousands of Chinese settlers came to the beaches to help them land. There is evidence that many had pledged their loyalty to Chenggong well before, for company officials later learned from a former translator that "we Chinese inhabitants of this land had already promised . . . our loyalty and allegiance to Chenggong before his arrival."73 With their help Chenggong landed thousands of soldiers while the Dutch watched from their fortresses.


Dutch officials knew they could not prevent Chenggong from landing, but perhaps they could slow his progress.74 They sent three small expeditions. First, three Dutch ships were dispatched to oust a group of junks defending one of the small islands in the entrance to the Bay of Tayouan. The junks put up a spirited resistance, and in the battle the main Dutch ship exploded, and the other Dutch ships had to retreat back to Zeelandia. Next, a group of two hundred forty Dutch musketeers advanced on land against a group of Chinese soldiers who held a sandbar in the entrance to the bay. The captain who led the assault was an old Formosa hand, and he roused his men with stories of the Chinese revolt of 1652, when Dutch forces had easily defeated far larger peasant armies. "The Chinese," he said, "could not bear the smell of powder and the roar of muskets and would flee during the first charge, as soon as a few of them had been shot down."75 The Dutch soldiers marched confidently toward a much larger enemy force. They shot three salvos, bringing down a number of soldiers. But Chenggong's troops did not break formation. They unleashed a "terrific hailstorm of arrows, such that the sky grew dark."76 They also sent a detachment to sneak around behind the Dutch force. When the Dutch soldiers noticed that the Chinese were not fleeing as had been expected and that, moreover, they were now surrounded, they panicked and fled, only to be cut down by Chenggong's experienced troops.77 Half survived by wading back to Zeelandia in water up to their necks, but it was a major defeat for the Dutch.78 A third sortie, which attempted to reinforce Fort Provintia, also failed, again because of the size and discipline of Chenggong's armies.


These defeats shocked the Dutch. These were not the poorly armed peasants they had encountered in 1652. Chenggong's men were trained, battle-hardened veterans of the Manchu wars. Covering their torsos and thighs was strong armor that, it was said, could stop musket balls. They carried long pikes and, although few had guns, most were skilled with bow and arrow. Their navy was similarly well equipped. Chenggong's junks were not as effective as Dutch ships, but they far outnumbered the Dutch fleet and were manned by experienced sailors.


But Chenggong's forces suffered from a dramatic weakness: They were short of provisions. Chenggong had had trouble acquiring grain, and the Formosan crops were not ready for harvest. He tried to requisition grain stores from Formosan villages but there was not enough. He was desperately short of food. The Dutch never realized how dire his need was and failed to remove or destroy grain stores. Chenggong therefore focused his attention not on the main fortress, which would be difficult to capture, but on the smaller fortress of Provintia and on the town of Saccam, where he hoped to find food for his soldiers. When his troops marched into Saccam, Chenggong's troops found enough grain to feed Chenggong's army for half a month.79 Without it his troops might have gone hungry, which would have given the Dutch a fighting chance. Instead, after taking Saccam, they ate their fill and then surrounded the thin-walled and ill-equipped Fort Provintia at their leisure.80 Lacking gunpowder and fresh water, the besieged were soon forced to surrender the fort.


Then Chenggong turned his attention to the countryside near the Bay of Tayouan, where the Dutch were few and easily captured. The aborigines offered little resistance. The first to recognize Chenggong's rule were the heavily christianized Soulangers whom the governor had appointed as elders in the landdag ceremonies. On May 3, only four days after Chenggong's troops arrived, they handed over to Chenggong the rattan staves the governor had given them at the previous landdag.81 Their neighbors, the Sinkanders, were perhaps the most pro-Dutch aborigines, and some at first tried to resist, but Chenggong's armies were vastly superior. Some days after the Soulang elders had gone over to Chenggong, the Sinkanders decided that they too had little choice but to come to terms with him. To those who did so most willingly, Chenggong gave silk gowns and coral. Those whose loyalty he suspected he took into custody.82


