Wall of Skulls: An Austronesian Taiwan



In our timeline, Taiwan was a neglected, backward place until the Japanese colonization. Despite many tries by the Dutch and Chinese governments, attempts to subjugate the various tribes and exert dominance over the island failed. The effects of Dutch rule, though not what the Dutch had in mind, served to start the process that ultimately broke the power of the aboriginal tribes. The importation of Chinese laborers in massive numbers coupled with the preexisting trickle of Chinese merchants migrating to the island ensured that the plains tribes were quickly absorbed into the Han society.


Far from becoming extinct though, many of the descendants of these tribes persist today, unrecognized by the Taiwanese government. The role of the tribes as landowners from which the Chinese rented land lasted until the beginning of the 20th century, when Japan finally ended the process and pushed the plains tribes further into obscurity. The final blow came during the early years of the KMT government. The government merged the category of “cooked savages” into the majority Han ethnicity. The ensuing years of staunch oppression of “non-Chinese” ideas pushed many families to completely give up any remaining tribal custom. To add insult to injury, the widely held (at the time) myth of the plains tribes having been pushed into the mountains by the Han where the plains tribes became the mountain tribes further marginalized the importance of the aboriginals in the history of Taiwan.

Today, as the recognized tribes are enjoying more focus from the rest of the country, the descendants of some of the plains tribes have banded together and recorded the last remaining words of their ancestors and the rituals that survive. Despite their efforts, the government has recently made it all but impossible for them to regain tribal status. This timeline serves as my attempt to explore the story of a Taiwan with a much bigger Austronesian population.

The inability of the aboriginal tribes to form an organized society has been discussed several times on this forum. The largest issue is the language and cultural barrier separating each of the thirty-odd tribes that existed then. The various tribes lived in constant warfare with each other, and their culture grew to reflect that. The plains tribes lived in walled compounds and retreated to the mountains when headhunting raids began. This effectively prevented the villages from growing too large. Coupled with extensive taboos on marriage and childbearing, the population of the lowlands was far below the upper limit their form of agriculture could support. Dutch censuses place the total number of aborigines at 100,000, about 50,000 of which lived in the plains. I have attempted in this timeline to solve this issue through the earlier introduction of Chinese technology and agriculture.

Despite contact with Chinese traders and Japanese pirates since the 14th century, many of whom married into aboriginal villages, very little of their technology was passed on. The aborigines possessed the ability to smelt iron, a skill presumed to have arrived through contact with Indonesia and the Philippines, and cultivated both rice and millet on dry fields. They had domesticated chickens, dogs, and pigs, but no draft animals. Other major crops included ramie, taro, and sugarcane. Despite the ability to smelt iron, tools were mostly made of stone. Bronze was present, though rare, and vessels were mostly carved out of wood. The Chinese in my timeline introduce the wet paddy-style cultivation of rice capable of producing higher yields as well as aquaculture and water buffalos. The aborigines knew how to create irrigated flooded fields for taro, but the low population and threat of raiding tribes prevented adoption of wetland rice.

The POD of my timeline is the arrival of an entire village worth of Han at the end of the 15th century in an area controlled by a fairly small village constantly plagued by their neighbors. As an anonymous epidemic rages from further inland, one coastal village in southern Fujian decides to wait out the plague on Kin Men Island. They leave carrying much of what they need for surviving the next half year: tools, cloth, food, domesticated animals and plants. A typhoon sweeps the boats far off course before they land on Kin Men. As they are all experienced fishermen, about half of the boats survive.

Lost at sea and with the prevailing wind driving them towards an archipelago of small islands, the villagers decide to stop at the largest visible island(1). They had stayed as a group by tying their boats together and soon, the survivors had all landed. The island proved to be unremarkable and windswept with cliffs towering above the small cove they had landed in. Further exploration proved the island to be too hilly and exposed for growing rice. The island was not deserted as the villagers had thought; there was a small community of Fujianese fishermen barely scrabbling a miserable living on the northern coast of the island. There was only one stream on the island, and, while the reefs abounded with fish, the decision was soon made to set sail again. The islanders told a story of a land to the east populated with men whose arms were black and faces were white while the women had wide, black faces and ruled over their husbands. The land, they said, was beautiful and fertile with more herds of deer than there were people in Hok-kien(2), but its inhabitants were savages who spent the day killing whoever dares approach. Despite the story, most of the villagers decided to sail for the fabled “Island of Women” (3).

