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Development of the Aboriginal Area

    Taiwan’s indigenous people are considered Austronesians. Indigenous people residing in modern-day region of Chiayi County belonged to the Pepo Tribe of Hoanya and the Highland Tribe of Tsou.

    The Dutch landed in Formosa (the island of Taiwan today) in 1624 and expanded their territory to include Wangang (called Wancan, Wanckan or Wankan by the Dutch; called “Manggang” or “Wengang” during the Jheng rule; called “Wengang” during the Cing Dynasty; located in modern-day region of Haomei Borough of Budai Town) except Jhuluoshan (Chaiyi City today) in the early 1630s. As early as October 1643, the aboriginal area, Damao Settlement (near Dongrong Village, Jhunglo Village and Hsian Village of Minhsiung Township today), within the modern-day territory of Chiayi County had promised to pay taxes to the Dutch ruler. During the time Damao Settlement, Alishan Settlement (about 10 miles away from the county government during early Cing Dynasty), Cilengan Settlement (mountain tribes to the east of Meishan Township today) and Gantzewu Settlement (or Hsiantzewu Settlement or Jiantzewu Settlement, located in Alishan Township or Sanmin Township of Kaohsiung County today) participated in the local conference in Chikan (middle-west district of Tainan City today) on March 21, 1644, the Dutch government bestowed the rod that stands for submission and the status of an “elder.”

    Later, Abacuan Settlement (Meishan Township today) joined the local conference on February 28, 1646, and Jhumulao Settlement (or Jhumulong, Tefuye of Dabang Village, Alishan Township today) also became a part of the local conference on March 19, 1647. Since then, the settlements would participated in each local conference in which the Dutch governor would renew the appointment of the elders or appoint new elders.

    Following his landing in Taiwan in April of the 15th year of Yongli (1661), Koxinga (1624-1662) adopted the indigenous policy of the Dutch and appointed “native officials” (called the “elders” during the Dutch rule) for effective control of each tribal settlement. Yet the stationing troop’s failure to handle matters properly in July of the same year gave rise to armed insurgence in Tatu Settlement (the term used collectively to call all aboriginal people residing in the coastal areas of central Taiwan). Because of the incident, the backup troops, Hou Regiment and Jhi-wu Regiment, relocated to modern-day region of Chiayi County/City to cultivate the land and protect local residents.

    The Cing Dynasty inherited the aboriginal policies of the Dutch colonist and the Jheng government in that it appointed “native officials” to rule themselves. In the 61st year of Emperor Kanhsi (1722) a policy was decreed in accordance with the suggestions of local officials, “Stone demarcations are to be erected over 10 miles outside the aboriginal areas to prohibit trespassing.” Such demarcations erected within the modern-day territory of Chiayi County included Pujianglin (Shekou of Jhungpu Township, Shitouchu to Jhungpu, Dingpu today), Baiwangpu (near Tungren and Shenkeng of Jhungpu Township today), Dawurangpu (near Fanlu of Fanlu Township today), Lumachaneipu (Neipu Village of Jhuci Township today), Nioushikengkou of Damao (Shakeng of Jhuci Township today), Yetzekengkou (Yetzekengkou of Minhsiung Township today), Jhungkengtzekou (Jhungkeng of Dalin Town today), Meitzekengshan (near Maishan to Jhuntou today). Checkpoints were instituted along the demarcations to prevent trespassing. (On the ridge of Taipingshan at Taipingshan Village of modern-day Meishan Township, Chiayi County, we can still find the “aboriginal demarcation mark laid in March of the 33rd year of Emperor Cianlung (1768).

    In early years of the Cing Dynasty, “Alishan was around 10 miles from the county government. In the 7th year of Emperor Cianlung (1742) the area had been expanded to the 8 settlements of Alishan: Daguifeshe (or Dajufeshe, Chashan and Hsinmei Villages of Alishan Township today), Tsaoluoposhe (or Zaoluoposhe, ?), Hsiantzewushe, Shamijishe, Tafangshe (Dabang Village of Alishan Township today), Jhumulao, Lujhushe (or Lujheshe, Heshe of Hsinyi Township, Nantou County today), Abacuanshe (all were naturalize “aboriginal people”).

