Mon, Dec 04, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan’s first Christians in the 17th Century

The first Dutch missionaries not only brought Christianity to Taiwan, but also made contributions in education, health and agriculture

By Gerrit van der Wees  /  Contributing reporter

Thus ended the first presence of Christian missionaries on Taiwan. In total, some 30 Dutch pastors served in the various towns in and around present-day Tainan. Koxinga ordered his troops to systematically destroy the churches, small hospitals and schools built by the Dutch, but the local Siraya would continue to recite Bible verses for many years to come: 150 years later, Roman Catholic missionaries visiting the region recounted that they found a number of local groups still speaking rudimentary Dutch and reciting the Dutch Catechism.

Gerrit van der Wees is a former Dutch diplomat who also served as editor of ‘Taiwan Communique,’ a publication in Washington DC. He currently teaches history of Taiwan at George Mason University.

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