Notes:
On the language: Most of the Chinese terms will be in Hokkien, the language spoken by Southern Fujianese. The tribe encountered by the Chinese first speak Babuza. Since this language is completely extinct, I have attempted to use as many words as possible from existing vocabulary lists compiled during Japanese occupation. Other words I have constructed using other Austronesian languages as a base.
1) Qi-Mei, the southernmost island in the Pescadores which were settled in the 13th century by Fujianese fishermen.
2) Hokkien is the name for Fujian as well as the language.
3) Taiwan has been known to the Chinese since the 12th century as a semi-mystical place. Other names include "Greater Ryukyu" and "Island of Dogs".

Please let me know if you think the scenario for Chinese contact is too ASB. I know very little about sailing, especially in the 15th century, so any help is appreciated. I have the first chapter written and will post it soon.
 


In our timeline, Taiwan was a neglected, backward place until the Japanese colonization. Despite many tries by the Dutch and Chinese governments, attempts to subjugate the various tribes and exert dominance over the island failed. The effects of Dutch rule, though not what the Dutch had in mind, served to start the process that ultimately broke the power of the aboriginal tribes. The importation of Chinese laborers in massive numbers coupled with the preexisting trickle of Chinese merchants migrating to the island ensured that the plains tribes were quickly absorbed into the Han society.


Far from becoming extinct though, many of the descendants of these tribes persist today, unrecognized by the Taiwanese government. The role of the tribes as landowners from which the Chinese rented land lasted until the beginning of the 20th century, when Japan finally ended the process and pushed the plains tribes further into obscurity. The final blow came during the early years of the KMT government. The government merged the category of “cooked savages” into the majority Han ethnicity. The ensuing years of staunch oppression of “non-Chinese” ideas pushed many families to completely give up any remaining tribal custom. To add insult to injury, the widely held (at the time) myth of the plains tribes having been pushed into the mountains by the Han where the plains tribes became the mountain tribes further marginalized the importance of the aboriginals in the history of Taiwan.

Today, as the recognized tribes are enjoying more focus from the rest of the country, the descendants of some of the plains tribes have banded together and recorded the last remaining words of their ancestors and the rituals that survive. Despite their efforts, the government has recently made it all but impossible for them to regain tribal status. This timeline serves as my attempt to explore the story of a Taiwan with a much bigger Austronesian population.

The inability of the aboriginal tribes to form an organized society has been discussed several times on this forum. The largest issue is the language and cultural barrier separating each of the thirty-odd tribes that existed then. The various tribes lived in constant warfare with each other, and their culture grew to reflect that. The plains tribes lived in walled compounds and retreated to the mountains when headhunting raids began. This effectively prevented the villages from growing too large. Coupled with extensive taboos on marriage and childbearing, the population of the lowlands was far below the upper limit their form of agriculture could support. Dutch censuses place the total number of aborigines at 100,000, about 50,000 of which lived in the plains. I have attempted in this timeline to solve this issue through the earlier introduction of Chinese technology and agriculture.

Despite contact with Chinese traders and Japanese pirates since the 14th century, many of whom married into aboriginal villages, very little of their technology was passed on. The aborigines possessed the ability to smelt iron, a skill presumed to have arrived through contact with Indonesia and the Philippines, and cultivated both rice and millet on dry fields. They had domesticated chickens, dogs, and pigs, but no draft animals. Other major crops included ramie, taro, and sugarcane. Despite the ability to smelt iron, tools were mostly made of stone. Bronze was present, though rare, and vessels were mostly carved out of wood. The Chinese in my timeline introduce the wet paddy-style cultivation of rice capable of producing higher yields as well as aquaculture and water buffalos. The aborigines knew how to create irrigated flooded fields for taro, but the low population and threat of raiding tribes prevented adoption of wetland rice.

The POD of my timeline is the arrival of an entire village worth of Han at the end of the 15th century in an area controlled by a fairly small village constantly plagued by their neighbors. As an anonymous epidemic rages from further inland, one coastal village in southern Fujian decides to wait out the plague on Kin Men Island. They leave carrying much of what they need for surviving the next half year: tools, cloth, food, domesticated animals and plants. A typhoon sweeps the boats far off course before they land on Kin Men. As they are all experienced fishermen, about half of the boats survive.

