Spanish Formosa

Spanish Formosa

Infobox Former Country
native_name =
conventional_long_name = Spanish Formosa
common_name = Spanish Formosa
status = Colony
empire = Spain
status_text =
continent = Asia
region = East Asia
country = Taiwan
era = Age of Discovery
event_start =
year_start = 1626
date_start =
event_end = Surrender of Fort Santo Domingo
year_end = 1642
date_end =
p1 = Kingdom of Middag
flag_p1 =
s1 = Dutch Formosa
flag_s1 = Flag of the Dutch East India Company.svg
s2 = Kingdom of Middag
flag_s2 =

image_map_caption = Location in East Asia
common_languages = Spanish, Formosan languages
government_type = Colony
capital = Fort Santo Domingo, Tamsui
religion = Roman Catholicism
currency = Spanish real
stat_year1 =
stat_pop1 =
stat_area1 =
title_representative =
representative1 =
year_representative1 =
representative2 =
year_representative2 =
event1 =
date_event1 =

Spanish Formosa was a Spanish colony established in the north of Taiwan (then known as "Formosa") from 1626 to 1642. Designed to protect Spanish and Portuguese trade from interference by the Dutch base in the south of Taiwan, the colony was short-lived due to the unwillingness of colonial authorities in Manila to commit men and materiel to defending it. After seventeen years the last fortress of the Spanish was besieged by Dutch forces, and eventually fell, giving the Dutch control over most of the island.


In the early seventeenth century Catholic Spain was in bloody competition with Protestant England and Holland for trade and influence in East Asia. With the establishment of a Dutch colony at Tayouan (present-day Anping) in the south of Taiwan, the Dutch gained the ability to effectively threaten Spanish trade in the region. As a counter to this threat, the Spanish decided to establish their own colony in the north of the island.

The early years (1626–1629)

After landing at Cape Santiago (now Sandiao) in the north-east of Taiwan but finding it unsuitable for defensive purposes, the Spanish continued westwards along the coast until they arrived at Keelung.cite book|title=The Island of Formosa Past and Present|last=Davidson|first=James M.|origyear=1903|year=2005|publisher=Southern Materials Center|isbn=957-638-124-X|location=Taipei, Taiwan] A deep and well-protected harbour plus a small island in the mouth of the harbour made it the ideal spot to build the first settlement, which they named Santissima Trinidad. Forts were built, both on the island and in the harbour itself.

In 1929 the Spanish set up their second base, centred around Fort San Domingo in Danshui.

First battle with the Dutch

In 1941 the Spanish had become such an irritant to the Dutch in the south that it was decided to take northern Taiwan from the Spanish by force. In courteous terms, the Dutch Governor Paulus Traudenius informed the Spanish governor of their intentions.The Spanish governor was not inclined to give in so easily, and replied in kind.Subsequently the Dutch launched an assault on the northern regions, but the Spanish positions were well-defended and the attacking troops were not able to breach the walls of the fortresses. They returned, thwarted, to the Dutch base at Fort Zeelandia.


ee also

*Dutch Formosa
*Spanish Empire


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