[Above: Trade routes of the VOC]
It is well-known that the Dutch East India Company (VOC) settled in Tainan area after its attempt to dislodge the Portuguese from Macau had failed. And its turf war with the Spaniards raged on, even in Taiwan. The Dutch eventually took over both Keelung and Tamsui from the Spaniards in 1642, and went on to build, in Tamsui, Ft Anthonio (the now Red Fort, Ft San Domingo), set up residences, intermarry with, and also fight against the Aborigines. And to support the garrison force in Keelung, instead of shipping supplies in from Tainan, the VOC had acquired farmland north of Tamsui, irrigated by a small stream with clean water, and contracted out the land to the locals to grow food. This river, known as the [Dutch East India] Company Field Creek (公司田溪), still flows today. It empties into the sea in Shalun沙崙 area [on the upper left corner of the hand-drawn map below (click to enlarge)].
[Map of Tamsui by an unknown maker, apparently a Tamsui-lang]
This sparsely populated area is in fact quite rich in history. In addition to the presence of the Dutch East India Co, it was also where the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf during the Sino-French War was fought. And both Chinese and French war dead, the latter including Lt Fontaine, were also buried here.
History, however, will soon intermingle with the new. Not only Shalun, further north, the New Tamhai City 淡海新市鎮 has long been under development, and is still a work in progress, slowed by the lack of a good public transportation system.
And in graphic form:
The Green Line will eventually extend north into 淡海新市鎮 (in the general vicinity of the St John University in the diagram above, northwest of "downtown" Tamsui) designed to accommodate 300,000 and yet only 11,000 or so souls have moved in so far. With the trolley lines completed, this somewhat delayed yet still a newly minted city will see a real estate boom. And with it or long before, we hope an increasing effort in the preservation of historical sites.