Lost at sea and with the prevailing wind driving them towards an archipelago of small islands, the villagers decide to stop at the largest visible island(1). They had stayed as a group by tying their boats together and soon, the survivors had all landed. The island proved to be unremarkable and windswept with cliffs towering above the small cove they had landed in. Further exploration proved the island to be too hilly and exposed for growing rice. The island was not deserted as the villagers had thought; there was a small community of Fujianese fishermen barely scrabbling a miserable living on the northern coast of the island. There was only one stream on the island, and, while the reefs abounded with fish, the decision was soon made to set sail again. The islanders told a story of a land to the east populated with men whose arms were black and faces were white while the women had wide, black faces and ruled over their husbands. The land, they said, was beautiful and fertile with more herds of deer than there were people in Hok-kien(2), but its inhabitants were savages who spent the day killing whoever dares approach. Despite the story, most of the villagers decided to sail for the fabled “Island of Women” (3).

Notes:
On the language: Most of the Chinese terms will be in Hokkien, the language spoken by Southern Fujianese. The tribe encountered by the Chinese first speak Babuza. Since this language is completely extinct, I have attempted to use as many words as possible from existing vocabulary lists compiled during Japanese occupation. Other words I have constructed using other Austronesian languages as a base.
1) Qi-Mei, the southernmost island in the Pescadores which were settled in the 13th century by Fujianese fishermen.
2) Hokkien is the name for Fujian as well as the language.
3) Taiwan has been known to the Chinese since the 12th century as a semi-mystical place. Other names include "Greater Ryukyu" and "Island of Dogs".

Please let me know if you think the scenario for Chinese contact is too ASB. I know very little about sailing, especially in the 15th century, so any help is appreciated. I have the first chapter written and will post it soon.

You can turn it islamic as well..
 
Ch. 1
Summer Solstice, Year of the Rooster, 19th Year of the HongZhi Emperor (1489 CE)

Ng Shin-Yeoh looked up from the hemp net he was repairing. He had long lost count of the days it had been since setting out from their village in China. The sky was amazingly clear, and the relentless sun beat down on their tiny boat. Before the decision to sail for Gim-Meng(1), Shin-Yeoh had never sailed for more than a day and never too far from land. The empty expanse of water still unnerved him. Sending up a brief prayer to Ma-Cho(2) urging her to bring them to land, he pulled up the net he had trailed over the edge of the boat. A few small mackerel flopped out and struggled on the deck. As Shin-Yeoh picked them up, something fell from the net and fluttered to the ground. Frowning, he looked closer at the object. It was a leaf the size of his hand. Still green, it had clearly fallen recently. Shin-Yeoh looked over the side of the boat. More leaves as well as a few dusky orange flowers(3) floated on the sea. “Where had they come from?” he thought.

“Look! Over there!” his youngest son called, distracting him from his thoughts. Entire uprooted trees bobbed in the water which had become brown and murky with mud. “Mud and trees…there must be land nearby!”


A dark blue smudge gradually appeared on the horizon. The cries of astonishment and prayers of thanks to Ma-Cho and Guan-Yim the merciful filled the air as the exhausted fishermen saw the land. They followed the plume of mud washing out to sea, and as they drew closer, they could see what looked like dense forest stretching right up to the water’s edge. Many of the trees had fallen and a river clogged with tree trunks and silt, apparently the source of the mud, sluggishly flowed into the inlet. A huge storm, perhaps the one that had brought them here, must have hit recently. The wind continued to push them into the bay. Shin-Yeoh could see a thin column of smoke rising into the sky off in the distance. “Be careful,” he told his family and the Lims, who had their boat tied to theirs, “remember the stories we heard. Let’s try and not attract attention.”
The fishermen drew their boats together to discuss how they should land. Lim Ti-Swa spoke first, “There’s a small beach over there where we can all anchor. We should send a small party first though, to scout out the area.” The others nodded their agreement, and soon, all 28 remaining families had heard of the decision.

Mariu Qrudu hid herself deeper in the thicket of parau trees as the strange men landed their giant canoes. She had heard stories of such people who broke the taboo against wearing clothes during the millet growing season. As far as she knew, they had never come this far north. She adjusted her basket of woven parau bark and picked her way over the interlacing branches of the trees. Mariu cut through the fields of rice and millet that extended from the village to the parau forest. Taking a shortcut through a taro field, she made her way to a patch of smoldering brush. Her father was burning a patch of grass to clear a field for sugarcane.

