wi Qing do not hold Taiwan?

raharris1973

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, ,Apparently according to wiki It was not a foregone conclusion that the Qing dynasty would annex Taiwan after conquering the "Ming loyalist" tungning kingdom ruled by the heir of koxinga in 1683. According to the entry in history of Taiwan (I cannot successfully paste the link here for some stupid reason on this iPad) ministers argued for rounding up the Chinese fugitives and then abandoning the island with only admiral shi lang's lobbying convincing the court in the end to keep the island.

Well what if after the campaign and after evacuaTing the Chinese population on the island, the Qing abandoned it? So from 1684 on the island is "terra nullius" except of course for the Malayo Polynesian aborigines ( some were animists, some were Calvinist) and their kingdoms/chiefdoms.

What happens to the island if it is never claimed by Beijing for the two centuries following 1684?

Is the territory largely left to the aborigines for this time, until it is perhaps occupied by the French or Japanese in the age of high imperialism? Or do other colonizers take it over in the late 1600s or 1700s?

Some candidate colonizers might be the Dutch who held it earlier for a 40 year stretch, or the Spanish who had a for there for 20 years
 

raharris1973

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Others might be the english or British or perhaps the ryukyu kingdom or the satsuma domain that vassalized them, or the Tokugawa shogunate.
 
I don't think anything will happen for the 18th century. Spain is already overextended by that time and does not want more territory, and none of the other European powers would have need of a colony so far away. It'll be the 19th century when someone snatches it up. By the time Japan ends its isolation, the island is probably taken. The French don't even arrive in Indochina until the late 1850s.

I think the British are most likely to take it, perhaps as preliminary to an Opium War situation. Controlling Formosa would establish a good local base for any military expeditions, and it could serve the same purpose Hong Kong did during that time. If not, then probably the French.
 
Maybe the Dutch will step in, since there is historical precedent and it would be easier to govern than parts of the DEI.
 

raharris1973

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I wonder what it would've been called under these alternatives. Perhaps Formosa would have stuck perpetually even though it is a Portuguese name. Or it might have gotten a name from an aboriginal term, although I am absolutely ignorant of their vocabulary.
 
If the Dutch step in and continue what they did before, the Qing will step back in and kick them out. Even the southern Ming were able to do that. And why would the Qing evacuate the Chinese population again? The Taiwanese Chinese could defend themselves.
 
For the Qing to not take Taiwan, you would need a POD in which Koxinga doesn't take Taiwan from the dutch.
 
I doubt the island would go uncolonised for that long. Maybe the Dutch would try again, or perhaps even the Spanish (again) or another European power in the 17th/18th century. It's too late at this point for Japan to try it unless the Shogunate decides to end its isolation early for some reason. And the Qing might as well just kick the Europeans or whoever off the island as they did the first time.

But there already was a significant Han population on the island, and that population was increasing, I believe.

I wonder what it would've been called under these alternatives. Perhaps Formosa would have stuck perpetually even though it is a Portuguese name. Or it might have gotten a name from an aboriginal term, although I am absolutely ignorant of their vocabulary.
It was still called Formosa until pretty late in history. It's almost odd we call it by its Chinese name nowadays.
 
If the Dutch step in and continue what they did before, the Qing will step back in and kick them out. Even the southern Ming were able to do that. And why would the Qing evacuate the Chinese population again? The Taiwanese Chinese could defend themselves.
The Qing were not particularly interested in Taiwan, but they didn't want it to be a base for rebels and pirates. I don't see the Qing successfully evacuating Taiwan, but I certainly can see them trying it, plus forbidding settlement and contact.
 

PhilippeO

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even if Qing succeed in removing every Han population in the island, people from overpopulated Fujian would still migrate and establish farm there. There would be Han peoples dominating Taiwan lowland, reversing people movement is lot harder than establish boundaries.
 
What happens to the island if it is never claimed by Beijing for the two centuries following 1684?

