Member: National Museum of Taiwan History
The VOC and the Penghu Islands
Penghu isn’t far from China, which made it optimal for trading with China.
Additionally, Penghu is an important hub located in the Taiwan Strait, and it is the area where Minnan merchants traveled south on the Toyo sea route. The maritime areas near Taiwan and Penghu have long been popular with Han fisherman from the coastal areas of southeast China.
In 1604, when the Dutch first came to East Asia, they first took Penghu as a stronghold for negotiating trade with China. After the Dutch attacked Macao in 1622, they came to Penghu again. This time the Dutch wasted no time in building a fort at the mouth of the harbor on the main island. However, the Dutch were driven out by China in 1624 and moved to Tainan. Although the Dutch left Penghu, there were still ships that came to Penghu transporting goods to China and Japan.
The Dutch ships sailing on Penghu were only used to transport goods to other places via the docked boats in Penghu, or to provide the Dutch with food and supplies by docking in Penghu. Most of the items shipped to Penghu were for the purpose of trans-shipping to third places.
On the other hand, Penghu property, resources and a large number of imported goods such as stones, agricultural produce, salt, and livestock were shipped to Tayouan, now known as Anping, Tainan. Goods to be transported to Tayouan business halls, or materials that were sent to Japan and Batavia, were transported by mooring Dutch boats in Penghu.
Remains of the fortress
“Fonggueiwei” (Fongguei Tail) castle of Magong was located on the Penghu Makung Fongguei peninsula, which is commonly known as “snakehead mountain”. It was built in 1622 during the Ming Dynasty, by the Dutch admiral Cornelis Reijerszoon as a stronghold for trade. It was an important fortified point and it was the earliest completed Western castle in Taiwan. It had quite a significant strategic position and had important cultural value.
This castle is a typical small European-style fort: the plan was square, the four corners each protruding out of a redoubt with the castle gates set up in the center of the southeast wall, facing Magong harbor. This door to the south coast led to the dock for the mooring ships.
The castle was destroyed when the Dutch left but currently people can still see some very small remaining relics of the fortress and some memorial stones that indicate the location.