Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Old Spanish Colony In Keelung Provides Evidence Of Taiwan's Global Hub Status During The Western Colonization Era

Mar 23, 2017 02:18 AM EDT

A Dragon and Lion dance is performed before a ceremony releasing water lanterns into the sea to celebrate the mid-summer Ghost Month Festival on August 20, 2013 in Keelung, Taiwan.
(Photo : Getty Images/Ashley Pon)

An anthropological, archeological and historical excavation proved that Taiwan is an important global hub since the era of Western colonization. A team of experts provided clues on how colonization affected the region, yielding proofs that Taiwan did not play a marginal role for Western powers. Also, historians have been proven wrong in their conclusion that Taiwan isn't so important back then because colonizers failed to gain a long-term foothold.

Western colonization or what is called as the period of proto-globalization is an era when European powers seek expansion to the East. This period caused cultural diversity through trade, sometimes armed conquest, to countries such as India, the Philippines, Japan, among others. However, Taiwan was left out of the spotlight and deemed as a minor settlement only.

On the contrary, Maria Cruz Berrocal of the University of Konztanz proved that Taiwan was a Western hub during the Western colonization. Berrocal's team focused their research and excavation in a small island called Heping Dao which is part of modern-day Keelung City of northern Taiwan, Phys.Org reported.

Berrocal talks of a small Spanish colony called "San Salvador de Isla Hermosa" which established settlements in Taiwan's Heping Dao in 1626. Its long history from the Western colonization witnessed several milestones, including cessation to the Dutch, annexation to China and Japanese occupation during World War II. At any rate, San Salvador de Isla Hermosa's significance gradually diminished over four centuries.

In its heyday in Taiwan island, San Salvador de Isla Hermosa was peppered with Christian structures. Barrocal's team recently excavated a foundation for chapel and a cemetery whose dead skeletons show hands folded in prayers, according to the Archeology Institute of America. Barrocal argued that only important places of Western colonization period have established permanent chapels to spread Spanish Catholicism.

Meanwhile, experts hope to gather more information from Taiwan's excavation sites regarding diet and medical history during the Western colonization. Some of the skeletons were sent to undergo isotope and botanical analyses as researchers are trying to extract DNA pathogens from them.

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