Jun 6, 2010

Anping Castle (Fort Zeelandia)

Anping Castle (Fort Zeelandia) was a fortress built over ten years from 1624–1634 by the Dutch Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, in the town of Anping (Tainan) on the island of Formosa, present day Taiwan, during their 38-year rule over the western part of it. Although the site has been previously named Orange City , Anping City , and Taiwan City , the current name of the site in Chinese is Fort Anping .

The Dutch chose a sandy peninsula off the coast of Tainan as the site of the fortress since this would allow the fortress direct access to the sea and with it, supplies and reinforcements from Batavia in event of a siege. Unfortunately, the site chosen lacked adequate supplies of fresh water, which had to be shipped in from the mainland.

The bricks used for the construction of the fortress were brought over from Java, and the mortar used consisted of a mixture of sugar, sand, ground seashells and glutinous rice. The fort was designed to be surrounded by three concentric layers of walls and the four corners of the fort were built into protruding bastions for better defence.

On 30 April 1661, General Zheng Cheng-gong ("Koxinga") of Ming China (1368-1644) laid siege to the fortress (defended by 2,000 Dutch soldiers) with 400 warships and 25,000 men. After a nine-month siege with the loss of 1,600 Dutch lives, the Dutch surrendered the Fortress on 1 February 1662, when it became clear that no reinforcements were forthcoming from Batavia (present day Jakarta, Java, Indonesia) and when the defenders ran short of fresh water.

Under the Koxinga-Dutch Treaty (1662) signed on 1 February 1662 between Koxinga and Frederick Coyett, the Dutch governor, the Dutch surrendered the Fortress and left all the goods and property of the VOC behind at Fort Zeelandia. In return, all officials, soldiers and civilians were free to leave with their personal belongings and supplies.

On 9 February 1662, Frederick Coyett handed over the keys to the fort and led the remaining Dutch forces and civilians back to Batavia by sea, ending 38 years of Dutch colonial rule on Taiwan


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