Tamao, there are bausi(4) here! Lots of them! I saw them down by the beach. They came in huge things! Like canoes but bigger! And with cloth on top!”

“Mariu, why are you covered in mud? And what were you doing alone in the forest?” her father demanded. “You could be hurt you know. Ibien village still isn’t accepting our terms of truce.”

“I know tamao, I’m sorry! Aren’t you worried about the bausi?”

“The other men and I will discuss it later. Now go home and help your mother with the weaving.”

“Fine! I never get to do anything fun.” Mariu exclaimed as she left.

“Your daughter’s a handful isn’t she, Mona” remarked Teresham, one of the men helping to clear the plot. “She’s almost 25 right? Have you found a husband for her yet?(5)”

“No, not yet. The men in Maimocha’ta are afraid of her and the people in Bunabunavu lost many of their men after the raids last year.”

“Maybe she’ll find a man in Ibien and it’ll be her terrorizing them instead of them raiding our village” said Teresham, laughing. Suddenly serious, he lowered his voice and asked “What should we do about the bausi?”

“Ruwarra’s husband was one of them. Maybe she still remembers their language. If not, she’ll know what to do anyway”

“That old crone? I’d be surprised if she remembered her name at all.”

“Quiet! Do you want to come down with a curse? She could be listening” whispered Mona.

Later:

Mona and Teresham sat on the packed earth in the middle of the village as they waited for Ruwarra to finish consulting the spirits. A semicircle of skulls, 20 in all, grinned up at her as she placed offerings of betel nuts and rice in front of them. They were the skulls of other shamans taken by her father. Directly in front of her was the skull of the man that had killed her husband. Once the offerings had been placed, she took a thin length of bamboo nearly a foot long and rotated it in her left hand while asking the spirits for guidance. Suddenly the bamboo flew from her fingers and impaled itself in the hard earth. With a movement far too graceful for a woman of her age, Ruwarra stands up and faces Mona. “Go home and kill a chicken. Burn its feathers with a handful of millet and place them in a leather pouch. Bring it with you back here. I will go with you to translate. The mababosa(6) say we should trust them.

1) Hokkien for Kin Men Island
2) Matsu: goddess of the sea, protector of sailors. One of the most important deities in Southern China and diaspora.
3) Hibiscus tiliaceus: called “parahau” by the Babuza, this tree is an important source of fiber, net floats (due to its buoyant wood), and medicine.
4) A Babuza term that refers to Chinese people.
5) Many plains aborigines did not marry until well into their twenties or thirties.
6) Literally “old ones”. I reinterpreted the word to mean spirits or ancestors. The rituals used are adapted from those currently used by other tribes.
 
Where did you get that cool pic of the skull wall?

The pic's from http://taipics.com/. It has a lot of pictures of early Taiwan.

Thanks for the compliment guys. I'm not very good at creative writing, so it's nice to know that people are finding this interesting.

Mimeyo, my plan is to keep as much aboriginal culture as possible. Introducing Islam isn't going to help with that.
 
This section is just an overview of Babuza culture before the arrival of the Chinese. The next one will deal with the changes brought on by an influx of alien customs.


The Babuza shared Taiwan’s Central Basin with the Hoanya, Pazeh, and Papola tribes. Intertribal warfare was common, as was raids between Babuza villages. Seasonal headhunting raids from the highland Atayal also posed a threat to the villages. Consequently, each village was surrounded with an impenetrable hedge of bamboo. Houses were built out of bamboo and wood and thatched with grass and palm fronds. Simple, one room dwellings, the houses simply provided a shelter from wind and rain. Nearly all work was done outside. Specific customs of the Babuza are lacking, but the customs of the surrounding tribes suggests that the men lived separately from the women until they were too old to hunt. Children lived with their mother and grandparents until marriage for girls or completion of initiation rites for boys. Bachelors lived with the able-bodied married men in separate houses. As a general trend, Taiwanese aboriginal tribes were matrilineal, matriarchal, or roughly equal in terms of power between sexes.


