Tainan has obtained central government approval to fund an archeology project at Fort Zeelandia that would examine communal life at the fortified Dutch settlement, city officials said yesterday.
Fort Zeelandia and the town of Dayuan (大員) were the foundation for urban life in modern-day Tainan and played a key role in the history of Taiwan, the Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a news release.
The archeology research is part of the agency’s project to reconstruct the historical site and NT$5.06 million (US$179,783) has been allocated by the Ministry of Culture’s Bureau of Cultural Heritage toward the effort, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage via CNA
Shortly after reaching Taiwan in 1642, the Dutch East India Co built the fort in modern-day Anping District (安平) as an important foothold to protect its supply chains, which spanned two oceans, the agency said.
The fort marked the beginning of Taiwan’s entrance into the network of global maritime trade, and Taiwanese Aborigines, Chinese, Japanese and Europeans took part in shaping this historical event, it added.
The ethnic groups living in and around the fort clashed with each other, but also collaborated on shared interests, which set into motion the processes that created modern-day Tainan and Taiwan as a whole, it said.
Past studies of the fort were hindered by limited scope, as efforts were confined to the fort proper and new structures had been built over most of the areas of interest, it said.
National Cheng Kung University, in partnership with the Tainan City Government, has over the past two years explored areas on the periphery of the fort, including Shihmen Elementary School and Sword Lion Square (劍獅埕), it said.
Earlier this year, a research team from the university located outlying walls and a sewage system on the west of the fortification — these had rarely been mentioned in historical documents, it said.
The result of the team’s work showed that on-site research could fill in gaps in the fort’s historiography, it added.
The project would provide a fuller understanding of Fort Zeelandia, which has played a crucial role in Taiwanese history since its founding 400 years ago, the agency said.
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