Rediscovered Map Sheds Light on Taiwan’s first Town

Dutch scholars joined researchers from Academia Sinica at a press conference today to unveil a cadastral map of the township of Zeelandia dating back to the Dutch colonial period.

Menno Leenstra, a researcher at the Dutch International Heritage Center said that he had stumbled across the map while doing research on the extinct dodo bird three years ago. The map was among documents belonging to the head of the Dutch East India Company, Nicasius de Hooghe. De Hoogue had been killed while on his way back to the Netherlands in 1647, and his documents retained by the notary.

Historians hailed the find as a big step forward in historical research about the Dutch settlement, which was founded in 1624. According to the map, there were 320 houses in the town. Resident’s names are listed, showing a multi-ethnic mix of Dutch, Chinese, and South-east Asian names. Languages spoken in the settlement included Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese, as well as Dutch and Hokkien.

Buildings in the town included a city hall, hospital, market, and an orphanage.

Professor Leonard Blussé of the Department of History at the National University of Leiden said that the information the map provides shows that Taiwan in the Dutch era was very international.

cadastral map of Zeelandia
A cadastral map of Zeelandia, discovered three years ago in the Netherlands.
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