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History

Taipei's History and Development

1. The Origin of the Name “Taipei”

In 1875, first year of Emperor Guangxu's reign, Imperial Commissioner Shen Bao-zhen asked for permission to establish the Taipei Prefecture in Mengjia (a general term used to describe downtown Taipei) from the Qing Imperial Court , and built the Taipei Prefecture Office (located in today's Zhongzheng District), making Taipei an administrative district. In 1884, the 10th year of Emperor Guangxu's reign, the construction of a walled city was completed. After Taiwan was established as a province of China, the first Governor, Liu Ming-chuan set up his office in Taipei Prefecture, where development revolved around the inner city and Dadaocheng. These two areas, together with Mengjia, later became the heart of the city and were called the “Three Areas.” During the Japanese Colonial Era, the Sotokufu (the Governor-General's Office) declared municipal organization for Taiwan. During the 9th year of the Japanese Taish? Period (1920), Taipei was made a Prefecture City in keeping with the Organization Statute and the Taipei Municipal Office was founded. The name “Taipei City” was thus officially coined.

Shen Bao-zhen, who proposed the establishment of Taiwan Province and Taipei Prefecture Liu Ming-chuan, the first Governor of Taiwan
Shen Bao-zhen, who proposed the establishment of Taiwan Province and Taipei Prefecture Liu Ming-chuan, the first Governor of Taiwan

2. Home to the Katagalan People

Before the Han Chinese settlers arrived, the Taipei Basin was the home of the aboriginal Ketagalan Tribe, who made a living by gathering, fishing, hunting, and nomadic cultivation. The Ketagalan people were among the first Pingpu tribes to inhabit Northern Taiwan, living in areas as far apart as present-day Taoyuan in the south and Sandiaoling and Yilan in the north. They had established their homes in Keelung, Danshui and Taipei. According to Kanori Ino, a Japanese scholar, the Ketagalan settlement in Sandiaoling was established near the western seashore, via Keelung, Jinbaoli, Fuguijiao, and Huwei (Danshui), following the Keelung River into the Taipei Basin; those who settled in Xizhi District were known as the Fengzisi Community, those who inhabited the Songshan district formed the Xikou Community, those who settled down in Dadaocheng formed the Guibeng Community, and those in Dalongtong, the Dalangbeng Community; some also crossed the Xindian River to form the Baijie and Xiulang Communities. They were the earliest documented inhabitants of the Taipei Basin.

The Taiwan Governor's Office in the Qing Dynasty Bustling boat traffic along the shore of Dadaocheng by Danshui River Taipei City Hall in November, 1945
The Taiwan Governor's Office in the Qing Dynasty Bustling boat traffic along the shore of Dadaocheng by Danshui River Taipei City Hall in November, 1945

3. From the Dutch to the Spanish to Koxinga in the Ming Dynasty

In the 16th century, junks from Mainland Chinese coastal areas sailed between China and Taiwan, and mariners engaged in trade and fishing in the Keelung and Danshui regions. In the 2nd year of the Ming Emperor Tianqi's reign (1622), the Dutch invaded Dayuan (now Anping, Tainan). In the 6th year of Ming Emperor Tianqi (1626), the Spaniards occupied Keelung and Danshui and built fortresses, where they launched missionary and commercial activities. In the 15th year of the Ming Emperor Chongzhen's rule (1642), the Dutch moved north and expelled the Spaniards, taking over their outposts in Keelung and Danshui to begin trade activities and missionary work. In the 15th year of the Ming Emperor Yongli's reign (1661), Koxinga (Zheng Cheng-gong) landed at Luermen, besieged Fort Zeelandia, expelled the Dutch and took possession of Taiwan. He set up Chengtian Prefecture, and established Wannian and Tianxing Counties. Taipei belonged to Tianxing County at that time. Koxinga sent the renowned General Huang-an to garrison Danshui, and implemented the Tuntian system. Troops were garrisoned along the Danshui River to develop areas in present-day Guandu and Beitou.