To celebrate, Chenggong held his own landdag. The elders of the villages closest to Tayouan—Sinkan, Soulang, Baccluan, and Mattau—came before him to offer their alliegiance. He served a rich banquet and then named village elders, presenting them with formal gowns, caps, boots, and sashes to mark their office.83 "As a result," wrote one of Chenggong's generals, "the heads of the native villages to the north and south sniffed the wind and came, one on the heels of another, to proffer allegiance."84 The diplomacy race sparked by Chenggong's arrival resembled that enjoyed by the Dutch twenty-five years earlier. By the middle of May, the elders of dozens of villages had pledged their allegiance to Chenggong and received the silk gowns, caps, and golden sashes that symbolized their fealty. According to a Dutch schoolteacher, who had fled from the Formosan Plains to Zeelandia on May 17,

These fellows now speak with much disdain of the true Christian faith which we endeavored to implant in their hearts, and are delighted that they are now freed from attending the schools. Everywhere they have destroyed the books and utensils, and have introduced the abominable usages and customs of heathenism. On hearing the report that Chenggong had arrived, they murdered one of our Dutch people; and after having struck off the head they danced around it with great joy and merriment, just as they formerly did with their vanquished enemies.85

A group of around forty-eight Dutch officials—schoolteachers, missionaries, and soldiers who had been stationed in the southern plains—fled across the mountains to the aboriginal town of Pimaba (today's Taidong), on Taiwan's southeastern coast, where they joined a small Dutch force. Lacking ammunition, medicine, and trading goods, they could do little but hold out. They had no help to offer to the besieged in Zeelandia.86


With Fort Provintia lost and the remaining Dutch forces on Taiwan scattered and weak, those in Fort Zeelandia prepared for a long siege. It must have been crowded, since the inhabitants of the town of Zeelandia had taken refuge in the fortress. But they had cause for hope. It was a powerful, modern fortress, against which Chenggong's cannon could make little headway.87 Moreover, although they were cut off from the rest of Formosa, they could be relieved by sea. So long as Chenggong found no weakness in their walls, they might hold on for years.


Chenggong himself was aware of this, because he used to relieve his own fortresses by sea while Manchu armies watched helplessly from land. He believed that by timing his attack to coincide with the beginning of the southern monsoon, Zeelandia would be unable to send word to Batavia against the prevailing winds. Because no reinforcements would arrive, he would have plenty of time to capture Fort Zeelandia. As it turned out, however, besieged officials did manage to send a vessel. Tacking slowly against the winds, it brought its news to Batavia just two days after Coyett's replacement, Clenk, had departed with the letters complaining that Coyett had exaggerated Chenggong's threat and with the documents that removed Coyett from power. When told of Zheng's invasion, the Council of the Indies quickly sent a small dispatch ship to overtake Clenk and nullify his orders. The ship failed to reach him in time. Thus when Clenk reached Taiwan, he found hundreds of war junks trying to prevent him from landing at Zeelandia. He promptly left, sailing for Japan.88 In the meantime, Batavia had prepared a defense fleet, which arrived in Tayouan shortly after Clenk had left, although adverse weather prevented the landing of its seven hundred soldiers until September. When Zheng Chenggong saw the fleet arrive, he flew into a rage.


