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Introduction

       Chiayi City, whose history spans over 300 years, originates from the transliteration for the community name of Hoanya plains indigenous people, and the Dutch used to call it Tirosen (variants Tirocen, Tiracen) Community. It was also named Tsulosan for the mountains sitting in the east. The peach-shaped old town built in Qing Dynasty earned it the name, Peach City. It is located on the north side of Chianan Plain and has the Tropic of Cancer (23.5N) passing through. The background makes this central city amid Chiayi metropolitan area a charming and wonderful place with numerous legends, unique historic relics, traditional local foods, historical stories, and natural sceneries. Features above show the irreplaceable status of this city for cultural industries and tourism industries.

Historical Background

Ming Dynasty

        According to the historical documents, Hong-Mao Well and Hong-Mao Lake (currently known as Lantan Lake) were both dug by the Dutch. In 1621 C.E., Yan Si-qi, a pirate from Zhangzhou, Fujian in Ming Dynasty, led folks to land on Bengang (refers to Beigang, Yunlin and Nangang Village in Xingang, Chiayi County today) and to reclaim the area around today’s Chiayi City, which shows the great expansion in Taiwan by Han people started from Chiayi. Chiayi City is a city on Chianan Plain which was built in an early era with its rich historical background. The first “Wooden Fence” city in Taiwan was also located in Chiayi City.

        In 1624 C.E., the Dutch took Taiwan. The area around the current Chiayi City was divided by the Dutch as the first area in the north for “Landdag”.

        In 1661 C.E., Zheng Chenggong came to Taiwan and banished the Dutch. He established the government and planed two counties in Taiwan. The government was known as Cheng-tian Government and the two counties were Tianxing and Wannian. Chiayi City was part of Wannian County.

Qing Dynasty

        In 1683 C.E. (the 23rd year of Kangxi’s reign), Taiwan was adopted as part of Qing territory. Qing established Taiwan Government which had jurisdiction over the three counties: Tsulo, Taiwan, and Fengshan. The current Chiayi City is located in Tsulo County then.

        In 1786 C.E. (the 51st year of Qianlong’s reign), the Lin Shuangwen rebellion broke out and Lin and his army sieged Tsulo City for ten months. The citizens in the city assisted the Qing army and the Qing Emperor conferred the name “Kagee” (literally: commended righteousness) from Tsulo City to praise the loyalty of the citizens on November 3 of the next year. The name is the only one in Taiwan gifted by an emperor.

 

Japanese Rule

        In 1895 C.E., Japan and Qing Empire signed Treaty of Bakan, in which Taiwan was ceded to Japan, after the First Sino-Japanese War. The Government-General was thus founded by Japan to rule Taiwan.

        In 1920 C.E. (the 2nd year of Taisho era), Chiayi, originally affiliated with Tainan Prefecture, became the communalistic Chiayi Street for autonomies after the 8th reform. In 1930 C.E. (the 5th year of Showa era), Chiayi Street was turned into a city under a prefecture. Chiayi City directly governed by Tainan Prefecture was then founded.

Republic of China Era

        Chiayi City became a provincial city after the WWII in 1945 C.E. In 1951 C.E. (the 40th year of ROC era), Chiayi City was demoted into a county-administered city where the Chiayi City Office was founded, and became the only one under Chiayi County. In 1982 C.E. (the 71st year of ROC era), it was promoted into a provincial city again and the Chiayi City Office turned into the Chiayi City Government. Since 1990 C.E. (the 79th year of ROC era), the city has been divided into two districts: East District and West District.

About Chiayi

Location: sitting on the north of Chianan Plain which is located in the southeastern Taiwan with the Tropic of Cancer (23.5N) passing through the southern city, 1 km from the south border.

Area: 15.8 km from west to east and 10.5 km from north to south with a total area of 60.03 km2.

Population: nearly 270 thousand people.

Climate: Chiayi City has a moderate climate. The temperature usually goes between 13℃ and 33℃ in a year and there are few possibilities to see the temperature lower than 9℃ or higher than 35℃.

Features

        Thanks to the geographical location and its historical background, Chiayi City, also known as the City of Paintings, has been a place with convenient transportation, moderate climate, thriving business activities, simple atmosphere, and outstanding cultures. There is the origin station of the worldwide known Alishan Forest Railway, one of the three biggest mountain climbing railways in the world, in Chiayi City. The railway was at first built for the wooden industry. The most precious craft “Koji pottery” also originated from this city, and it plays a big role in the nation’s tourism.

        Chiayi City also strives to promote the tourist features, including the essential annual “International Band Festival”. With different marketing strategies, Chiayi City is made to be known by the world. The “Stone Monkey Carving Competition” is an international event as well. Chiayi City is the hometown of “Stone Monkey” and stone monkey carving crafts, which can be traced back to 70 years ago, can only be found in Chiayi.