Taiwan’s Foreign Trade History
Anping is the earliest port in Taiwan’s history and has been through the rules of the Dutch, Zheng’s reign of the Ming dynasty, Qing Dynasty and Japanese era. It was also an important trading port of Taiwan. In 1858, the 8th year of Emperor Xianfeng’s reign during the Qing dynasty, with the Treaty of Tianjin (Tientsin), more ports were opened in Taiwan, including the earlier Danshui and Keelung ports, and subsequently the ports in Takao and Taiwan Prefecture. In 1865, the 3rd year of Emperor Tongzhi’s reign, Anping opened its port on the 1st of January, and foreign merchants came successively to set up their firms. The British Tait & Co., Elles & Co., Boyd & Co., US Wright & Co. and Germany’s Mannich & Co. were the five well-known traders in Anping at the time. During the Japanese occupation, with the Japanese monopolizing the opium trade and taking away the shipping businesses, the foreign merchants gradually withdrew from Anping. The merchant buildings were subsequently converted or used for other purposes. Wright & Co. building was converted into Osaka Shipping Corporation; Mannich & Co. building was converted into Anping subprefecture, Elles & Co., was converted into Anping Aquatic Products School; and Boyd & Co. was converted into dormitories for Taiwan Salt Company’s employees. Tait & Co. building was sold to Taiwan Salt Making Corporation. After Taiwan’s Retrocession, its main factory was made into office buildings, and the factory was relocated. In 2015, in the “Connecting with the world: Open the time treasure box of Anping”, Dutch cultural relics from the 17th century Age of Discovery were exhibited. Through a systematic commentary by zone, the exhibition introduces the origin of merchant houses, trade shipping routes and trading models, reproducing the trading history of Anping. Today, Tait & Co., and Mannich & Co. buildings are the only two remaining merchant buildings having witnessed the history of Taiwan’s foreign merchants during the late Qing dynasty.