Chapter 9

Lord and Vassal: Company Rule over the Aborigines


By the late 1640s relations between the company and its Chinese colonists were growing tense. During this period the aborigines, too, suffered, growing poorer with each passing year as more of their lands were turned over to Chinese farmers and as their hunting fields became depleted. Yet aboriginal attitudes toward the company remained relatively favorable. When in 1652 five thousand Chinese rose up to oust the Dutch from the island, aboriginal forces marched alongside company musketeers as they routed the Chinese and then chased down and slaughtered those who fled into the bush.1


It is clear that the aborigines suffered from the Dutch presence. Why, then, should they have remained favorably disposed to the company while many Chinese colonists grew estranged? The answer lies in the institutions the company used to rule Taiwan. Although company officials tried raising tribute directly from the aborigines, the policy was soon abandoned. After 1648 nearly all colonial revenues came from Chinese colonists. Dutch policies tended to decrease aboriginal prosperity, but it was the Chinese who did the actual exploitation: They killed the deer, they took over the land, and they demanded ever higher prices for their wares. Indeed, even as the company made money at the expense of the aborigines, it portrayed itself as a savior, intervening to protect them from the most glaring examples of Chinese exploitation. Moreover, Dutch officials had devised an ingenious set of institutions for ruling the aborigines, the most important of which was the landdag, an annual gathering in which aboriginal delegates appeared before the governor of Formosa, who appointed elders for the following year and conferred upon them the staves that symbolized their authority. The ceremony helped the company articulate its rule to the aborigines and secure its influence among them, thereby gaining their assistance in controlling the Chinese.2


Raising Revenues from Aborigines


In the early 1640s, even as they implemented new taxes on Chinese colonists, company officials wondered whether they should also collect tribute from the aborigines.3 The idea of tribute, of course, was not new, although previous attempts to levy tribute had been more along the lines of restitution after wars, such as the 1630 decision to demand a yearly payment from Mattau and Baccluan: "Inhabitants of the aforementioned villages shall be required, on the same day of the year that they committed the deceitful and insidious murders of our soldiers, to deliver a large sow and [a large] boar as a recognition of their misdeed."4 In 1642, however, company officials turned to the idea of levying tribute to offset company expenditures on housing for missionaries and teachers, since "it is normal throughout the world that subjects contribute to the common good of the land."5 Missionary Robertus Junius objected, arguing that the aborigines were too poor, that deer herds had shrunk because of Chinese hunting and agriculture, and that yearly tribute payments would cause hardship, but company officials disregarded his objections: "They are not poor people," wrote the governor of Formosa, "for they own a great deal of good, rich land, as much as anyone could want. Indeed, they are idle and lazy."6


The first collections took place that very year. A Dutch official was sent with twenty soldiers to tell the inhabitants of villages to the south "that henceforth (as a sign that we are their protector) each family would have to deliver to the company ten bundles of rice paddy [unhusked rice] each year."7 The following year the governor told inhabitants of Soulang, Mattau, Baccluan, Sinkan, and Tavocan that thenceforth their villages, too, must pay a yearly tribute. According to company reports, the aborigines "all showed themselves very willing to do this" and lavishly entertained the governor.8 The tribute system spread rapidly, first to the east coast and then to the far north and, according to company documents, "without any argument from the aborigines."9 Indeed, tribute soon became a condition of membership in the United Villages, although villages new to the organization were often exempted from payment their first year.10 Because each village—indeed each family—had a different idea of how large a bundle of paddy should be, company officials tried standardization, requiring each family to contribute a given weight (20 catties—around 12.5 kilograms) of rice or four deerhides of the highest quality.11 But, as a Dutch clerk wrote, "the gathering of the tribute was very disorganized, since the inhabitants have no understanding of weights, so that some paid too much and others too little."12


How much income did aboriginal tribute bring to the company? It is hard to say. Larger villages could produce considerable amounts: Tribute from the far north of Formosa for the year 1646 consisted of some 7,000 deer and antelope skins; that from the village of Favorolang for 1647 brought some 4,500 deerskins, most of the highest quality; and that from the village of Pima was worth between 200 and 300 reals.13 These were significant amounts. Nonetheless, company officials realized that the tribute system brought far less income than did Chinese inhabitants' licenses, taxes, and leases. Indeed, they began telling the aborigines that the tribute was not levied for financial reasons, since it could not possibly offset the company's expenditures on churches, schools, and other projects for the common good. Rather, they said, the tribute was intended as a sign of the aborigines' "willingness, obedience, and childlike satisfaction."14 In this sense the tribute was a feudal symbol, the homage of vassals to their lord.


Perhaps the income meant little to the company, but it was burdensome for the aborigines, who were already becoming impoverished because of Chinese hunting, agriculture, and monopoly commerce. Missionaries complained that aborigines could not afford even the small payments the company requested, especially since they were also expected to pay for the teachers the company had begun installing in their villages.15 Therefore, at the beginning of 1647, the Council of Formosa decreased the amount the aborigines were asked to pay in tribute.16 Meanwhile, officials in Batavia ordered Formosan officials to end the tribute system altogether, "since those people are poor and miserable, with little or no wealth."17 They recognized that the lion's share of income would come from Chinese colonists. Indeed, they reckoned that the village leasehold system alone would bring in more than enough to make up that lost by the abrogation of the annual tribute.18 So in 1648 the governor of Formosa told village elders that they no longer had to give rice and hides. "From this," he said, "they could clearly measure the goodwill we have toward them . . . and that therefore they should try more and more to repay our good deeds with . . . grateful submission and friendship, . . . since all of this is done only for their advantage and not for our benefit [eygen genotswille], we being happy if they simply recognize this and accept it with thankful obedience."19


Clearly, however, the company had the better end of the bargain. The revenues it drew from Taiwan came at the expense of the traditional aboriginal economy. The "grateful submission" of the aborigines allowed the company to deliver more and more of Taiwan's natural resources to Chinese colonists, who paid generously for the privilege of exploiting them. To be sure, the company used some of the proceeds of Chinese leases to subsidize the aborigines, and sometimes these subsidies were large.20 But in general, the company and its Chinese collaborators came out ahead.