The target of his anger was He Tingbin, who had been advising Chenggong throughout the invasion as well as acting as translator and intermediary. Whenever the Dutch or Chenggong wanted to send a message to the other, Tingbin had acted as go-between.89 At times Tingbin helped company employees who had been captured by Zheng forces, as on one occasion when he mitigated the torture of some Dutch prisoners,90 and on another when he gave a Dutch prisoner food and drink.91 He was also the person to whom Dutch defectors fled—in July 1661, for example, a company soldier named Anthonie Pergens ran to him, and Tingbin secured him employment with Chenggong.92


But Tingbin had said that the capture of Taiwan would be easy, and when it turned out to be hard, Chenggong got angry. Tingbin had portrayed Taiwan as a place where rice was plentiful, but it turned out to be otherwise, as reported by a Dutchman who had had a chance to talk to some of Zheng's soldiers: "In China they had had a much better life than here. Venison is never seen; pork is [very expensive]; and they are forced to live with nothing other than aboriginal rice, which, because there is so little, they boil into a sort of ricewater or porridge [liblap of cangie]. . . for which dearth Tingbin receives the most blame."93 But it was when Chenggong saw the Dutch succor fleet arrive that he really got mad.94 According to Dutch records, he had Tingbin stripped of his honors and sent him to live in a small thatched hut, with orders never to show his face again. Others were forbidden to visit him on pain of death.95


The seven hundred reinforcements from Batavia were too few for a major expedition against Chenggong, but company officials decided they might be used at least to help raise the siege on Fort Zeelandia. The fortress's cannon were unable to hit Zheng's besieging soldiers because the latter were hiding behind the remains of stone houses in Zeelandia City. The Dutch therefore launched a coordinated naval and land expedition. According to plans, two ships were to sail around behind Zeelandia and bombard the enemy soliders from the side while four hundred Dutch infantrymen would attack head on from Fort Zeelandia. Meanwhile, another small fleet of Dutch ships would attack a group of Chenggong's junks that were anchored in the Bay of Tayouan. The plan was launched on September 16, 1661. Wind and tide seemed favorable. But as soon as the ships set out, the wind died. Then it began blowing from the opposite direction, making it impossible for the Dutch sailing ships to carry out their missions. When a detachment of Dutch galleys foolishly rowed out to engage the enemy, they were routed, losing five vessels and more than a hundred and thirty men.96 Without naval support, the land assault failed.97


The besieged still kept their hope. With the remaining ships of the succor fleet they could still harass Chenggong and perhaps disrupt his supply lines from China. More importantly, they could offer naval help to the Manchus, who appeared willing to ally with them against Chenggong. At this point, however, disagreements between Formosan officials and the captain of the succor fleet made concerted action difficult. The captain, Jacob Caew, failed to show up when expected by the Manchus and instead went back to Batavia. The Manchu alliance failed, and Zeelandia was left once again without naval support. Then things got worse.


In December 1661, Hans Jurgen Radis, one of the company's sergeants, defected to Chenggong's side. Radis had served in European wars and knew Fort Zeelandia inside and out. He directed Chenggong's attention to a redoubt located on a hill above Fort Zeelandia. If Chenggong could take it, he would be able to shoot directly into the company's defenses and Zeelandia would be his. Chenggong followed the advice. In January 1662, his men began preparing batteries to fire on the redoubt. Dutch officials realized that Chenggong now knew about the only major weakness in their defenses. They considered making a sortie to dislodge Chenggong's men and prevent them from finishing the batteries but decided not to because they lacked manpower. Instead, when Chenggong's cannon began firing, the Dutch prayed: "We trust that our kindhearted God, who is almighty, will protect us from the terrible violence of our enemies, and we are begging him to do so fervently and with our entire hearts."98 The redoubt fell a day later.


Now that the redoubt had fallen, the governor and the Council of Formosa sent word to Chenggong: They were ready to surrender. Chenggong knew he had the upper hand and was able to set strict terms. Company officials were allowed to keep a small amount of money, but the fort, along with all artillery, munitions, merchandise was to be his. Moreover, the Dutch were to provide him with a copy of the names of all Chinese debtors and leaseholders on Taiwan who had claims outstanding against them. Once the surrender had been signed, company forces marched out of the fortress armed and in good order. Then Chenggong raised his flag over it. Not long thereafter, the Dutch garrisons in Jilong and Danshui also surrendered. The Chinese colony that the Dutch had fostered now had a new master. For the first time, Formosa was ruled by a Chinese state.