One of the biggest mysteries of the plains aborigines is their low population density. Far below the capability of their agricultural techniques, the population density was also kept low through abortion and late marriage. Women may go through three or more abortions before being allowed by the shaman to carry the baby to term. Women often did not marry until well into their twenties, while men needed to prove themselves through hunting (animals and people) before being allowed to marry. Despite rivalries between tribes, some routinely adopted daughters from other villages and raised them as potential wives for their sons. Boys needed to kill and bring back a human head in order to be initiated as a man, while girls needed to prove their weaving skills.
Religious life centered on the shamans. Mostly female, the shaman acted as a mediator between family disputes, healer, and communicator between the physical world and that of the spirits. Rituals sometimes included the use of Acacia confuse bark, which is rich in dimethyltryptamine, the active ingredient of ayahuasca. Unlike ayahuasca, it does not seem to require the addition of monoamine oxidase inhibitors to act as a hallucinogen. There were numerous gods; the main ones were associated with one of the four directions. Other gods governing the hunt, crops, or disease also existed. Little else is documented about the religious beliefs. Many tribes placed a lot of significance on pigs and shared a Shinto-like reverence of natural features.
There were no central governing bodies in either the tribe as a whole or in each village. Disputes were generally settled between the parties responsible. The shaman, while respected and sometimes feared for her powers, was not usually a decision maker for the village. Important decisions were made by general consent, with women holding equal or more power than the men.
By the arrival of the Chinese in this timeline, limited contact with occasional Chinese merchants and Japanese pirates had been occurring for a few centuries. Limited exchanges of camphor and deer hides, antlers, and meat for steel knives and glass had taken place. Now, the arrival of Chinese villagers with technology that will potentially sustain a much larger population has been introduced into the central Basin, an area that, in our timeline, was the seat of the Kingdom of Middag. Middag grew up out of a collection of the tribes in the area and survived both Dutch conquest and Koxinga’s invasion. With the introduction of new technology, Taiwan’s fate has been diverted from what it is today.
 
I don't know if anyone is reading this, but here's the next part (see map on previous post for tribal terrritories):
50,000 BCE: First human settlers arrive at Taiwan. Possibly related to Ainu or Australian Aborigines/Negritos.

10,000 BCE: Proto-Austronesian people reach Taiwan with agriculture and some technology, gradually exterminating and assimilating the first settlers.

10,000 BCE - 1700s (?) CE: Outward expansion of Austronesian people from Taiwan and migration back to island from Philippines.

1300s: Small numbers of Chinese traders and Japanese pirates use island as staging grounds for raids/trading voyages. Taiwan becomes known to Chinese Empire.

POD Early 1400s: A hundred or so Chinese villagers escaping from plague land at OTL modern-day Lukang, Changhua County, bringing new technology, animals and plants to the Babuza tribe.

Late 1400s: Having acquired Chinese rice cultivation technology, oxen, metallurgy and ceramics technology and cultural values, the Babuza population increases dramatically. The introduction of Confucian ideals and Buddhism helps erode the tradition of late marriages and mandatory abortion. Neighboring Popora, Pazeh, and Hoanya tribes adopt technology as well.

1500s: (OTL Kingdom of Middag analogue and will be called such in this timeline) Babuza, Popora, Pazeh, and Hoanya form a coalition of 17 towns, the major ones being Middag (OTL modern day Dadu), Sada, Boedor, Deredonsel (Fengyuan), and Goema. The initial Chinese population is assimilated, but the tribes elect a semi-monarchy based partly on the Chinese system. The title is hereditary, but both males and females can inherit the throne due to strong matrilineal traditions in some of the tribes. The coalition is mainly an alliance against the highland tribes and tribes to the south. The monarch serves mainly as the head shaman (spiritual leader as well as settler of disputes) with shamans from each of the major villages acting as a council. The kingdom operates as a tribute system, where crops and deer hides are given as tribute for the monarch and redistributed to each village according to population and need. Each tribe speaks their own language, but many people are bi or trilingual and communication is generally not a problem.
Meanwhile, Siraya villages to the south have started utilizing the Chinese technologies. Despite a later start, the larger initial population of the Siraya makes them a growing threat to the northern tribes. The Siraya villages of Tayuan (OTL modern day Anping), Tavocan (Xinhua), Baklawan (Anding), and Mattou (Madou) become major population centers with about 5000 people each by the end of the century. Unlike the northern tribes, the Siraya are only united by a common culture, language, and trade.