Yet even as aboriginal prosperity decreased over the 1640s, the company managed to retain aborigines' cooperation. This was partly because most outright exploitation of the island was done by the Chinese, who were in effect a revenue-producing buffer between the company and its aboriginal subjects. Indeed, company officials could portray themselves as benevolent and selfless rulers, as they did when they waived the tribute requirement in 1647. They could burnish this image by giving rice and textiles to poor villagers who went to church. Yet aborigines' compliance was not gained solely by an appearance of benevolence. It was augmented by an ingenious and comprehensive system of rule based on European feudal practices. This system helped the company maintain and articulate authority over hundreds of villages, many of which spoke languages incomprehensible to their neighbors.


Landdag: Feudal Symbolism in an Early-Modern Frontier


The Dutch East India Company had been given the right by the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands to serve as its proxy and make treaties with Asian princes. In theory, the company maintained the sovereignty of the princes when it signed such treaties, but in practice many of the treaties ceded some sovereign rights to the company, according to a system of "divided sovereignty."21 This was the case with the villages of Taiwan, which signed treaties stipulating that the villages recognized the States General of the Netherlands as their lord. To symbolize this transference of authority, representatives of the village usually presented to the Dutch a gift of saplings planted in the village's native soil.


Thus, the company conceived of its relation to the aborigines as a lord-vassal bond. In principle the bond preserved aspects of the aborigines' sovereignty. They kept rights to their lands, for example, which were not supposed to be alienated without their consent. When Chinese or company officials wanted to cut wood or farm on aboriginal lands, they generally paid the company a fee that was meant to be remitted to the aborigines. It was the same with fees for fishing and hunting licenses. In practice, these revenues—or large portions thereof—went toward the upkeep of missions, churches, and schools, but company officials felt they were acting in accordance with their duties to their vassals, preserving their vassals' sovereignty over their lands.


This lord-vassal relationship was most clear in the ceremony of the landdag, one of the main institutions the company used to rule over the aborigines.22 The landdag's roots lay in the first stage of VOC expansion in the winter of 1635–36, when dozens of villages sought treaties with the company. It had suddenly gained many and diverse subjects and quickly had to find a way to administer them. Missionary Robertus Junius proposed a clever solution, which Dutch officials decided to adopt. They would hold a great ceremony, "in order to give the entry of the villages into Dutch sovereignty a more official status, and to bind these villages, which were usually at war with each other, to the . . . company and also to each other."23


The company summoned representatives from each village to the aboriginal village of Sinkan, the company's closest and oldest ally on the island. On their arrival, Hans Putmans, the governor of Formosa, addressed them solemnly. First he urged them to live in friendship with one another and outlined their duties as his subjects. Then he chose two or three of the most powerful representatives from each village to act as leaders and gave each, as symbols of authority, an orange flag, a robe of black velvet, and a rattan staff with a silver head bearing the company's insignia. "It was," wrote missionary Junius, "a pleasant sight to see how they paraded in their black robes. Seen at a distance one would have imagined they were all popish priests joining in a procession."24 Finally, the company fêted the representatives lavishly. "This being done," the governor concluded in a report to his superiors in the Netherlands, "all went back to their villages in great joy and we went back to Fort Zeelandia."25


The ceremony was not repeated until 1642, after which two landdagen were held each year: one for the southern and one for the northern villages.26 Later, a far-northern landdag was held for the Tanshui and Keelung area, and an eastern landdag was held for the area around Pimaba.27


Modeled on Governor Putmans's peace ceremony of 1636, landdagen followed a sequence with many feudal overtones. Take, for example, a landdag held in March 1644. The governor and the Council of Formosa left Fort Zeelandia on a company sloop to sail to Saccam, their departure marked by three cannon shots, "both as a sign of joy and as a means of announcing the governor's imminent arrival at Saccam."28 Just outside the village three VOC junks greeted the governor with "great cannonades," and a bit farther on, soldiers aboard a company yacht saluted the governor with three musketry salvos, which in turn were answered by more cannonades. Reaching Saccam shortly thereafter, the governor and his council, accompanied by sixty soldiers ("all very respectably dressed") and six halberdiers, proceeded through the village to the company's Saccam headquarters. Aboriginal delegates stood to one side to watch the procession. Once the governor and Council members were inside, the soldiers fired off three musketry salvos, which were answered by three more cannonades from Fort Zeelandia. The aboriginal delegates then appeared before the governor village by village, greeting him before proceeding to the garden, where they were seated at a long table under the shade of a great white canopy.


Once the elders had all appeared and were seated in the garden, the governor and the members of the Council of Formosa walked out of the company building and seated themselves in a stone gazebo (speelhuys), which looked out over the table. When the sixty soldiers had taken up places around the gazebo, the governor addressed the assembly. A translator, standing at the head of the table, rendered the governor's words into the Sinkan dialect, from which they were then translated into other aboriginal languages.29 First the governor welcomed the elders and praised them for coming. Then he moved on to business, touching on such issues as the appointment of elders, church and school attendance, the payment of the villages' annual tribute, and the untrustworthy nature of the Chinese. The address finished, he undertook the central order of business: the appointment of next year's elders. He thanked the present elders for their "alacrity and conscientiousness" and asked them to come before him and lay down their rattan staves. These, he reminded them, were their symbols of authority. Last year's elders must deliver up their staves and thereby indicate the relinquishment of their authority. New staves, he said, would then be given to the new appointees and "from now on only those who have been provided with the new staves shall have power."30 The new appointees were told that these staves must be handed over the following year, when their term of authority ended and that, if an appointee should die before the end of his term, his staff should be handed over to his successor "not because of its value, but so that this symbol of authority . . . should not be denigrated." The appointees came forward village by village and accepted their staves "with great pleasure," promising "by a handshake (in place of a formal oath) before God and those present that they would remain . . . true to the governor, be obedient to his commands, and, further, do all that honest and faithful leaders should do."31


Once the elders had been appointed, the governor turned to specific issues. In effect, he held court, hearing disputes, levying fines, and rewarding those who were especially obedient. For example, he chastised the elders of the village of Tirossen because they had failed to provide proper upkeep for the aboriginal schoolteacher residing in their village. They promised to fulfill their duties properly in the future. Afterward, the governor made another, smaller, address, reminding the elders to do their duty, as had been laid out for them in his main address, and, if they should have questions about their responsibilities, to ask their nearest Dutch official for help. He called on the elders to make sure that the villages lived together in peace and calm. And he told them that they should tell neighboring villages about the Dutch, about how everything here was done, in order that they might sooner and more willingly come to seek peace with the company.