    In November of the 31st year of Emperor Cianlung (1766) “Deputy Governor in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs in Northern Region” of Taiwan State Government was established in Changhua to regulate dealings between ordinary subjects and aboriginal people.” It was in fact an “aboriginal administration agency” founded to govern “subjected aborigines.”

    Due to the Mudan Settlement Incident in the 13th year of Emperor Tungjhi (1874), Shen Bao-jhen (1820-1879) adopted the “mountain development and aborigine appeasing” policy encouraging Han people to cultivate the lands in the aboriginal area and encouraging aboriginal people to adopt Han cultures.

    In June of the 1st year of Emperor Guangshu (1875), Shen Bao-jhen submitted a proposal to change “Deputy Governor in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs in Northern Region” into “Central Region” and move the stationing to Shuishalian (Jhushan Town of Nantou County today). The term “subject appeasing” was added for the fist time, and the agency became one for handling affairs pertinent to aboriginal people not yet naturalized. The Jhaofu Bureau was founded to carry out the “mountain development and aborigine appeasing” policy. In the 3rd year of Emperor Guangshu (1877), Ding Ri-chang (1823-1882) formulated the follow-up guidelines for “mountain development and aborigine appeasing” and established the “Aboriginal Affair Bureau” and “Aboriginal Development Bureau” and appointed aboriginal affair commissioners as administrative agencies in charge of aboriginal people not yet naturalized.

    In the 12th year of Emperor Guangshu (1886), Liu Ming-chuan (1838?-1897) set up “Taiwan Aboriginal Affair and Development Bureau” in Dakekan (Dahsi Town of Taoyuan County today) directly under the supervision of the governor of Taiwan Province. In various important aboriginal regions “Aboriginal Development Bureaus” were established with branch offices to handle “aboriginal affairs.” Under the “Aboriginal Development Bureaus” and branch offices was instituted the “Aboriginal Goods Exchange Office” to handle bartering of aboriginal goods and treat aboriginal feasts with government funding.

    At the time, Doulioumen (Douliou City of Yunlin County today) deputy mayor Chen Shi-lia established an Aboriginal Development Bureau in Lincipu Yunlinping (Jhushan Town of Yunlin County today) for aggressive development of the mountain ranges of the central region.

    During the Japanese rule, aboriginal affairs were handled by Colonial Production Division of Civil Affairs Department.
    In April of the 29th year of Emperor Meiji (1896), in accordance with the old system of the Cing Dynasty 11 “Aboriginal Affair and Development Agencies” were instituted under Taiwan governor. The “Lincipu Aboriginal Affair and Development Agency” was there to rule aboriginal people in Chiayi and Yunlin Branch Tings.

    In May of the 30th year of Emperor Meiji (1897), “Lincipu Aboriginal Affair and Development Agency” was under Chiayi County.

    In June of the 31st year of Emperor Meiji (1898), “Aboriginal Affair and Development Agencies” were abolished. Aboriginal affairs were turned into the hand of Section 3 of the “Administrative Agency.” Chiayi Administrative Agency was under the supervision of Tainan County.

    In the 34th year of Emperor Meiji (1901), the administrative regions were divided into 20 tings in which 13, including Chiayi Ting, had “aboriginal areas” under their rule. The “Administrative Agencies” were abolished, and the general affairs section of the ting was given charge over aboriginal affairs.

    In the 9th year of Emperor Taisho (1920), Alishan “aboriginal area” was placed under the rule of Chiayi County.

    In April 1946 Wufong Township was established in the aboriginal area under Chiayi County. In March 1989, it was renamed Alishan Township.