1544: Taiwan is spotted by Portuguese sailors and named Ilha Formosa. The population in the lowlands of Formosa is now about 350,000, half of which are Siraya. The highland tribes have adapted some of the technology, such as metallurgy but not rice farming, as it is too steep for rice to replace millet as the staple food. Their population remains at around 80,000.

1549: Malihan, a part Chinese Thao man, devises a writing system based on the texts left behind by his grandfather, one of the occasional Chinese merchants that pass through the region. It consists of a syllabary using modified simple Chinese characters which Malihan uses to transcribe the myths of his people. Due to the tribe’s relative isolation around Zintun (Sun Moon Lake), Malihan’s creation doesn’t spread beyond the neighboring Atayal and Bunun tribes. Due to the hostility between lowland and highland tribes, writing is confined to these highland tribes for now.

1550: Gold is discovered near OTL Jinguashi in Atayal territory (Northern Taiwan). Ryukyu traders land on Formosa and encounter Basay tribesmen with gold jewelry. The Ryukyu kingdom sets up a minor trade route with the northern Formosan tribes, exchanging cloth, tool, and firearms (after the 1560’s) for gold, deer hides, and camphor. The Formosans do not have the technology for producing good quality steel and are unable to duplicate the technology for manufacturing guns, so they remain a treasured possession.

1609: The Ryukyu Islands are invaded by the Shimazu clan of mainland Japan and become a tribute state. Trade with Formosa is disrupted for a time, but quickly resumes.

1614: Friction between the Kingdom of Middag and the Siraya villages finally boils over as overhunting results in a collapse of the deer population. Disputes over hunting grounds leads to hundreds of headhunting raids between villages. As the villages of Middag are loosely allied and have pledged not to raid each other, they have an advantage over the Siraya, who are fighting them as much as they are raiding each other’s villages. Neither side fights in organized armies. The men in each village lead raiding parties to villages of the opposing side and kill and behead as many men as they can. The Siraya, with their larger villages, are able to hold off the Middag who are stalled at the southern border of Tirosen (Chiayi). With the deer population having crashed, hunting, traditionally a large part of tribal life, slowly becomes a less important part of life in Middag. Siraya society is starting to coagulate into a more unified group due to the threat of attack from the north.

1624: The Dutch East India Company, having been rebuffed by the Ming government from settling on Chinese land, lands at Tayouan island (Anping) in the middle of Siraya territory with the intention of setting up a base for trade with Japan.

 

Hendryk

Banned
Promising TL. I can't really comment on the specifics as my knowledge of Taiwanese history begins after the POD, and my knowledge of aboriginal culture in particular is limited to a day trip I made to the Taroko Gorge, but I'll be following it with interest.
 
Keep up the good work, Mosodake! I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. I lived in Hualien for 2 months and had the pleasure of meeting a few people of the local Amis tribe and I was also taken around to some local Aboriginal cultural sites and some museums which documented Chinese and Japanese subjugation of Taiwanese aborigines.

I also had a short hike through one of the trails of the Taroko Gorge national park and was lucky enough to come across a few Taroko ruins left over from the era of Japanese colonisation.

It's intriguing to see where Taiwan is taking Aboriginal culture after it was so heavily suppressed during the Chiang era, I found that it is quite proudly embraced, I'm not sure if this is sincere or if this is just a way for Taiwanese to distinguish themselves from the mainlanders.

I hope to see more work!:D
 
What a nice little TL! I don't think it will change the rest of the world all that much, but it's still entertaining to read. Bigger isnt always better after all.
 
Thanks for the comments guys! I've been really busy with school, so I haven't had much time to work on this timeline. I did have time to finish the next section. It's a little different in format from the rest.

An excerpt from the notes of George Candidius, a pioneer missionary who served in Taiwan starting from 1627:


February 14, 1627: The storm clouds finally cleared and I could see Formosa for the first time today as we sailed past its southern coast. The coastal hills rose up and disappeared in the low mist that still clung to the land. As we neared Fort Zeelandia, the sun broke through the clouds and bathed us in its light as if the Lord was welcoming us into this savage land. The fort is built on a low island one mile off the coast of Formosa. The natives call it Tayouan. It is a drab piece of rock with little to describe. The island of Formosa, on the other hand, is as beautiful as Tayouan is ugly. As green and fruitful as Eden surely is, I feel as if I am seeing a glimpse of Paradise. I will be traveling there tomorrow to help oversee the building of the church and to begin my duty in civilizing the heathens of this land.