After a short break, company officials and employees went to sit among the representatives, and everyone ate and drank together. "The number of those who dined was between three and four hundred, about a hundred and twenty-five Dutch . . . and the rest natives." After each had eaten his fill, the guests rose and relaxed in the garden. At this point some Chinese came to greet the officials and honor them with a Chinese banquet. Then, since it had grown late, some elders decided to return to their villages. Others, however, remained and entertained the Dutch, staying until late in the night and drinking, singing, and dancing "in the manner of their land."32


The typical landdag thus consisted of the following sequence of events. First was the procession, where the governor and the Council members made their way, with pomp and circumstance, to the venue of the meeting. Second came the seating, where the elders and the company officials arranged themselves according to their rank. If there was an execution to be performed, this was done after the procession and before the seating. Third came the governor's general address, discussing the company's policies and desires vis-à-vis the aborigines. Fourth came the transfer of authority from the old to the new elders, marked by the conferring of rattan staves. Fifth came the holding of court, where specific grievances were aired, disputes settled, and approbation and punishment dispensed. Sixth came the second address. (In this landdag of 1644 the second address was less important than the first; in later landdagen the second address became more important.) And last came the feast, nearly always described as an occasion of "great mirth and gaiety," in which Dutchmen and aborigines alike ate, drank, and danced "until deep in the night." There was, to be sure, variation from one landdag to another, but most resembled this landdag of 1644.


The Dutch designed the landdag quite consciously to further their rule on Taiwan. Its most important purpose was to impress the aborigines with the awesome power of the Dutch, to capitalize on the glory the company had already gained for itself through its spectacular military victories. The arrival of the governor was, as we have seen, accompanied by great military pageantry.33 We have seen how the Formosan aborigines were impressed by the company's firearms and cannons, which provided its decisive edge in military encounters.34 The governor's procession from Fort Zeelandia to the venue of the landdag was punctuated by musketry salutes and cannonades. These were calculated to arouse a sense of wonder in the representatives: "Three salvos were shot, which the cannons from the fort answered in order, as also after the third time the redoubts of Utrecht and Zeeburg as well as the Yacht Breskens let off a full blast in order that the gathering should better mark our strength, and indeed all of this led to more wonder and respect in the eyes of the natives." Moreover, the governor was always surrounded by soldiers and halberdiers. As he and the Council members made their way to the venue they paraded before an aboriginal audience, which stood close by "in order to see everything."35 The soldiers wore their best uniforms and proceeded in their best parade march. Similarly, the halberdiers, used in early modern courts for ceremonial purposes, marked the persons of the governor and the Council members as exceptional—the halberdiers were living symbols of the governor's power, walking in step around him and remaining at attention throughout the ceremony. The procession, with its honor guard of soldiers and halberdiers, accompanied by musketry salvos and cannonades, portrayed the governor as the chief of the great warriors who had so proven their prowess on the battlefield.


The governor and Council members set themselves apart in other ways as well. As one scholar of early modern ceremonial has pointed out, "ceremonial . . . established that remoteness and social distance which generates and sustains a sense of awe in the audience, maintaining the position of the prince as an object of loyalty."36 The governor's honor guard was one way the Dutch accomplished this. Another way was seating arrangements: The governor and his council always sat at a separate table or "at a separate place" (op een aparte plaets).37 For example: "Then all of the natives were . . . seated at ordinary tables [ordinarie tafelen], while his Excellency and the council as per custom were seated at a special table [een besondere tafel]."38 Sometimes the governor and his council sat in the stone gazebo above the aborigines and overlooking them. A rare illustration of a landdag held around 1650 shows the governor and members of the Council of Formosa seated in the gazebo and surrounded by Dutch musketeers and halberdiers. The separate, raised seat emphasizes the distinctiveness of the governor. The aboriginal delegates, by contrast, are shown seated lower and all together, some thirty to a table. Distinctions among them were thus minimized to highlight the primacy of the governor. Social distance at seating was also indicated by time of arrival: "Orders were given that the elders [bevelhebbers]. . . should seat themselves at table. After this was done, his Excellency and the councilmen . . . seated themselves at the usual place."39 Being the last to arrive, the governor and the Council of Formosa were marked as superior in relation to those already seated. All eyes were on them as they entered the venue, accompanied by their retinue of soldiers and halberdiers. The social distance of the governor and Council was also upheld by making sure that no one undeserving shared the place of power. For example, in one of the first landdagen, the governor and the Council members set out in the company's sloop "without any company of churchmen or Chinese merchants, in order that these should not appear to share any part in the government."40


It was particularly important for the governor to show the delegates his social distance from the Chinese, and indeed the Dutch frequently used landdagen to gain aborigines' cooperation in the effort to control Chinese smuggling and piracy. In the years following 1642, when the company's relations with Chinese settlers and sojourners had grown strained, the governor frequently used his landdag address to admonish the aborigines to beware of the Chinese, saying that they were "despicable people" (vuyle menschen) whose influence the aborigines should resist. After the 1642 order that expelled Chinese residents from villages outside direct company control, such admonitions became especially important. That year, company officials did their best to persuade the aborigines not to do business with Chinese traders: "We stated the reasons the Chinese had been made to move from most of the villages—namely, that they were despicable people, who sought to propagate distorted opinions of us and who had spoiled many villages."41 After the institution of the village leasehold system, the company used the landdag as an opportunity to encourage aborigines to trade only with properly licensed leaseholders. The governor and the Council also frequently used social distance to mark their superiority to the Chinese. The Chinese were usually excluded from the landdag ceremonies, and when they were included their status as subjects of the company was always clearly marked, as, for example, in the landdag of 1644: "Not long after [the banquet] the Chinese came to greet us and honor us with tea and a Chinese banquet in front of the village elders. This was done in order that [the Chinese] might with this opportunity show to the Formosans their subjection [to us]."42


Public execution was another means the company used to impress the aborigines with its power. Although we lack detailed descriptions of VOC executions on Taiwan, we do know that, like all early modern executions, they were public affairs, advertised in advance and meant to impress: "Preparations were made to break on the wheel the [Chinese] robber Twakam according to his sentence, which was done altogether properly [naar behooren geeffectueert] shortly thereafter. This was viewed by the Formosans, who had already been informed of the event and of the reason for his death."43 At another landdag a certain Dutch soldier, who had injured an aboriginal elder and caused the village in which he was stationed "great trouble," was publicly punished in front of the Formosans. His sentence was read aloud in the Sinkanese language to all those present. Here the governor was showing both that he was fair in his dealings (he would punish his own men if they acted improperly) and that his great power applied just as much to his own warriors as to the aborigines.44