And what happened to He Tingbin? In the final negotiations, as the Dutch were surrendering their fortress to Zheng Chenggong, he appeared once more as a translator: "Tingbin the scoundrel land-thief and master-traitor . . . has, it appears, little authority among the common people, but is used for translation."99 That is the last time he appears in company records.



Note 1: For a fanciful account of the origins of He Bin and his relations with "King Coyett" (揆一王) of Taiwan, see Jiang Risheng 江日昇 (fl. 1692), Taiwan wai ji 臺灣外記, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 60 (1960), 36–48. back

Note 2: It is interesting that in some East Asian sources He Tingbin is referred to as a Japanese chief (日本甲螺). It is of course possible that Tingbin had some contact with the Chinese community in Japan, but there appears to be no corroboration in Dutch records. See Kawaguchi Choju 川口長孺, Taiwan ge ju zhi 臺灣割據志, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 1 (1957), 53; and Zheng shi ji shi 臺灣鄭氏紀事, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 5 (1958), 48. In both of these sources, the phrase 日本甲螺何斌 appears. See also Zheng Chenggong zhuan 鄭成功傳, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 67 (1960), 100. back

Note 3: Indeed, he appears to have been related to the Chinese official known in Dutch sources as Sauja (in Chinese sources he is known as 祚爺 or 鄭泰), an adopted son of Zheng Zhilong and one of the most powerful men in Amoy. See De Dagregisters van het Kasteel Zeelandia, Taiwan, 1629–1662, ed. Leonard Blussé et al., 4 vols. (The Hague: Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1986–2001), vol. 4, C: 637 (cited hereafter as Zeelandia Dagregisters). back

Note 4: Vertoogh van de voornaemste Chineesen in Tayouan over de onhebbelijckheden gepleecht door den tolck Pincqua, 15 November 1654, VOC 1207: 550–52, quote at 550. back

Note 5: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Formosa, 10 March 1657, VOC 1222: 1–16, esp. 14. back

Note 6: Zeelandia Dagregister, vol. 4, B: 137 and B: 148. back

Note 7: Yang Ying 楊英, Cong zheng shi lu 從征實錄, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 32 (1958), 113. back

Note 8: Yang Ying, Cong zheng shi lu, 113. back

Note 9: Xia Lin's "Min hai ji yao" 閩海紀要, for example, contains the following passage: "Coyett sent the translator He Bin to pay tribute of foreign treasures (貢外國珍寶) to Chenggong and ask for trade. [The foreigners] are willing yearly to pay a tax (輸款納餉) of five thousand silver taels, fifty thousand arrow-shafts, and a thousand dan of sulfur." See Xia Lin 夏琳, Min hai ji yao 閩海紀要, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 11 (1958), 19. A closely related source by the same author contains an almost identical passage, except that it, like the Yang Ying, provides a yearly tax of 100,000 instead of 50,000 arrowshafts. See Xia Lin 夏琳, Hai ji ji yao 海紀輯要, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 22 (1958), 20. Similar passages occur in Ruan Minxi 阮旻錫, Hai shang jian wen lu 海上見聞錄, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 24 (1958), 24; and Peng Sunyi 彭孫貽, Jing hai zhi 靖海志, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 35 (1959), 39. back

Note 10: See, for example, Yang Yanjie 楊彥杰, Heju shidai Taiwan shi 荷據時臺灣史 (Taipei: Lianjing 聯經 Press, 2000), 273. The debate on this issue is not over. Although it is doubtful that Dutch officials would have condoned the idea of tribute, it is possible. Indeed, it was one of the charges leveled against Coyett in the trial in Batavia that followed the loss of Taiwan. back