March 27, 1627: The fruitfulness of this land still never fails to astound me. Everywhere there are fields of grain and fruits of every kind. Today is the millet planting festival. On this day, the Formosans wear no clothes. No one, not even the women, is ashamed of their nakedness.
The education of the savages is going well. They are very friendly and hospitable and willing to trade with us. They seem to be very intelligent and quick to understand: the children from Mattau to whom I have been teaching Dutch can now speak short sentences quite clearly. I am working on translating the speech of the savages in order to better communicate with them and eventually translate the bible into their tongue.

May 6th, 1627: I have traveled between each of the eight villages within a day’s travel of Fort Zeelandia. Of these, Mattau, Sinkan, and Bakloan are the largest, having nearly four thousand people each. Curiously, there does not seem to be a king or ruler of any sort in these villages, only a sort of nominal council comprising of twelve men over the age of forty. Minor disputes between people are resolved with the council, and more important matters are discussed in front of an assembly of the villagers in a most eloquent and organized matter. Despite the speeches given by all parties, the council often simply rules for the wronged party to exact revenge.
The people tell me that battles were very common not so long ago; indeed the remnants of bamboo walls used to defend the villages can be seen enclosing the marketplace at Mattau. There seems to have been a major war between the natives and another tribe to the north a decade or so ago, which the men of the village indicated had made their heathen gods bless them with good harvests. The natives here have a barbaric custom of taking the heads of enemies killed in battle and keeping them as trophies. The stone walls of their houses have dozens of niches where skulls are kept. My guide tells me that the skulls are regarded as more important that gold or gems. In fact, a youth must kill a man from an enemy village and bring back is head before he is allowed to marry.


*This part is based loosely on Candidius’ OTL observations. I changed some of it to fit the POD of this timeline.



I will follow up with more sometime in the future:)
 
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One way for the Aborigine Tribes to keep their sovereign rights is to only
allow, and encourage, only females and children > 5 years to immigrate to
Taiwan. Starting off in one tribe, this and a mandatory education and
speaking in the tribal language would have a good chance at amalgamizing
the two very different cultures, but on tribal terms. Otherwise, it is
very hard to buck the trend of Chinese since moving into Southern and
Western China many centuries earlier.
 
One way for the Aborigine Tribes to keep their sovereign rights is to only
allow, and encourage, only females and children > 5 years to immigrate to
Taiwan. Starting off in one tribe, this and a mandatory education and
speaking in the tribal language would have a good chance at amalgamizing
the two very different cultures, but on tribal terms. Otherwise, it is
very hard to buck the trend of Chinese since moving into Southern and
Western China many centuries earlier.
Actually, it is the females that pass the language, I think a societal change is needed for them to survive, I think just have the population of taiwan boom for a time and allow the taiwanese aborigines to create towns rather tham a village
 
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Normally it is females that pass on the language. But if, say, people found out speaking Chinese get pushed out to the mainland with the clothes on their backs, it could work. With Aborigine money and shipping to
get them there, it is, probably via Hakka trading ships.

In conquering cultures, it is often used to get the females to stop
teaching their young old languages. Most frightfully was Zulu
tribe of small proportions taking over a sizable part of Africa and
now making up some 20% or so of South Africa's population

If you take the sickly, the poor, and give them land, especially in
the middle of periodic famines, they would accept these terms if
checked up on regularly. The trick is to separate their abilities
from their language. Not easy, but possible TL, especially with
the danger of people raised under the system knowing the weak
points and later trying to exploit them either within or after being
expelled. So probably a tribe with only minor access to the coast,
as the coast is the most vulnerable to illegal reentry.
 
Many of the aboriginal tribes were matriarchal or at the very least gave women the same amount of power as the men. If Chinese men married into aboriginal communities, the culture would be better preserved. However, the majority of the earliest Chinese settlers were brought over by the Dutch as laborers and were predominately male. As the tribes also practiced exogamy, many of the Chinese men married aboriginal women. Since the Chinese lived near the Dutch forts in their own communities, their children grew up isolated from their mothers' cultures and became more Chinese.

In this timeline, because the local aboriginal population is larger and more peaceful than OTL, there is no need for the Dutch to bring over people from China. There will be some immigration from the mainland further on (as well as more immigration from Japan), but nowhere near the scale of OTL since the lowland regions are already fairly densely settled by aborigines.
 
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