Although the governor was in essence a company bureaucrat, the company portrayed him to the aborigines more as a lord than as an official. This is in keeping with the feudal nature of the company's relationship with the aborigines. Thus, special precautions were taken whenever a new governor succeeded the old.45 Before Governor Hans Putmans left office, he called aboriginal representatives to come before him in Sinkan so that they could meet his successor, Johan van der Burch, who, in a report to his superiors in Batavia, wrote:

My predecessor took his leave of the elders of the villages. . . . At this the elders shook my predecessor's hand, thanking him and wishing him good fortune and blessings on his voyage. His Excellency also said that each and every one should take the new governor as their father in his [the old governor's] place and to give as much obedience to the new governor as they had given the old one. . . . They promised to do all that he had said. Then they approached me, wished me good fortune, and offered their hands to me as a sign that they would live up to my predecessor's wishes and behave as true and obedient subjects. Hereupon I thanked them and promised to govern them in a fatherly fashion, as my predecessor had so admirably done.46

Similarly, the main reason van der Burch's successor, Paulus Traudenius, convened the first official landdag in 1641 was to introduce himself to his aboriginal subjects: "Today his excellency the governor Paulus Traudenius . . . made his way to [the aboriginal village of] Saccam to hold a general rijksdag [synonym for landdag] with the natives of Formosa, in order to encourage them to do their duty and to make himself known to them as governor and director [of Taiwan]."47 After everyone had been seated, the governor addressed the elders, saying how he and the Council "had summoned the elders and, because the old governor had passed away, had personally come to Saccam in order to introduce his person to the natives . . . and to make his name known to the natives."48 Then he asked "whether they would not be content, according to their duty [haere schuldigen plicht], . . . to recognize his Excellency [as governor], to respect him and obey him, which, having understood, they all happily assented to."49 At other successions, too, the company made sure to point out to the aborigines that the new man filled the same functions as the old. In the first remark of the general address of the northern landdag of 1644, the new governor said, "The president and the Council have decided to hold this landdag and to summon all the elders here to introduce the person of the new governor to the elders because the former governor has left here, and now [the new governor] will be filling the same place as the former governor filled, and for this reason [the elders] have in every way to obey him and do everything they are ordered to."50


The position held by the governor of Taiwan was a bureaucratic one—he was appointed, according to written procedure, by the governor-general in Batavia, and his duties, privileges, and means of enforcing orders were all codified and set down in writing. For the company, the man who filled the position of governor was important only insofar as he fulfilled his function; he was a cog in a bureaucratic machine. His position, his function, was conceived as quite separate from his person.51 Yet in the landdag the company placed the emphasis less on the position of governor than on the man himself: When in the presence of the aborigines, the governor of Taiwan was dressed in the trappings of a prince and surrounded by a prince's regalia. To be sure, there was pomp and circumstance within the bureaucratic company itself. The governor-general in Batavia held processions not just to impress the Javanese and Chinese but also to impress his own employees. And successions were also celebrated among the Dutch with a personal and public oath of obedience from each employee. But in the landdagen, company officials took special pains to persuade the aborigines that they should obey the new governor as they had the old, as if they would not understand that the power came from the position, according to codified procedure, rather than from the individual himself.


Landdagen were not just about reinforcing the company's charisma. To be sure, the charisma suffused the ceremonies, undergirded them and legitimated them, but landdagen also served to instill in the company's subjects its own interpretation of its rule, to remind the subjects of their duties, to express and reinforce a vision of a legitimate order, a cosmology and hierarchy among rulers and ruled. Since the Dutch could not expect the aborigines of Taiwan to comport themselves in accordance with written rules, they used certain material-cultural markers to symbolize the aborigines' subjection. In reports of the landdagen, two symbols of Dutch rule are prominent: the staves and the aborigines' annual tribute. Both were meant to symbolize the aborigines' subjection to VOC rule. Both became objects of contention.


The staves were symbols of authority given each year to the elders appointed by the governor. The appointment of elders was itself an innovation imposed by the Dutch. As we know from Candidius's "Discourse and Short Narrative of the Island Formosa," before the arrival of the VOC most villages were ruled not by chiefs or headmen but by councils composed of men of the same age group who were no longer active in hunting.52 These councils, renewed every other year, had little direct authority: Major issues were discussed publicly, in general village assemblies. After the company's expeditions of 1635 and 1636, the aborigines' lack of headmen became problematic. Who would represent the villages at the peace ceremonies?53 It was, once again, Robertus Junius who provided the answer. He suggested that the company choose from each village three or four prominent men to act as "native chiefs" (they came later to be referred to as "elders" [oudsten]) who would be given staves as symbols of authority. In this way, "authority within the village, once flexible and loosely stretched, was . . . institutionalized in the hands of a few leaders imposed by an outside ruler, the inevitable result of the colonial interference."54 The term of office for elders was set at one year, and at each landdag, during the governor's general address, the past year's elders were asked to relinquish their authority peacefully.55


Some elders were reluctant to do so, and the company found it expedient to relax the one-year limit. When replacing elders, officials cajoled them, asking them not to feel slighted by the change in authority, since "nobody had to feel ashamed or angry, because it was not done in order to show denigration [cleynachting] or insult but only to allow each well-behaving person to enjoy the fruits of his good behavior."56 The retiring elders were thanked for their good services and told to lay down their staves and "by this act also relinquish the authority that they had had."57 Having been told to transfer their authority peaceably, the elders came before the governor village by village, in the order in which the villages had "entered into the company's friendship."58 Retiring elders laid down their staves and new appointees received staves from the governor with "great pleasure," swearing obedience to him with "a handshake before God."59 In later reports the transfer of authority is treated in some detail for each village, with reasons given for the decision to prolong an elder's term or to end it. Thus, in the village of Baccluan, "[the elders] Arissau, Capoule, and Tackarey all had their terms continued and were specially praised for their good service, being judged some of the best Christians on Formosa."60 Or, in the village of Netne, "Tacassiangh and Panacorongh were allowed to continue as elders. Veyou and Smaringh, who because of their excessive drunkenness inspired no respect and had no authority, were replaced by two people who were more suitable, named Kamado and Tasoura."61


