Fort Zeelandia (Anping Castle)
Fort Zeelandia was a fortress built over ten years from 1624 to 1634 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), in the town of Anping (Tainan) on the island of Formosa (present-day Taiwan), during their 38-year rule over the western part of that island. Although the site was previously named Orange City, Anping City, and Taiwan City, the current name of the site in Chinese is Anping Fort.
During the seventeenth century, when Europeans from many countries sailed to Asia to develop trade, Formosa became one of East Asia’s most important transit sites, and Fort Zeelandia an international business center. As trade at the time depended on “military force to control the markets”, the value of Formosa to the Dutch was mainly in its strategic position. “From Formosa the Spanish commerce between Manila and China, and the Portuguese commerce between Macao and Japan could by constant attacks be made so precarious that much of it would be thrown into the hands of the Dutch, while the latter’s dealings with China and Japan would be subject to no interruptions.”
On behalf of the VOC, ships departing from Formosa could head north to Japan, west to Fujian, or south to Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Iran or Europe.
Photo by Yang An Shen