The centuries XV and XVI was the epoch of great geographical discoveries, extending the known world. In this context that initiates the world globalization as a historical process, Taiwan, located to the southeast of the Chinese mainland, was known to the Chinese as Yizhou – continent of the barbarians, Dongfan – barbarians of the East – or Xiao Liuqiu – small Liuqiu-(1). The Portuguese was discovered to Europe to find it by chance. Impressed by the landscape they called it Ilha Formosa, showing for the first time to the West on a world map in 1554 by Portuguese Lopo Homen.
The lack of commercial incentives in the island, its difficult navigation by its coasts and political isolation of time Ming (1368-1644) as a defense against barbarian peoples, led to a lack of interest of Taiwan by China. Well known as usual scale of the boats of local fishermen and as a refuge for pirates – Dutch sources speak of a population consisting of approximately 50,000 natives belonging to Austronesian cultures that inhabited the Plains and called the Aguila Island, and about 1000 – 1500 Chinese settlers – for the Government of the Ming, was a wild island inhabited by barbarians who had never belonged to the continental dynasties. In this way, the Dutch, dedicated fundamentally to plunder and piracy in Asia, entered Taiwan 1624 – to make the island a commercial Empire that rivalizase with the Portuguese and Spanish power in the area – becoming Governors of this territory–assuming a brake Japanese expansionism on the domains of Chinese–and obtaining a strategic location on the maritime trade routes of Eastern Asia; However, they could not weave a commercial network with the Mainland due to the negative and constant struggle of the Ming so that this does not take place.
The movements of the Dutch in Taiwan colonial authorities alerted Spanish in Manila, and from 1586 successive memorials presented Virreinales authorities and to the King himself for the conquest of Taiwan. To 1626, in a context of strong rivalry between the Governor of the Philippines and the Dutch settled on the island, heading from Manila of a squadron was ordered to conquer a stable enclave in the area. First, they arrived at the northeastern end of the island and Cabo de Santiago was named subsequently entered in Jilong and called it Holy Trinity, where they built the strong San Salvador.
They later built another Fort in Huwei to 1628 and named it Santo Domingo. The Spanish presence lasted for 16 years on the island and, unlike the Dutch, that did not stop growing and attracting trade and immigrants from the Mainland, the Spanish did not pass for a settlement of strategic and with heavy dependence on supplies sent from Manila (2). Thus, to 1642, the Dutch conquered without great effort Spanish settlements in the North of Taiwan, the island became one of the most precious jewels for them to 1650 with a net proceeds of four hundred thousand guilders a year – about four tons of gold – from geographical exploitation, its natural resources and its Aboriginal work force. In addition, they created schools run by missionaries who spread the Latin alphabet between the aborigines and who converted to Christianity at about 6500 converts. However, there was a certain sector which did not accept the colonial authority in the island – mainly of Chinese origin, and carried out successive uprisings between 1640 and 1652, repressed violently. This ended up breaking the relations between the colonial administration and the Chinese community settled on the island.
This tension was produced at a time marked by the war between the Ming and the Qing – manchu ethnicity – in China, with the victory of the latter. Ming resistance moved towards the coastal area of the southeast of the continent, moved the war front to the area, which caused the massive flight of Chinese migrants to Taiwan. Around 1660, the Manchu armies ordered the population of the coast to move inland to avoid an alliance with the Ming. This forced the Commander in Chief of the armies Ming, Zheng Chenggong – better known as Koxinga-to rethink his military strategy, deciding to locate their headquarters against the Qing in Taiwan. In 1661 carried out an attack on the Dutch settlement on the island, which ended with the defeat and flight of these.