Wed, Aug 29, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Tainan planning monument for site of 1661 fight

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Tainan City Government will establish a monument in memory of "the nation's first battlefield," with an inauguration scheduled for next May.

Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Netherlands Trade and Investment Office representative Menno Goedhardt attended a ceremony on Monday to pinpoint the location where the monument will be erected.

The 1661 war between Dutch colonists and soldiers led by Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功) -- better known in the West as Koxinga -- took place near what is now a temple in the Annan (安南) District of Tainan.

The war ended 38 years of Dutch rule over Taiwan.

Tombs for the Chinese and Dutch soldiers who died in the war are still located in the area.

Speaking at the ceremony, Hsu said that Cheng -- whose title Koxinga, meaning "bearer of the imperial surname," was bestowed by the last emperor of the Ming dynasty -- moved his troops to Taiwan in 1661 and fought the Dutch in a nine-month war.

The mayor said this was the first major war in Taiwan's history and that the battlefield in Tainan should be called Taiwan's "first old battlefield."

Goedhardt said he was grateful to see that the tombs of the Dutch soldiers, who were seen as enemies, had been well-protected through the centuries.

Koxinga is closely linked to the nation's history and the Tainan City Government attaches great importance to his contributions and his close connection to the city.

Several temples and facilities dedicated to Koxinga and his mother were built in Anping and Tainan after he expelled the Dutch.

Although his father, the leader of a pirate force, surrendered to Qing dynasty rulers, Koxinga continued to lead his father's armies to fight the Qing emperor's overwhelming forces.

After defeating the Dutch, Koxinga devoted himself to turning Taiwan into an effective base for anti-Qing sympathizers who planned to restore the Ming dynasty to power.

He died at the age of 38, ostensibly from malaria.

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