On This Day In History: Chinese General Koxinga Seizes The Island Of Taiwan – On Feb 1, 1662

the Chinese general Koxinga seized the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege. Koxinga (1624-1662) was a Chinese military leader who is by many regarded as a pioneer and freedom fighter. There are also those who consider him a military pirate.

Koxinga was born in a small Japanese coastal town to a Japanese mother and a Chinese father. At young age, Koxinga showed special fondness for history and the military treatises written by the famous military theoreticians Sun Tsu and Wu Chi. Away from studies, he devoted his time to the arts of fencing, archery and horsemanship. It was a logical outcome that he would become a great military leader one day.

In 1661, Koxinga landed on Taiwan near the main Dutch stronghold at Anping (near present-day Tainan) with a force of more than 25,000 men. The military plan was to attack Dutch colonists in Dutch Formosa.

The Taiwanese Aboriginal tribes who were previously allied with the Dutch against the Chinese during the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652 turned against the Dutch during the Siege of Fort Zeelandia and defected to Koxinga’s Chinese forces. After a nine-month siege, the small Dutch garrison capitulated and were allowed to leave Tainan safely with their personal possessions. On 1 February 1662, the Dutch Governor of Formosa, Frederik Coyett, surrendered Fort Zeelandia to Koxinga.

Koxinga followed this military success by setting up an effective civil administration based on Taiwan and settling the island with his soldiers and with refugees brought from Fujian. His larger ambitions on the mainland and half-formed plans for ousting the Spaniards from the Philippines, however, were cut short by his premature death in June 1662.

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