The aborigines had no trouble accepting the symbol of the staff. They understood that it conferred authority on its bearer. But this was not all that the company had intended. For the company, the staves were not just a sign of authority handed to the elders but also a symbol of the elders' subjection to the governor: Only the governor could invest someone with the authority marked by the staff. The staff in itself had no special status. The governor and the Council were worried that the aborigines might believe that the staff was not just a symbol of authority conferred by the governor, but rather something that in itself conferred actual authority. Therefore, the governor expressly forbade elders to hand their staves to anyone else: "The elders . . . must themselves come with their staves to the landdag the following year without giving them to other people (as many had done), but rather keeping them and never, the whole year through, letting them fall into the hands of other persons."62 If the elder fell sick or passed away, his staff was to be delivered to the nearest company representative. Similarly, the governor later says that those aborigines on whom the "authority symbol" (gesachsteycken) of the staff was conferred "were obliged not only to refrain from handing the staff to anyone else or allowing anyone else to use, or rather misuse, the staff the whole year through, but were also obliged to bring the staves to the next landdag in person in order to give them over to us but that, if any of the elders should die before that time or should be sick at the time of the landdag, they must take care that the staff be placed in the hands of our Dutchmen."63


Dutch officials pointed out again and again that the staves in themselves had no worth. They were a "symbol of authority" (teken van gesach), and rules about their transfer were promulgated not because of the value of the staff itself but because the staff was "a symbol of our friendship and their [the aborigines'] respect."64 During one landdag, for example, the governor explained that the transfer of staves is to be strictly controlled "not because we place any importance on their value per se but so that the . . . symbol of their [the elders'] authority, given by us to mark their honor, be not violated."65 The staves were inalienable—only the governor could give them or take them away. He claimed, in effect, a monopoly over the legitimate use of the symbol. The staff, having been marked by a series of provisions as a sacred object, was to be revered.66 But its hallowed nature came from the governor rather than from the object itself.67 Thus, the Dutch tried to impose on the elders the company's position that the staff was a mark of the governor's power, and the elders, for their part, appear to have accepted this position only reluctantly.


Another, shorter-lived symbol of Dutch rule was the annual tribute. The governor and the Council of Formosa sought repeatedly to deemphasize the economic value of tribute and to emphasize instead its symbolic aspect: It was a sign of subjection to VOC rule. More important, the governor tried to use the issue of the tribute to make the elders feel indebted to the company, telling them that the tribute did not come close to defraying the costs of administering their villages. In 1646, for example, he thanked those villages that had paid their tribute in full and chastised those that had not. They should pay the full amount each year, he said

not for the [monetary] value of it [the tribute]. . . since the company spends at least twice the amount collected in the tribute on the landdag alone and on various necessities, not to mention the excessive amounts continually spent on churches and schools and on the general peace of the whole land, as they all well knew; thus they had to believe that the collection of the tribute was principally designed to secure for us their docility [gewillicheyt], obedience, and childlike contentment [kinderlijcke genegentheyt].68

The company was, it was suggested, too powerful and magnanimous to be worried about the tribute's economic value. The tribute existed for the sole purpose of symbolizing the subjection and obedience of the "United Villages." After the tribute was abrogated in 1647, the governor continued to invoke it, telling the aborigines that the waiving of it showed how generous the Dutch were. The Dutch, it was implied, gave and gave, desiring nothing in return but the happiness and obedience of their subjects. By creating this obligation among the aborigines, the company was trying to gain what some anthropologists have called symbolic capital: The obligation incurred when a gift is given may be claimed by the giver later, in the form of services or material payment in the form of a gift. In this way someone who has given a lot may be poor in material goods but rich in favors owed. These favors owed are symbolic capital, as useful in a traditional society as a large bank account or line of credit is in a modern economy.69 The Dutch, by claiming that they gave more than they received, sought to drive home the point that the tribute—and, after its abrogation, its absence—was just a symbol of the aborigines' subjection to the Dutch, meant "only as a voluntary display of their obligatory duty and favorable disposition [goede genegentheydt] toward us."70


The landdag was designed to propagate an image of Dutch rule to two audiences: the aborigines themselves and company directors in Batavia and the Netherlands. In descriptions of landdagen, the governor of Formosa and his officials project an image of themselves as benevolent rulers, bearers of peace and civility. Governor Putnams in his final report to the directors of the company wrote fondly of the great peace ceremony of 1636:

The peace was concluded and proclaimed with great pleasure and contentment and to the astonishment of everyone (since they had never before seen or heard of such things). One saw here enemies—between whom there had been, since time immemorial, no peace but rather continual and vicious war-kissing and hugging each other, peacefully entertaining each other, and generally enjoying each other's company.71

Junius, who was present at the peace ceremony of 1636, also exulted about the love shown between citizens of formerly hostile villages:

It was delightful to see the friendliness of these people when they met for the first time, to notice how they kissed each other and gazed at one another. Such a thing had never before been witnessed in this country, as one tribe was nearly always waging war against another. . . . Now, however, they were all not only loyal to us , but were friendly towards each other; and if we had not influenced them, they would never have been mutually united; for formerly no one dared to address the other, no one trusted the other, and to practice deception as much as possible was the general rule.72

Company officials appear to have enjoyed this image of themselves as peacemakers, for it returns frequently in reports. And one of the duties the governor repeatedly admonishes the elders to fulfill is "to live together, as friends, as one village, in peace and unity."73


Company officials on Taiwan also conceived of Dutch rule as a process of joyful and active participation. The elders were told in landdagen that they should speak freely, that they did not have to fear punishment for saying things they might think would be unpopular to the company: "They were also told that they should not give in to nervousness or fear but should rather speak . . . nothing other than their true and sincere will, that they would be allowed, no matter what they said, to return unhindered to their villages, since this was a free and unconstrained meeting, and that, even if they had committed great mistakes, they would nonetheless be allowed to go their way as free men."74 In a later landdag the governor proclaims that "this is a free . . . meeting, at which everyone may, without worry or fear, speak up if he has something to say or if he has any suggestions to make that might lead to the greater common good, so that such suggestions might (according to their merit) be adopted."75 The elders were encouraged to participate, to make their voices heard, and were assured that their participation would not result in any negative consequences. Indeed, even representatives of "enemy villages" were invited to attend and would be allowed to come and go without any obstacles.76 The landdag was thus intended to be perceived, at least partly, as a participatory meeting, a place for the elders to air their grievances and share in government. If the landdag was meant to be an occasion of active participation, it was also meant to be one of joyful communion. Landdagen ended with a party: Once the social distance of the governor and Council had been established and the official business was over, the Dutch and the aborigines mixed with each other and turned to drink, dance, song, and food. Landdag reports usually end with the Dutch and the aborigines happily drinking and dancing well into the night. The company thus projected, through the institution of the landdag, an image of itself as a mighty and glorious but benevolent ruler.


