This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Two Old Dutch Forts, Tainan, Taiwan

Near Tainan City, the ruins of two old forts from the Dutch Colonial Era still stand.  They both are now well-known tourist attractions. This was not so in 1958.

Fort Zeelandia was built on a peninsula on the western edge of Tainan for protection from a direct attack by ships moving up to the port, itself.

This was during the time of the Dutch East India Company, a trading enterprise of The Netherlands . The fort took nearly 10 years to build from 1624 to1634.

Fresh water had to be transported to the very island-like peninsula, a problem that became magnified shortly after its construction.

At that time, round shot cannonballs didn't explode, but were used to batter and destroy ships and fixed structures. They were made from solid lead or iron.

For them to explode, the round shot balls were hollowed out and filled with gunpowder. An embedded fuse made for an explosion upon impact. To be technical, these were called artillery shells.

Any pictures not labeled are public domain and we are simply posting them to our blog.

Map courtesy of Larry Barton

Kaohsiung on the southwest coast, Keelung on the north coast and Tainan were major ports of trade at this historical time.
Print picture courtesy of

With the actual fort at the right of the peninsula, we can get a better notion of the actual isolation of Fort Zeelandia. The flag of The Netherlands is red, white and blue.

Photo courtesy of

A scale model of the fort shows not only its height, but also its thickness and complexity. Physically, this made it a virtually impregnable fortress.

Print courtesy of

A naval assault, using round shot cannon balls, was easily absorbed. The Chinese invaders then began a siege, knowing that time was on their side when it came to supplies..

For 9 months in 1661 to 1662, the Chinese attacked almost constantly, but the lack of water and mounting deaths led to the eventual surrender.

An analogy would be the Siege of Vicksburg during our own Civil War.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

In 1958, this was one of the first sites that Tom and his friends had of Tainan.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

A circus happened to be in town during Tom's assignment in Tainan. It doesn't appear to be permanent.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Finally, this beautiful park with a large lake was worth a picture by Tom.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Getting back to Ft. Zeelandia, a huge wall surrounding it can easily be seen at the left. At the right side of this picture can be seen a Japanese pillbox.

These pillboxes were used to protect soldiers inside who then could fight approaching enemies. Could this be from WWII?
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Inside the fort, these 3 cannons make for a great tourist attraction.
Photo courtesy of

Sure enough, here are the 3 cannons from another angle
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

As we can see, this section of the fort was well preserved in 1958.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Having said how well it was preserved, this picture indicates that the fort was not yet a great tourist attraction.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Tom indicated that this was a memorial to the Dutch who occupied Taiwan for 38 years, beginning in 1624 and ending in 1662.

The Dutch were allowed to keep personal provisions and leave, but this was, essentially,  the end of any attempt to establish a permanent trading area in Taiwan

The thickness of parts of Fort Zeelandia and its elevation are shown here. Many of the surrounding walls of the original fort still stand.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Looking from the side, this was what Tom saw of Fort Zeelandia in 1958.

The photo below is current.


Photo by Benjiho, the license holder

This is an official entrance today of the old Fort Zeelandia, now called Fort Anping.

A wall surrounds much of old Fort Zeelandia.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

This is the base of Fort Provintia, the other fort, located east of Fort Zeelandia toward the center of Tainan City.

It appears similar to the other fort in its materials used for construction.

East of Fort Anping, stand the remains of Chihkan Tower. This monument on the grounds of the old Fort Provincia depicts the Dutch surrender to China in 1662.

Taken from its opposite side, the surrender monument gives more of an idea of the size of the entire attraction now called Chihkan Tower.

Today,  this is what remains of Fort Provincia. It is now another beautiful tourist attraction in Tainan with an inviting entrance.

As is the case with many of Taiwan's formerly isolated structures, the old Fort Provintia takes up a block in downtown Tainan.


  1. The stelae in the 13th image are collected from local historical sites in Tainan, mostly from Ching Dynasty.

    Only a small part of the surrounding walls of Fort Zeelandia still exists today, as is shown in the 14th image.

    The Dutch was, matter of fact, defeated by a legendary admiral, Cheng Cheng-Kung(鄭成功, Coxinga國姓爺), in 1662, who was fighting against the uprising Ching Empire.

  2. And here I thought General Zheng Chenggong of the Ming Dynasty was the aggressor.

  3. Again, it's hard to define General Zheng Chenggong as a hero for the Ming Empire or an aggressor for the Dutch and/or the aborigines in Taiwan.

    The 7th image is the Zhongshan Park(台南中山公園) in Tainan.

  4. One more thing is worth mentioning. There used to be an aboriginal tribe at the location of Fort Zeelandia before the Dutch came to Taiwan, and the name of the tribe is Tei-voan or Tai-wo-an or something like like. That's how Taiwan got its name. In the aboriginal language, Tei-voan means located(tei) sea(voan), i,e, a town at seashore.
    The fishermen and immigrants from China, however, called the island-like peninsula Yi-Kun-Shen(一鯤鯓, Big Whale One).