Note 11: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 159. back

Note 12: Ibid. back

Note 13: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 160–65. back

Note 14: Yang Ying, Cong zheng shi lu, 113. back

Note 15: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 167. A resolution specifies the size of the gifts: 2,012 reals for Koxinga and a total of another thousand or so reals for others. In addition, Pinqua was provided 2,945 reals for expenses (Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 19 March 1657, VOC 1222: 48–51b). Since a tael was worth almost 50 percent more than a real, this was not enough money to pay the tribute the Zheng court appears to have expected. See also the Bericht schrift van Frederik Coyett voor den tolcq Pinqua, Tayouan, 22 March 1657, VOC 1222: 533. They also decided to hold the long-delayed general auction for village leaseholders and other leases (Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 167). The auction brought a respectable sum (Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 177–80). back

Note 16: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Koxinga, letter, Tayouan, 2 July 1657, VOC 1222: 504–5. back

Note 17: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 19 November 1657, VOC 1222: 17–43, esp. 18. back

Note 18: Pinqua to Governor Frederik Coyett, translation of letter, undated (July 1657), VOC 1222: 527–28. back

Note 19: Pinqua to Governor Frederik Coyett, translation of letter, fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month (25 July), 1657, VOC 1222: 529–30. back

Note 20: Great Mandarin Koxinga to Frederik Coyett, president of Formosa, translation of letter, 5 August 1657, VOC 1222, 518–19, quote at 518. back

Note 21: Zhilong's manipulation of the Dutch is outlined in Leonard Blussé, "The VOC as Sorceror's Apprentice: Stereotypes and Social Engineering on the China Coast," in Leyden Studies in Sinology, ed. W. L. Idema (Leiden, 1981), 87–105. back

Note 22: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 224–26. The expression "the Dutch . . . must realize, as they drink the water, where it comes from" was probably a translation of the Chinese phrase 飲水思源, which is usually used in the context of filial obedience. Similar language also appears in a letter Koxinga sent to Zeelandia around the same time: "All the people who live with you [in Formosa] are my subjects [mijn volk]. . . and you have realized good profits, such that Your Excellency must . . . always keep in mind whence comes the water that is drunk there" (Great Mandarin Koxinga to Frederik Coyett, president of Formosa, translation of letter, October or November 1657, VOC 1222: 516–17). back

Note 23: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 224–26. back

Note 24: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 227. back

Note 25: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 27 December 1656, VOC 1218: 467–71, esp. 469. On Tingbin's questionable practices, see Vertoogh van de vooraemste Chineesen in Tayouan over de onhebbelijckheden gepleecht door den tolck Pincqua, VOC 1207: 550–52. back

Note 26: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 10 March 1657, VOC 1222: 1–16, esp. 12–13. back

Note 27: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 164–65. back

Note 28: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 253–54. back

Note 29: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 254. back

Note 30: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 255. back

Note 31: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, B: 288–89. back

Note 32: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, C: 594. back

Note 33: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, C: 637. back

Note 34: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Formosa, 19 November 1657, VOC 1222: 17–43, quote at 19. back

Note 35: The phrase "sharp questioning" was perhaps a euphemism for torture. back

Note 36: For more on Zheng supporters within Dutch Formosa, see Yang Yanjie, Heju shidai Taiwan shi, 279–80. back

Note 37: 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 (henceforth referred to as Verwaerloosde Formosa). back

Note 38: Some Chinese sources indicate that he fled because of indebtedness, but they do not mention the full extent of his actions. An early such account, for example, states that "the red-haired barbarian cabessa [甲螺] He Bin fled to Xiamen because of debts [負債走廈]." See Huang Zongxi (lived 1610 to 1695), Ci xing shi mo 賜姓始末, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 25 (1958), 29. Another source, the fanciful and unreliable Taiwan wai ji, has He Bin fleeing to Koxinga because he had embezzled (侵用) more than 100,000 taels "from King Coyett" and was afraid the "king" would try to seek revenge; see Jiang Risheng 江日昇 (fl. 1692), Taiwan wai ji, 190–91 (see also 165). back