In this way, portraying itself as fair but powerful, the company used the landdag to demonstrate its strength and glory and to enlist the aborigines in the maintenance of the pax hollandica. The landdag was thus a vital component of the company's rule on Taiwan. The extent to which the elders were willing participants in Dutch rule is difficult to determine, but there are indications that they participated actively in landdagen. For instance, one of the company's main aims in the landdagen was to get the elders to convince other villages, villages not yet under Dutch authority, to submit to Dutch rule. The governor would tell elders who had come to a landdag "to urge their neighbors to seek union with the company and appear at the castle or at the landdagen, because . . . at the landdagen they could see for themselves how peacefully and pleasantly their fellows lived under our protection."77 Indeed, some did so, and the visitors were often impressed enough to join the "United Villages:" "The newcomers . . . were asked whether or not they were also ready . . . to offer their recognition to the company, just as the others had done, whereupon they said they were ready to do everything that their neighbors did."78 Moreover, landdag-attendance data indicate that most took the ceremonies quite seriously. Most elders appeared in person at landdagen. Others, especially when sick, sent relatives with the rattan staves.


Indeed, the aborigines of Taiwan appear generally to have been willing subjects. Most submitted of their own accord, and often readily, to Dutch rule, motivated by fear of other villages.79 Villages allied with the company were assured protection from their traditional enemies and were often assured victory as well. Sometimes the company bought obedience from its allies by helping them against their enemies, choosing to attack enemies of its aboriginal allies explicitly in order "to bind [our allies] more closely to us."80 Indeed, since friendship with the company conferred such advantages, one could not afford not to be allied with the company, for isolation meant defeat.81 And the company was generally a magnanimous ally. Not only would it occasionally sponsor headhunting raids on behalf of its friends, but it also did not compete for the heads and limbs of fallen enemies, which were instead distributed freely among its allies. The Dutch calmly recorded the number of heads obtained in each case.82 Alliances with the company made sense: They brought security and the promise of glory.


Indeed, this glory appears to have become something of a tradition. Janet McGovern, who studied Formosan aboriginal society from 1916 to 1918, asserted that "the memory of [the Dutch period] has remained among them as that of a Golden Age."83 She writes: "The reason . . . I was able to get into as close touch with them as I did was because they regarded me as the reincarnation of one of the seventeenth-century Dutch, whose rule over them, three hundred years ago, has become a sacred tradition."84 Dutch scholar Leonard Blussé had a similar experience while doing fieldwork among the Tsou tribe in Chioumei village. In a celebration held as part of his adoption into the Tsou's tribal community, he was told of a promise that blue-eyed people had made to their ancestors long ago, when they were still living in the western plains: The blue-eyed people would return to liberate them from the Chinese yoke. "Well, here I am!" he said.85 McGovern also found that, among the Paiwan (one of the main aboriginal peoples of Taiwan), the killing of strangers was considered an act of self-defense unless those strangers had fair hair and blue eyes—this, too, she interprets as evidence that the Dutch were revered. Nor is she the only one to have noted vestiges of Dutch rule in the customs of Formosan aborigines. A rattan staff was preserved by a Paiwan chiefly family well into the twentieth century.86 The symbol of the rattan staff also appears to have inspired the rattan wand still used today by certain shamanesses.87


Of course we must not idealize Dutch rule. At times the Dutch used extreme means when enforcing the pax hollandica, as in the case of Lamey Island, which was subjected to ethnic cleansing: Nearly all postpubescent males were killed, and the surviving population was removed to the Sinkan area.88 We must not forget that Dutch rule was based as much on coercion as on persuasion. It is too much to say, as one scholar has, that "Dutch rule on Taiwan was established on a foundation of bloody suppression [血腥鎮壓]."89 But the company did use force when expedient (and cost-effective). Nonetheless, although we cannot know precisely how aborigines felt about the company, evidence—both documentary and ethnographic—suggests that they thought highly of VOC rule and that they usually cooperated quite well once under company authority.


The landdag and its symbols provided an interface between the Dutch and the aborigines. On the one hand, by providing formerly acephalous societies with formal leaders and symbols of legitimate (that is, VOC-enforced) authority, the company managed to integrate these societies into a greater chain of command: Elders commanded villages, governor commanded elders, governor-general commanded governor, etc. In this way aboriginal villages were made obedient subjects of "our most esteemed and powerful lords" the Estates General. On the other hand, the landdag and its symbols served in the place of writs and contracts, so that the actions of the nonliterate elders could be ordered and coordinated by the governor and the Council. By appointing elders yearly, in grand spectacles that all elders were required to attend, the company made clear its desires, publicly rewarded good conduct and punished bad conduct, and, by means of public speech, aroused feelings of awe and, it was hoped, loyalty.90 Direct exploitation of the aborigines was conducted primarily by means of Chinese colonists, and that, combined with the landdag, helped maintain the allegiance and obedience of the diverse aboriginal peoples of Formosa. This is one reason that aborigines were so willing to help the Dutch hunt down the Chinese rebels in 1652.