Is the territory largely left to the aborigines for this time, until it is perhaps occupied by the French or Japanese in the age of high imperialism? Or do other colonizers take it over in the late 1600s or 1700s?
Here's a possibility - one of the stronger "kingdoms", having adopted Calvinist Christianity, unites the island, and it becomes a "state". The kingdom adopts the Roman alphabet for its language (which is not Chinese; and the locals are nearly all illiterate).

Taiwan becomes something of an entrepôt for east Asian trade, and retains its independence all through the 1700s. Its status is like Hawaii in the 1800s, only much earlier, and it is internally much stronger.

Trapping butterflies, one can see a strong relationship between the Yankee traders from New England and Taiwan.

But also, importantly, it could be the first "Westphalian" state outside Europe. I doubt that there would be formal diplomatic relations in the 1700s, but soon after 1800. And if Taiwan took to building modern ships of its own, Taiwanese vessels might be seen in Europe or America. This shifts the entire perspective of Europe-vs-the-natives much sooner than OTL.

Maybe even in the 1700s, if Britain wanted a local ally to support an attack on the Spanish Philippines. The Taiwanese, being Protestants, would fit well. Taiwan, unlike China, Japan, and Korea, could be expansionist into the Pacific - perhaps taking Micronesia from Spain, perhaps even voyaging to the west coast of the New World. (The fur trade from the Oregon Country to China was extremely lucrative.)

This would be on a far smaller scale than what Japan or China could have done, but it would still be "proof-of-concept" - a non-European country participating in the Age of Sail as a peer of the Europeans.
 

raharris1973

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Very interesting response, I had never given much thought to the idea of an aboriginal state on the island. the Dutch missionary effort on Taiwan makes me wonder, did the Dutch attempt and succeed at any missionary work in the Dutch east Indies?
 
I wonder what it would've been called under these alternatives. Perhaps Formosa would have stuck perpetually even though it is a Portuguese name. Or it might have gotten a name from an aboriginal term, although I am absolutely ignorant of their vocabulary.
I think Formosa sticking is almost a given if it's not taken by the Chinese.
 

raharris1973

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I think Fujianese speakers would be an immigrant minority in a country based on a kingdom based on Malayo-Polynesian aborigines

Of course I could see it taking a long time for the writ of the central kingdom and indeed Calvinism to spread through the entire territory, especially the highlands. There will be ungoverned or tribally governed spaces where headhunting remains a custom for a long time on parts of the island.
 
I wonder what it would've been called under these alternatives. Perhaps Formosa would have stuck perpetually even though it is a Portuguese name. Or it might have gotten a name from an aboriginal term, although I am absolutely ignorant of their vocabulary.
The word Taiwan is itself derived from an aboriginal term and originally only applied to the island where the Dutch settled. Formosa would probably remain the name of the main island.
But there already was a significant Han population on the island, and that population was increasing, I believe.
This. There were some Han (and Japanese) on the island already and many more were recruited by the Dutch as laborers. After the Dutch left though, a large part of population growth was due to intermarriage between the Han and aborigines and the introduction of Chinese farming methods.

Btw, the majority of aborigines are not Malayo-Polynesian. Malayo-Polynesian languages form but one branch of the Austronesian language family with differences between branches similar to differences between, for example, the Slavic languages and Celtic languages. The 5-9 other branches of the family are found only in Taiwan. Only one Formosan tribe, the Tao, is definitively included in the Malayo-Polynesian branch. There is debate whether or not the Paiwan language is in the same branch as the Malayo-Polynesian languages.
 
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I think Fujianese speakers would be an immigrant minority in a country based on a kingdom based on Malayo-Polynesian aborigines

Of course I could see it taking a long time for the writ of the central kingdom and indeed Calvinism to spread through the entire territory, especially the highlands. There will be ungoverned or tribally governed spaces where headhunting remains a custom for a long time on parts of the island.
"An immigrant minority" in the same way that Singapore has a "Chinese/Indian minority"?
 
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