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The Unsinkable Ship Essay

2055 words - 9 pages

The salty sea air rolling over the lapping waves pushes the vessel through the different ports and storms of its history and further into the uncharted water of the future. This icon of a seafaring ship metaphorically represents the Island of Taiwan and the creation and survival of its unique culture as it has sailed through the different storms of colonization, oppression and war of its history. Just as a storm leaves scares on a ship, Taiwan's turbulent history has left marks on the Taiwanese culture. Along with the marks from its storms, the peaceful times of Taiwan's history have brought major developments in infrastructure, modernization and an intermingling of different cultures ...view middle of the document...

During these times of colonization, these fourteen differentiated tribes were separated under two different labels by the colonizers of either the "raw" or the "cooked" aborigines (). The "cooked" Aborigines were the natives that lived in the pastoral region and intermingled with the new colonists and immigrants through trade and even marriage. While the "raw" aborigines were the tribes that resided in the mountains and were often violent to the newcomers. The "cooked" aborigines quickly started to form a new culture by mixing their cultural foundation the culture of the new colonists. Unlike the plains Aborigines, many of the mountainous Aborigines remained autonomous for many years. Several of these tribes even lasted up until the late nineteenth century until they were subdued by the Japanese after years of "constant fighting between the Japanese and aborigines" (Roy 34).
Though the mountainous tribes political autonomy was finally taken by the Japanese and the pastoral tribes lived under the rule of foreign powers for centuries, the unique tribal cultures survived the past and now have a significant role in modern Taiwan's identity. This new found interest in the importance of including the aboriginal culture into the collective Taiwanese identity primarily stems from the confrontation of the present day storm of Taiwan's independence or its inclusion into the mainland. Supporters of Taiwanese independence emphasize the impact of the aborigines' unique culture on Taiwan, while proponents for Taiwan's reunification with the mainland argue that the Taiwanese aborigine is of Chinese decent rather than Austronesian. Supporters of independence have produced studies that claim that Taiwanese aborigines are "decedents of Austronesians" and "60%" of the modern inhabitants of Taiwan carry this blood with only a minor proportion of Taiwanese being "the descendants of immigrants from the mainland" (Stainton 41). Studies like this show the durability of the original foundation of the Taiwanese culture that has survived through the storms of Taiwan's past to play a significant role in the modern storm that will determine if Taiwan will sail the route of a country or that of a province.
Though the aborigines had lived on Taiwan for thousands of years Taiwan had relatively remained the same up until the arrival of the Dutch. The Dutch were the first people to significantly change the face of Taiwan and impact its people through modernization of infrastructure, introducing a capitalistic and trade based culture, bringing evangelizing missionaries, and the first large amounts of Chinese immigrants to the island. The Dutch's main interest in Taiwan was to have a convenient and profitable port for trade and storage of goods, therefor the infrastructure they built was located in areas of good ports such as their city Zeelandia and did not venture into the island's interior.
Though the construction of cities and modern buildings remained at the...

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