2011年8月2日 星期二

Voyage to Taiwan 1804

This is a contract between a Mr 彭Peng and a Mr 羅Luo, prepared by Peng's brother [click to enlarge; for more, see: here]. In it, Peng had agreed to pay exactly 31 [Mexican] dollars for his family of 9, male-female-old-and-young including 3 children, for the passage to Taiwan, on board of Luo's junk. Peng was also responsible for the meals along the way and also a transportation fee on a small ferry upon arrival. The contract was dated the 9th Year of 嘉慶 [1804], the 25th Day of the 1st Month. Since this contract carried the official signature of approval, it would contradict the oft-cited Qing prohibition of migration from China to Taiwan except selected males.

It was unknown from which port this family started their journey or the eventual destination; although it would appear to be from Amoy to Lakjemuyse.

Prior to the late 18th Century, 鹿耳門Lakjemuyse, literally the Deer's Ear Gate, was the only port of entry for ships sailing from China. After registration and inspection of passengers and cargoes, they were then allowed to sail to other ports of Taiwan. In 1784, another port of entry was added, the 鹿港Lu-Kang Port in Changhua. Danshui/Bali was added in 1792. And in 1826, two more ports, 海豐港Hai-feng Port in Changhua and 烏石港Wu-shi Port in I-Lan were also opened. Each port had a corresponding port of exit in China, for example, Lakjemuyse received ships from Amoy, and Danshui, from Foochow (from the 五虎門 Port). These were the officially sanctioned ports. Although, much like the porous borders in the US today, illegal entries were quite common as the whole coastline of Taiwan was readily accessible, plus it was only an overnight trip from China when the conditions for sailing were right.

The year 1804 was also when the 白蓮教White-Lotus Cult uprising was finally quelled by the Qing. This peasants' revolt, provoked by ruinous taxes and extremely harsh rules, started in 嘉慶元年(1796) in Hubei Province and quickly spread to Henan, Shangxi, and GanSu, and finally to Sichuan. This 9-year internal war had consumed much of the Qing financial resource. And the recovery was riding heavily on the backs of the common folks.

In the same year, 1804, Hokkien and Zejiang governments jointly started a campaign going after the marauding pirates. One of the main gangs was led by Chua-kang [Taiwanese pronunciation of 蔡牽]. In 1805, Chua attacked Lakjemuyse and Hobe/Bali. And in the 4th Month of the following year, Danshui/Hobe was sacked and occupied by Chua and his men, and a massacre ensued. To this day, Danshui-ren still commemorate those who died in this unfortunate incident [known as "敗滬尾", celebrated each year on the 18th Day of the 4th Month, lunar calendar]. Chua was finally defeated in 1809 near the Pescardores and committed suicide by blowing up his own ship.

So the 彭Pengs had voted with their feet, so to speak, leaving China for the dreamland, Taiwan. Judging from the handwriting and the language of the contract, the Pengs appear highly educated and well-to-do, not a family that needed to emigrate. It might not have been an easy decision at all. The war had also followed them to Taiwan, unfortunately; although it was quite unlikely that they happened to be in Danshui in 1806 and lost their lives there. Hakka-Pengs in fact constitute more than 70% of the Pengs in Taiwan and they typically reside in Hsin-chu, Miaoli, and Taoyuan. A good guess is that this family was also Hakka coming over to join other Pengs in, e.g., 竹東Chu-tong known to be a Peng stronghold, and the descendants have long become the locals.

10 則留言:

  1. EyeDoc,

    Mexican dollars? How in the world could they use Mexican dollars in Taiwan or China back then?

    I just looked at the source of that picture and information. That's fantastic stuff. Are those used in the textbooks for secondary education in Taiwan? It sure is different than when I learned history in school back then.

    So Mr. Peng and Mr Luo were in the business of coming to Taiwan and to make a new life there. What do you think? Were the aboriginals told to move away from the plains and make rooms for the new arrivals?

    I have a strong suspicion that's what happened. Why wouldn't the aboriginals want to live in the plains where it's easier to get water, or grow food, than in the mountains? I think all these Chinese immigrants, whose descendants are the Taiwanese today who want Taiwan Independence from China, I think these early Chinese immigrants drove the aboriginals into the mountains and took over their lands in the plains, just like the European white men took the lands from Native Americans and put them in the reservations.

    I'm guess this because I think that's what happened everywhere, every time in the human history when two ethnic groups come into contact. The one with advanced weaponry push the other into miserable positions. I mean the animals do it too.

    Today Taiwan is in a poor bargaining position to China. A lot of expats are pro-Taiwan and want Taiwanese to be proud of themselves, to be an independent nation. But if I'm guessing right about the aboriginals been chased out of their lands, then it's a mess. You tell China to get lost and leave Taiwanese along. OK. Sounds good to the Taiwanese. Now if the Aboriginals tell Taiwanese to get lost and give the land back to them. Well, now, somebody still can say something judicial about it?

    Did I say I didn't want to stir up controversies? I mess up, don't I?

    Please do say more, EyeDoc. I'll watch my big mouth.

  2. Hi Herman,

    First, you are most welcome to post comments - this is what this blog is for. And controversies are especially highly regarded.

    The Mexican silver dollar was a common currency used in Taiwan and Southern China. Prior to mid-18th century, it was brought in by the Spaniards who started minting the coins, known as the Spanish pesos in Mexico in 1732. These were replaced in 1823, after the Mexican Independence (1821), by the 墨西哥鹰洋 which you maybe familiar with. These were circulated even more widely in China.