Note 39: Generale Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, et al, XVIII, 16 December, 1659, p. 278. back

Note 40: Yang Ying 楊英, Cong zheng shi lu 從征實錄, Taiwan wenxian congkan, no. 32 (1958), 185; I based my translation on that of Lynn Struve in her excellent Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers' Jaws (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 207. back

Note 41: Xia Lin, "Min hai ji yao," 27. back

Note 42: Yang Ying, Cong zheng shi lu, 185; Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm, 207. back

Note 43: As Jack Wills points out, by choosing Formosa, Koxinga was in effect choosing his biological father (Zhilong) over his adoptive father (the prince of Tang) and could therefore be seen as abandoning his Ming loyalties. See Jack E. Wills Jr., Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 228–29. back

Note 44: See Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 18 December 1659, VOC 1230: 210–12. back

Note 45: Generale Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, et al, XVIII, 16 December 1659, p. 277. back

Note 46: The meaning of this sentence is somewhat vague. The words "established colony" most likely refer to the Chinese colony on Formosa, to which Nicholas Verburch, who was in charge of Formosan affairs, attached great importance. This interpretation makes the following phrase more understandable: "which would be very damaging to the situation of the land there" (hetwelcke den staet daer te lande seer schadelijck wesen soude). Generale Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, et al, XVIII, 16 December 1659, p. 277. back

Note 47: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 194. back

Note 48: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Govenor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan 10 March, 1660, VOC 1233: 700–14, esp. 709–11. back

Note 49: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 194–95. back

Note 50: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Govenor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 10 March 1660, VOC 1233: 700–14, quote at 711. back

Note 51: Ibid. back

Note 52: From Verwaerloosde Formosa, 200–1. back

Note 53: Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 11 April 1660, VOC 1233: A146–A152 (behind p. 810), quote at A149. back

Note 54: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 198. back

Note 55: Coyett and the council members wrote that if the Council of the Indies took the proper measures, in a few years the troubles would have faded and one would be able to say "Had we not had that misfortune we would have been unfortunate indeed" (Wij waren ongelukkich waren wij niet ongelukkigh geweest). Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, to Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker, letter, Tayouan, 11 April 1660, VOC 1233: A146–A152 (behind p. 810), quote at 150. back

Note 56: A classic account of the events that follow van der Laan's dispatch is found in one of C. R. Boxer's earliest articles: "The Siege of Fort Zeelandia and the Capture of Formosa from the Dutch, 1661–1662," Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society London, 27 (1927): 16–47. back

Note 57: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 82; William M. Campbell's translation, in Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Sources (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1903), 400. See also Inez de Beauclair, ed., Neglected Formosa: A Translation from the Dutch of Frederic Coyett's 't Verwaerloosde Formosa (1675; San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, 1975), 30. back

Note 58: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 85. back

Note 59: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 89. back

Note 60: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 90. back

Note 61: General Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, and Steur, XXI, 26 January 1661, p. 361. back

Note 62: General Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, and Steur, XXI, 26 January 1661, p. 358. back

Note 63: General Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, and Steur, XXI, 26 January 1661, p. 361. back

Note 64: General Missiven, vol. 3 (1655–74), Maetsuyker, Hartsinck, Van Oudtshoorn, Verburch, and Steur, XXI, 26 January 1661, pp. 361–62. back

Note 65: Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker to Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, letter, Batavia, 21 June 1661, VOC 1234: 265–90, quote at 277v. back

Note 66: Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker to Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, letter, Batavia, 21 June 1661, VOC 1234: 265–90, quote at 279v. back

Note 67: Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker to Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, letter, Batavia, 21 June 1661, VOC 1234: 265–90, quote at 281. back

Note 68: Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker to Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, letter, Batavia, 21 June 1661, VOC 1234: 265–90, quote at 283. back