Taipei's tea industry in its prime in the earlier days Taipei City Wall and City Gate in the Qing Dynasty
Taipei's tea industry in its prime in the earlier days Taipei City Wall and City Gate in the Qing Dynasty

4. Development During the Qing Dynasty

In the 22nd year of the Kangxi Emperor's reign (1683), Taiwan was reclaimed as part of Qing territory. The following year, Taiwan Prefecture was established, and given jurisdiction over the three counties of Zhuluo, Taiwan and Fenshan. Subsequently, immigration from Fujian and Guangdong Provinces to Taiwan greatly increased. In the 48th year of the Kangxi Emperor's reign (1709), after Chen Laizhang asked for imperial permission to develop the Tagala area (today's Mengjia, Xinzhuang to Dalongdong regions), increasing numbers of Han Chinese settlers moved to Northern Taiwan. During the Qianlong Emperor's reign, Taipei's transformation began in Mengjia's Sweet Potato Street (named as such due to the trade in sweet potatoes between Han settlers and aboriginal people) where the Xindian and Danshui Rivers meet, and the city gradually prospered, becoming the island's political, military and business hub. During the Jiaqing Emperor's reign, Mengjia was lauded in a popular catchphrase – “Tainan first, Lugang second, Mengjia third” as the third-largest harbor city in Taiwan. During the Tongzhi Emperor's reign (1862-1874), the tea trade in Dadaocheng gave the town a significant financial boost, making "Taipei Tea" a highly sought-after commodity in the international trade market. In the 10th year of the Guangxu Emperor's reign (1884), Taipei was made a city , and in the13th year of the Guangxu Emperor's reign (1887), Taiwan was officially made a province. Taiwan's first governor was Liu Ming-chuan, and during his term in Taipei, he developed Taipei City with foresight. Railways, roads and schools were built. Taipei City was designated the administrative district, while Dadaocheng was developed into a business district. The present-day Guide Street area was designated a foreigners' community. This particular urban planning assignment later provided a sound development foundation for Taipei City.

Taipei's Auxiliary South Gate – past and present Taipei's Auxiliary South Gate – past and present
Taipei's Auxiliary South Gate – past and present Taipei's Auxiliary South Gate – past and present

5. The Japanese Colonial Era

After Japan occupied Taiwan in the 21st year of Emperor Guangxu's rule (1895), the Taiwan Sotokufu (Governor-General's Office) was established in Taipei City. Between 1899 and 1901, or the 32nd and 34th years of the Japanese Meiji Period, the Japanese expanded the streets of Taipei and improved the drainage systems. In the 38th year of the Meiji (1905) Period, Japanese colonists demolished the Taipei City walls built during the late Qing Dynasty, and built roads along the foundation of the original walls, connecting Mengjia, the Inner City and Dadaocheng and expanding Taipei's administrative area. In 1920, or the 9th year of the Japanese Taish Period, the Taipei Prefecture City was established, its administrative district extended beyond the aforementioned 3 districts to include today's Daan, Zhonglun and Songshan Districts in East Taipei; the colonists had also made plans for a city suitable for a population of 600,000.

Taipei's East Gate (the Jingfu Gate) – past and present Taipei's East Gate (the Jingfu Gate) – past and present
Taipei's East Gate (the Jingfu Gate) – past and present Taipei's East Gate (the Jingfu Gate) – past and present

6. Administrative District Structuring after Retrocession

Upon Taiwan Retrocession in 1945, Taipei was designated a provincial municipality. In October of the same year, the Japanese administrative system was abolished, and the Taipei City Government was instituted. Under the new system, the city was divided into 10 administrative districts: administratively, districts were divided into boroughs, and boroughs into neighborhoods. In 1949, the Central Government relocated to Taiwan, and in 1950, local autonomy was implemented on the county and city level. For the first time ever, a city council election was held in Taipei City. A democratic and political system was inaugurated upon the establishment of a city council. On December 31, 1966, in light of Taipei being the temporary wartime capital, as well as the political, military, cultural and economical center of Taiwan, the President declared Taipei a directly-controlled municipality on July 1, 1967. A year later, on July 1, 1968, Jingmei, Muzha, Nangang, Neihu, Shilin and Beitou Townships were annexed into Taipei. At that time, there were a total of 16 administrative districts in Taipei City. On March 12, 1990, Taipei's administrative districts went through another reorganization. 12 districts were subsequently established. They are: Datong, Zhongzheng, Wanhua, Zhongshan, Shilin, Beitou, Songshan, Nangang, Neihu, Xinyi, Daan, and Wenshan. This division has remained in effect to the present day.

The Three-Lane artery road developed during the Japanese Colonial Period Zhonghua Road at present after expansion
The Three-Lane artery road developed during the Japanese Colonial Period Zhonghua Road at present after expansion
Taipei City Hall the Taipei 101 skyscraper
Taipei City Hall the Taipei 101 skyscraper

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  • Updated: 2015/12/11 15:26
  • Reviewed: 2015/12/11 15:26

  • Source: Taipei City Government