    Yes, the history lessons are very different now. And no, the Han-Taiwanese did not push the Aborigines out with weapons. Since you've mentioned it, I'll post something relevant soon.

  3. I vaguely remember that 鹰洋 mentioned somewhere a long time ago. I don't remember very well. But I think I saw a silver dollar of 袁世凱 once. It was called 大頭 or something.

    So, Mexican silver dollars! And Taiwanese got the land from the Aborigines through regular business transactions! I'll need some time to get my mind re-oriented. History sure is surprising.

  4. Hi Herman,

    A bit more for you:

    The purchase agreements actually date back to the Ming-Cheng period. The well-known 新港文書 is a collection of 140+ documents on land deals and leases between the Siraya (西拉雅) plaines Aborigines and the Han-people. The Sirayas had their own Romanized written language, having been educated by early Dutch missionaries.

    The 袁大頭 was created in 1914 to unify the monetary system in China. Taiwan, by that time, had already switched to paper money. In 1946, the Bank of Taiwan issued 舊台幣 to replace the Japanese money at a 1:1 rate; however, in 1949, the 新台幣 replaced 舊台幣 at an exchange rate of 1:40,000. This had ruined the lives of many. The same confiscatory policy was also instituted in China (e.g., the 金圓卷 etc) - you may know or have heard about it from your parents.

  5. Hi EyeDoc, ChoSan,

    I see, much of this has already been discussed. I just browsed through the posts you mentioned and read the comments there.

    I was unclear about the plains and mountain aborigines as you say. Because back in the 70's when I was in secondary school all I heard was 山地同胞, 高山族, 阿美族, I thought they were people of the mountains. As I read about the natives of America, I then formed some ideas about aboriginal natives in Taiwan.

    I thought when the first waves of "aborigines" came to Taiwan they all lived in the plains because life was easier there. After a period of time, when "the only land available by the time they arrived would be in the hilly areas", the late comers can only settle in the hills. So there became the separation of the Plains Aborigines and the Mountain Aborigines.

    There's probably a lot of internal tribal splitting, or warfare that led to some plains aborigines to move to the mountains and formed tribes there.

    This went on for maybe hundreds or even thousands of years. Then the waves of Chinese immigrants came during the tough years in the Ming and Ching dynasties. And Taiwan was named and Taiwanese became a provincial people of China.

    I thought by now in the 20th/21st centuries, there's hardly any plains aborigines around owning land in the western plains of Taiwan. Their land ownership all transferred to the Taiwanese/Chinese. Or maybe the population of the plains aboriginal landowners is now less than 5% of what they were back 200, 300 years ago. The rest all got relocated to the mountains. That's what I thought and what seemed statistically abnormal.

    Of course this is all guesswork. I formed my opinion because I've only heard of 山地同胞, but not 平地同胞, therefore my random guess.

    And yeah, I know NTU. Who could have not heard of NTU if they grew up in Taiwan? Next time I go back to Taiwan I'm gonna visit this academic mecca.

  6. That distribution pattern might have been what had happened; although it could also have been by choice: the hunters tended to follow the games into the hills while the farming/fishing tribes stayed in the flatland/seacoast and became 平埔番.

    They are now known as 原住民. Only a few tribes (9) have been officially recognized - just like the American Indians, not all are recognized by the Feds.

  7. I spent my youth age growing up in Hualien 花蓮港. I have had many classmates who are called 高砂族 (Takasagozoku) in Japanese and 原住民 after the WWII but in our language they are always 平埔番 or 阿美族. Their village is located merely few miles outside of city, named Taoran (豆蘭)in native pronunciation, however Japanese translate it as 田埔 (Taura).
    Another tribe called Tarokozoku タロコ族、as the name imply they are living near the famous Taroko national park. The Taroko tribe have tattoo in their faces yet Ami tribe don't.
    As pointed out by Eye-Doc majority of Ami tribe engage in farming or fishing and Taroko tribe do hunting most of the time. The 平埔番 live so close to those new immigrants from Mainland and they get intermarried. It is Dr. Mary Lin's DNA study that there are 90% of Taiwanese who have mixed blood with the aborigines living in Taiwan today.
    Talking about intermarriage, it is very common in Berkeley, CA here, most couples are composed by Jewish boys and Chinese girls since the boys are sick of their Jewish mother and girls are looking for green cards.

  8. I remember one of my classmates was 阿美 from 花蓮, and another classmate was 客家. The others I didn't pay special attention to find out.

    Speaking of the Jewish man/Chinese woman marriage, have you heard of the book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?" by Yale professor Amy Chua? Who's ever heard of Chinese tiger ma before her book came along? I will let my speculation run wild here: I think she read the Chinese characters backwards, and took 母老虎 to mean 虎老母. For someone who's sick of his Jewish mother to be married to a Chinese 母老虎, well I better watch my big mouth here.

  9. Amy Chua is my friend's daughter-in-law for a short time, less than a year to be exact. We long suspected that the only reason she decided to get married with N, a Harvard graduated M.D. was because she just broken up with her Jewish boy friend at Harvard Law School. The short last married ended when she reconciled with her old boy friend. Amy's family is from Philippines, same as Aquino family, they are descendents of immigrants from Fukien province, mainland China.

  10. The "Tiger Mom"? I understand she has two daughters. If they were two sons, it might be an entirely different story. It is also just a style, at the core is really the unspoken persistence common to all mothers including the Jewish ones.