In my last post, I started to talk about my trip to Taipei last weekend. I'm picking up today from where I left off.
First, we take the subway to the end of the red line.
The Tamsui station is kind of far from the location of the Spanish Fort, Fort Domingo, which is what I wanted to see most. The walk there is pleasant though.
This is a memorial to MacKay's hospital.
The entrance to Fort Domingo.
The fort was originally built by the Spanish. They saw the potential in having a trading station on Formosa (Taiwan) due to its abundance of resources like deer skins, and its central location in East/South-East Asia. They originally built a wood fort, but eventually they replaced it with a stone one. The Dutch later attacked the Spanish, took over the area and rebuilt the fort. (This was a common tactic of the Dutch at the time. They made a lot of money by attacking and taking over Spanish and Portuguese trading stations.) The current building is the Dutch one, with later modifications.
Later, the Dutch were expelled from Formosa by Zheng Cheng Kung. Fast forward to when the Qing Dynasty controlled Taiwan. They were forced by the British to open up some of their ports to trade after the Opium Wars. One of those ports was Tamsui, and the fort was transferred to British control, where it was used as a consulate. It stayed under British control until the UK cut official diplomatic ties with the Republic of China. The fort is now a museum, a free one too!
The bottom floor of this fort, including the little building pictured here, had jail cells in it dating back to the time as a consulate building. Why jail cells in an consulate? Remember, back in the late 19th century, the British consulate in the Qing Empire was not just a consulate. Because the British had forced an unequal treaty on the Qing, British citizens were not subject to Qing courts, and had to be arrested and tried by the British government. There were similar "agreements" in other countries the British felt they could bully around. Japan had similar treaties with the British, and other european countries, until they modernized and had a strong enough military that they could hold their own against western powers.
There's another building across the way from the fort. It was built as a consular residence during the period when the grounds were being used by the British as a consulate.
I still have some more photos from Taipei, so I'll put them up next time. (Whenever that is.)