Siege of Fort Zeelandia

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Siege of Fort Zeelandia
(1661-1662)
Fort Zealandia Taiwan.jpg
Fort Zeelandia, 17th century.
Date March 30, 1661 - February 1, 1662
Location Tainan, Taiwan
Result Decisive Koxinga victory
Establishment of Kingdom of Tungning
Participants
Koxinga's private army
Koxinga's private fleet
VOC-Amsterdam.svg Dutch East India Company
Commanders and leaders
Koxinga VOC-Amsterdam.svg Frederick Coyett
Strength
25,000 soldiers and sailors
Hundreds of war vessels.
Garrison: 1,200[1]
unknown number of native allies and civilians
Reinforcement: 10 ships, 700 sailors
Casualties and losses
unknown 1,600 killed or diseased
2 ships sunk
3 vessels captured

The Siege of Fort Zeelandia is the name for Koxinga's Invasion of Taiwan. The siege started in 1661 and ended in 1662. It ended the Dutch East India Company's rule over Taiwan. After the siege, the Kingdom of Tungning ruled over the island. This event was said to be "a war that determined the fate of Taiwan in the four hundred years".[2]

Beginning[change | edit source]

In 1659, after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Nanjing, Koxinga, leader of Ming loyalists began searching for a home for his men.

He Bin, who was working for the Dutch East India Company, fled to Koxinga's base in Xiamen and provided Koxinga with a map of Taiwan. The Dutch had established a post at Tayoan, that had two forts. The first was Fort Zeelandia at the entrance to the bay at Tayoan which was the main Dutch settlement. The second was Fort Provintia also located at the bay. Frederick Coyett, the governor of Taiwan was at Fort Zeelandia with 1,800 men. Fort Provintia had 500 men.

The Siege[change | edit source]

Peace Treaty of 1662, between Dutch Governor and Koxinga
The surrender of Fort Zeelandia

Koxinga's fleet set sail from Kinmen on March 23, 1661. His fleet consisted of hundreds of ships of various sizes, with 25,000 men aboard. The fleet arrived at Tayoan on April 2, and, after passing through a shallow waterway unknown to the Dutch, landed at Luermen.

The men laid siege to Fort Provintia and it surrendered on April 4. Three days after the capture of Fort Provintia, Koxinga's men surrounded Fort Zeelandia and demanded it's surrender. Koxinga sent a Dutch priest Anthonius Hambroek to ask for this surrender. Hambroek dis not do this and he was killed after returning to Koxinga's camp.

Koxinga's fleet then used cannons and they attempted to enter the fort, but many died. Koxinga then waited outside the fort. On May 28, news of Koxinga's attack reached Jakarta. The Dutch sent 10 ships and 700 sailors to help. The ships arrived on July 5 and had some small fights with Koxinga's fleet.

On July 23, the two sides fought as the Dutch ships tried to enter the fort. After a while, the Dutch ships had to retreat with two ships lost, three small vessels captured, and about a hundred casualties. The Dutch tried to break the siege again in October, but were beaten back by Koxinga's army. This victory, coupled with news of low morale among the garrison from deserted German mercenaries, convinced Koxinga to launched an assault in December.

On January 12, 1662, Koxinga's fleet began another bombardment, while the ground force prepare to assault the fort. With supplies dwindling and no sign of reinforcement, Coyett raised a white flag. The surrender was complete on February 1, and the Dutch East India Company left Taiwan on February 17.

Afterwards[change | edit source]

Coyett was tried for surrendering and exiled to the Banda Islands. He was pardoned after help from his friends. He published a book named Neglected Formosa (Dutch: 't Verwaerloosde Formosa) in 1675. In the book he criticized the company for neglecting his pleas for reinforcement.

After the loss of Tayoan, the Dutch East India Company tried to recapture it. They joined with the Qing Empire to battle Koxinga's fleet, but failed.

Cultural influences[change | edit source]

The battle was shown in the movie Zheng Chenggong 1661, which ends with Koxinga's victory over the Dutch. The movie's English title is Sino-Dutch War 1661.[3]

Other pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Jonathan Manthorpe, Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005) p. 65
  2. 盧建榮, 1999, 入侵台灣:烽火家國四百年 台北: 麥田出版
  3. Kung Fu Cinema