After the Rebellion


The rebellion, although easily put down, left scars. In its wake, Dutch officials enacted a series of new policies. Their first priority was to restore the colony's Chinese agriculture. During the hostilities, both Chinese and Dutch-aboriginal forces had killed farmers, destroyed farm buildings, and destroyed or used grain reserves. In addition, the Chinese massacre had destroyed the rural labor force: Most of those killed were farmhands whose work was vital to the labor-intensive processes of rice and sugar agriculture. The crops themselves had somehow survived the revolt in good condition, so the company tried to ensure that they were harvested properly. It could not obtain the requisite labor, however, and the harvest of 1653 was far below average.91 It did manage to secure a modest recovery of agriculture the following year, when thousands of new Chinese colonists sought refuge in Formosa from wars on the mainland. In subsequent years the company continued to invest in projects to boost agricultural productivity. One such project was a new road through the most fertile fields, making transport easier and resulting in "great happiness and contentment from the inhabitants."92


Company officials also tried to encourage aborigines to adopt intensive-farming practices from the Chinese, but this proved difficult. In Formosan Austronesian societies, women planted and harvested, whereas men saw themselves as hunters and warriors. Intensive agriculture involved an enormous amount of labor and thus required more active participation from the men, who were reluctant to trade their spears for plows. Although there were scattered success stories, the company found that the easiest solution to the problem was to use Chinese labor, and some company employees even tried to persuade aborigines to hire Chinese to work their fields. In the years following the Chinese revolt, for example, the Council of Formosa offered aborigines to the north of Tayouan free hoofdbrieven that they could use in order to decrease the cost of paying Chinese farmhands.93


In any case, as the Chinese colony reestablished itself and the Formosan lands returned to fertility, the company took a few extra measures to try to prevent its Chinese subjects from rising up again. At the annual landdagen the governor stepped up his anti-Chinese rhetoric, reminding aborigines to keep an eye on the Chinese in their lands and bring any who might be found without the company's "silver penny" to company officials, from whom they would receive colorful Indian textiles called cangans as a reward. He also warned them not to engage in unnecessary contact with the Chinese, "in order that that nation not mislead the common man by means of its evil ways and thereby find no occasion to become master of [the aborigines'] lands, as [the Chinese] attempted to do not long ago . . . which attempt was, with God's help, foiled by means of our weapons."94


The company also decided to lease the collection of hoofdgeld to a Chinese tax farmer, since the main source of discontent among Chinese peasants was the hoofdgeld and its enforcement. As we have seen, in 1651, when company officials were discussing ways to improve conditions surrounding the hoofdgeld, they had very nearly decided to lease its collection to rich Chinese, in order to dissociate the company from the unpopular policy. They had decided against the idea on the grounds that rich Chinese would "tyrannize" the poor Chinese and treat them far worse than did the Dutch. But after the revolt, company officials reconsidered their position. We lack clear data, but it does seem that the company experimented with auctioning the right to collect hoofdgeld to a Chinese colonist in 1653.95 The experiment must have gone well, because the following year the practice was continued.


Company officials also decided to take a more active role in governing the Formosan countryside. The company already had a number of officials, known as politiquen, who lived in various villages on the island and were responsible for hearing complaints and administering routine justice. They were not trained jurists, and they referred many cases to the Board of Aldermen (Scheepenbanck), which met in Fort Zeelandia. People complained that Fort Zeelandia was far away and hard to reach: One had to wait (and pay) for a ferry across the Bay of Tayouan, so even a round trip from Saccam could take the better part of a day. The company therefore decided to create a new position for the administration of justice on the mainland of Taiwan: the landdrost, or judge.96 He was to preside over all cases that did not involve capital crimes and would, like the Board of Aldermen, have authority not just over Dutchmen but also over aborigines and Chinese. He was not to act alone. His instructions called for him to hold weekly meetings with two Chinese headmen and two members of the Board of Aldermen. The company hoped by these means to play a larger role in the governance of Formosa and thereby defuse some of the tensions about which Chinese colonists complained.97


They also decided to build a new fortress near Saccam. It was not a modern fortress like Fort Zeelandia but rather a small, thin-walled fort. It cost little and would be useless against artillery. It was designed for a Chinese uprising, and the Dutch felt that there was no reason to expect anything worse. In any case, they felt, the discontent of the Chinese was limited to agriculturists. Indeed, rich Chinese had warned them of the rebellion, and no Chinese living in Zeelandia were implicated in it. The Dutch felt relatively secure. Yes, their colony had suffered a setback, but it was only temporary. It would, they felt, soon be as prosperous as ever. They were wrong. The colony would soon be thrown into crisis.



Note 1: This chapter owes much to the work of Cheng Wei-chung 鄭維中 and Han Jiabao 韓家寶, who have explored the feudal nature of company rule over the aborigines. See especially Cheng Wei-chung, "Lüe lun Helan shidai Taiwan fazhi shi yu shehui zhixu" 略論荷蘭時代台灣法制史與社會秩序, Taiwan fengwu 臺灣風物 52, no. 1 (2002): 11–40; and Han Jiabao (a. k. a. Pol Heyns), Helan shidai Taiwan de jingji, tudi, yu shuiwu 荷蘭時代臺灣的經濟土地與稅務 (Taipei: Appleseed Press 播種者文化, 2002). back

