Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Koxinga's landing site

Sometimes the Chinese and the Dutch versions can be reconciled. A good example is the landing site of Koxinga's troops.

The route (source: here), shown in green, was the one traveled by Koxinga's army in 1661. The red-blue pair on the left indicates Ft Zeelandia (red) and Taiyoun City (blue) and the pair on the right, Ft Provintia (red) and Sakam District (blue). Baxemboy, where Capt Thomas Pedel and 118 of his men died after a battle with Koxinga's men, was the sandbank across the channel from Ft Zeelandia.

江日昇's 《台灣外記》 and 楊英's 《從征實錄》 both recorded the battles fought by Koxinga's army from 1647 (永曆三年) to 1662 (永曆十六年). Both tomes reported the landing site as being 禾寮港 (He-Liao Kang [Port] or Eo-liao Kang in Hokkien pronunciation), i.e., the Port of Grain-storage. 禾寮, however, was not known in the Hokkien language. Most likely it was a transcriptional error and the real deal was either 下寮港 (E-Liao Kang) or 蚵寮港 (O-liao Kang) [seen in other contemporary historical documents]. The names seem to agree with the Dutch version(s): within the Smeerdorp [Shi-bi Village士美村], there was a Olikan (or Olijlankaan, Oylankan, Orakan). This appears to be the original landing and camp site - now 臺南縣永康市洲仔尾 (Jiu-a-bei, upper right red dot on the map above). This was also where Koxinga received the delegates sent by Coyett. On the same site, the Chen Garden was later built. Chen was 陳永華, the Prime Minister of Ming-Cheng Kingdom.

This site also makes sense: the Dutch records mentioned the delegates left Zeelandia at 10AM to travel to the Koxinga headquarters. They did not return until the late evening. The round trip to/from 洲仔尾 on foot indeed would have taken such a long time.