An archeology team has uncovered the foundations of a Spanish chapel on an island off northern Taiwan.
Scientists said that it is an important discovery which sheds light on the history of the European colonial era during the 17th century.
The chapel was part of the Fort San Salvador complex on Heping Island (和平島) in a strategic position at the mouth of Keelung harbor and was built by the Spanish during their brief occupation of northern Taiwan more than 300 years ago.
Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times
The excavation is an international collaboration between the Academia Sinica, headed by project leader Tsang Cheng-hwa (臧振華), and an archeological research team from Spain.
Tsang, a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of History and Philology, said three corners of the chapel’s foundations were uncovered at the dig, which is taking place at a parking lot on the island.
He added that skeletal remains of two males were found at the site, one complete skeleton and another which was incomplete. The remains were judged to be contemporaneous with the fort complex.
“Right now we are not sure if the remains belong to the Spanish, or the Formosan Aborigines who were the main inhabitants of the northern coast during that time. So DNA tests will be conducted to determine their origin... It could turn out that these are the oldest evidence of the Spanish occupation yet found in Taiwan,” Tsang said.
Tsang said the dig enabled the team to determine the exact location of the chapel and it correlates with the position shown on maps of the period.
The team found that the Spanish garrison used materials they found on the island to build the chapel, as a section of the wall matched rocks found in nearby hills.
When excavating deeper around the chapel site, the team dug up much older archeological relics dating back to 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, including stone tools, pottery pieces and decorative items made from Taiwanese jade.
“This indicated that ancient civilizations were active on Heping Island and in the whole northern coastal area more than 3,000 years ago. Due to these recent finds, we will expand our excavation efforts around Fort San Salvador in the coming years, because these are important Taiwanese cultural treasures,” Tsang said.
The fort was a key stronghold during the brief Spanish occupation of northern Taiwan in the 17th century.
In 1626, Spain dispatched a fleet of warships from Manila, and sailed to Quelang — the old name for Keelung — as the fort was built that year.
For its defensive fortifications and firepower, at one time Fort San Salvador had 27 copper cannons and six iron cannons, according to Spanish documents.
After some years of battling for trade concessions and colonial holdings, in 1642 Spain ceded the fort to the Dutch, who renamed it Fort Noord-Holland.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
‘CLARITY AND RESOLVE’: The US has notified Taiwan, China and Japan regarding its stance against a unilateral change in the Taiwan Strait, Jake Sullivan told a forum The US opposes any unilateral action that would alter the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday. “What we would like to see is stability in cross-strait relations and no effort to unilaterally change the ‘status quo,’” Sullivan said during a virtual forum organized by the Washington-based Aspen Institute. The administration of US President Joe Biden has already communicated that message to China and affirmed it to Taiwan, as well as to its partner Japan, he said. The US’ position on the matter is straightforward, which means that it believes in the