Note 69: Governor-General Jan Maetsuycker to Frederik Coyett, governor of Formosa, letter, Batavia, 21 June 1661, VOC 1234: 265–90, quote at 280. back

Note 70: Cited in C. R. Boxer, "The Siege of Fort Zeelandia and the Capture of Formosa from the Dutch, 1661–1662," Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society London, 27 (1927): 16–47, esp. 26. back

Note 71: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 508. back

Note 72: Yang Ying's account and Coyett's account differ in the day of the arrival of Zheng's fleet. See Lynn Struve, The Southern Ming, 1644–1662 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 254, note 83. back

Note 73: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 555. back

Note 74: For those readers who desire a more detailed account of the siege of Zeelandia, I recommend Jiang Shusheng 江樹生, Zheng Chenggong he Helanren zai Taiwan de zui hou yi zhan ji 鄭成功和荷蘭人在臺灣的最後一戰及換文締和 (Taipei: Han Sheng Zazhi She 漢聲雜誌社, 1992). back

Note 75: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 104. back

Note 76: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 105. back

Note 77: Yang Ying also provides an account of this battle (Lynn Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm, 218). back

Note 78: Verwaeroosde Formosa, 104–5. back

Note 79: Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm, 213. back

Note 80: They suffered food shortages thereafter, as Yang Ying makes clear, and despite Koxinga's policies immediately to begin settling soldiers as farmers, his large army was still dependent upon grain from China. When grain ships did not arrive, soldiers in Formosa were sometimes reduced to "eating tree bark to satisfy their hunger" (Yang Ying 楊英, Cong zheng shi lu, 191; Struve, Voices from the Ming-Ch'ing Cataclysm, 231). back

Note 81: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 537. back

Note 82: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 553. back

Note 83: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 562. back

Note 84: Struve's translation (Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm, 226). back

Note 85: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 574–75, Campbell's translation, although I have changed a few words for clarity (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 318). back

Note 86: See Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, E: 710–12. back

Note 87: See Geoffrey Parker, "The Artillery Fortress as an Engine of European Overseas Expansion, 1480–1750," in City Walls: The Urban Enceinte in Global Perspective, ed. James Tracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). back

Note 88: For the further adventures of Clenk, see Boxer, "The Siege of Zeelandia," 37. back

Note 89: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 537–38, 560, 564. back

Note 90: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 519. back

Note 91: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 529. back

Note 92: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 690. back

Note 93: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 737–38. back

Note 94: See the fascinating diary of Philip Meij, Het naervolgende sijnde 't geene per memorie onthouden van 't gepasseerde in 't geweldigh overvallen des Chinesen mandorijns Cocxinja op Formosa en geduijrende ons gevanckenis, beginnende 30 April 1661 en eijndigende 4 Februarij 1662, VOC 1238: 848–914. This valuable document has been published and translated into Chinese: Jiang Shusheng 江樹生, ed., Meishi Riji: Helan tudi celiangshi kan Zheng Chenggong 梅氏日記荷蘭土地測量師看鄭成功 (Taipei: Han Sheng Zazhi She Gufen Youxian Gongsi 漢聲雜誌社股份有限公司, 2003). back

Note 95: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 755 and 779. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, D: 792, 798, 811, and E: 676, 701. Chinese sources do not mention this occurrence. back

Note 96: This attack appears to be mentioned by Yang Ying as well, who records the capture of five Dutch vessels (two jiabanchuan 甲板船 and three xiaoting 小艇) in the eighth lunar month. (He does not provide the precise day, but the eighth lunar month was around the time of the Dutch attack.) Yang Ying 楊英, Cong zheng shi lu, 191. back

Note 97: Verwaerloosde Formosa, 142–45. back

Note 98: Governor and Council of Formosa to Batavia, letter, 25 January 1662, in Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, E: 728–32, quote at 732. back

Note 99: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 4, E: 744. back