Note 2: This chapter focuses on political relations, but much could be written about evangelization, for missionaries had more contact with the aborigines than did most company employees. Anyone interested in the topic will find ample documentary evidence, and not just in the official VOC collection of the Dutch National Archives. For example, there are documents pertaining to the Taiwan mission in the archives of the Classis Walcheren, held in the Zeeuws Archief of Middelburg, Netherlands. Unfortunately, I found no letters between the Classis Walcheren and Taiwan, but I did come across scattered references to the Formosa mission in the Acta van de vergaderingen der gedeputeerden tot de Oostindische Kerkzaken (Zeeuwsarchief 28.1, no. 65). The records of the Classis Amsterdam (in the Gemeentearchief Amsterdam), on the other hand, do contain a few letters from Taiwan as well as several letters from the Batavian Church Council that have information about Taiwan (see especially Gemeentearchief Amsterdam 379.185, 379.286, and 379.192). Far more important, however, is a source found in the Indonesian National Archives: the records of the Kerckeraedt van Formosa (the Formosan Church Council), containing resolutions of the Church Council as well as letters between it and other areas (above all, Batavia, Amsterdam, and Middelburg). Most of these records have to do with the Dutch parishioners in Zeelandia, but there are also many references to missionary work. The records have yet to be fully processed, but, according to archivist Diederick Kortlang (an employee of the Dutch National Archives who has worked in the Indonesian National Archives in Jakarta), they will likely be catalogued as follows: the Indonesian National Archive, Archieven van de gereformeerde, lutherse en evangelische kerk te Batavia, gedeponeerde archieven, stukken afkomstig uit het archief van de gereformeerde gemeente van Taiwan, and ingekomen stukken van gereformeerde gemeenten in het octrooigebied. Mr. Kortlang has also recently discovered some promising new sources, including school-inspection reports and "Afschriften notariële attestaties aangaande heidense leraressen op Formosa, 1652." These, too, await full cataloging and for now are contained in the Indonesian National Archive's archieven van de gereformeerde, lutherse en evangelische kerk te Batavia. A student of Taiwanese church history will also be aware of the important set of published sources: J. A. Grothe, Archief voor de oude Hollandsche zending, 6 vols. (Utrecht, 1884–89). The most important secondary sources on Taiwanese church history are Willy Ginsel, "De Gereformeerde Kerk op Formosa of de lotgevallen eener handelskerk onder de Oost-Indische-Compagnie, 1627–1662" (Ph.D. diss., Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, 1931); Ann Heylen (He Anjuan 賀安娟), "Helan tongzhi zhixia de Taiwan jiaohui huyanxue: Helan yuyan zhengce yu yuanzhumin shizi nengli de yinjin (1624–1662)" 荷蘭統治之下的臺灣教會語言學: 荷蘭語言政策與原住民識字能力的引進 (1624–1662), Taibei wenxian 臺北文獻, no. 125 (1998): 81–119; Lin Changhua 林昌華, "Zhimin beijing xia de xuanjiao—shiqi shiji helan gaige zongjiaohui de Xilayazu" 殖民背景下的宣教-十七世紀荷蘭改革宗教會的西拉雅族, paper presented at the Symposium of the P'ingpu Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, June 1995; Leonard Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse: The Interaction between the Administration and the Protestant Mission in Early Colonial Formosa," in After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements, ed. Gyan Prakash (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 153–82; Leonard Blussé, "Dutch Protestant Missionaries as Protagonists of the Territorial Expansion of the VOC on Formosa," in Conversion, Competition, and Conflict: Essays on the Role of Religion in Asia, ed. Dick Kooiman, Otto van den Muizenberg, and Peter van der Veer (Amsterdam: Free University Press [VU Uitgeverij], 1984), 155–84; and M. J. Roos, "The Amalgamation of Church and State in a Formula for Colonial Rule: Clergymen in the Dutch Administration of Formosa, 1627–1651" (Master's thesis [Doctoraal Scriptie Geschiedenis], Leiden University, 2000). For an outstanding general introduction to mission work in the Dutch Indies during the seventeenth century, see L. J. Joosse, 'Scoone dingen sijn swaere dingen': Een onderzoek naar de motieven en activiteiten in de Nederlanden tot verbreiding van de gereformeerde religie gedurende de eerste helft van de zeventiende eeuw (Leiden: Uitgeverij J. J. Groen en Zoon, 1992). back

Note 3: Han Jiabao (Heyns) rightly argues that aboriginal tribute was intended more as a sign of feudal fealty than to raise revenue (Han Jiabao, Helan shidai, 77–82), but we must also recognize that, until the village leasehold system was firmly in place, officials in Batavia and Taiwan saw tribute as an important potential source of revenue. See, for example, Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Maximiliaan le Maire, letter, 2 May 1644, VOC 868: 169–80, esp. 176. back

Note 4: De Dagregisters van het Kasteel Zeelandia, Taiwan, 1629–1662, ed. Leonard Blussé et al., 4 vols. (The Hague: Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1986–2001), vol. 1, A: 297 (cited hereafter as Zeelandia Dagregisters).back

Note 5: Governor Paulus Traudenius to Governor-General Antonio van Diemen in Batavia, letter, 7 February 1642, VOC 1140: 264–73, quote at 268. This phrase clearly reveals the feudal dimension of the aboriginal tribute. For an excellent discussion of feudal land tenure in Taiwan, see Han Jiabao (Heyns), Helan shidai. back

Note 6: Governor Paulus Traudenius to Governor-General Antonio van Diemen in Batavia, letter, 7 February 1642, VOC 1140: 264–273, quote at 269. See also Batavia's reply, Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Paulus Traudenius, 28 June 1642, VOC 866: 332–51, quote at 346. back

Note 7: Governor Paulus Traudenius to Governor-General Antonio van Diemen in Batavia, letter, 5 October 1642, VOC 1140: 455–85. back

Note 8: Zeelandia Dagregister, vol. 2, C: 284. See also Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 21 March 1643, VOC 1145: 434–434 and Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 278. The "governor" (Maximilian le Maier) was at this point officially only president of Formosa. back

Note 9: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 406; vol. 2, C: 412. Officials in Batavia urged their employees in Formosa to extend the tribute system by all "practical means," rejecting Junius's objections. See Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Maximiliaan le Maire, letter, 9 May 1643, VOC 867: 275–82, quote at 280. back

Note 10: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 292. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, F: 195. back

Note 11: Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 29 July 1643, VOC 1145: 455. See also Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, C: 393. back

Note 12: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, D: 44; E: 283. back

Note 13: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 575. back

Note 14: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 293. back

Note 15: The decision to demand upkeep for schoolteachers in addition to regular tribute was taken in 1644, in response to a directive from Batavia. See Instructie [from Governor-General Antonio van Diemen] voor d'heer Francois Caron, raed van India, verreckende van hier met den schepe de Vreede, de fluijte Beer, ‘t Quel, d'Hasewint, mitsgaders de nieuwe lootsboot, na ‘t Eijlant Formosa als vice gouverneur van de castelen en fortressen in Tayouan, Quelangh, Tamsuiw etc., ende directeur van Compagnies trafficq ende geheelen omslach op ‘t voornoemde Eijlandt, daerna zijn E. sich sal hebben te reguleren, 4 July 1644, VOC 868: 360–88, esp. 369. See also Resolution of the Council of Formosa, 5 November 1644, VOC 1148.250–53. back

Note 16: See, for example, Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 555. back

Note 17: W. Ph. Coolhaas, ed., Generale Missiven van Gouverneurs-Generaal en Raden aan Heren XVII der Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (The Hague: Martinus Nijhof, 1960–85), vol. 2 (1639–55), Van der Lijn, Caron, Reniers, Van Dutecum en Demmer VIII, 18 January 1649, quote at 353. back

Note 18: See Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Pieter Overtwater, letter, 11 July 1647, VOC 871: 287–313, esp. 294 and 297. back

Note 19: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, A: 276. In fact, aboriginal taxation was not ended with this decision. Many aboriginal villages continued paying 15 bundles of paddy yearly, as a contribution to schools and mission work, through 1650, when the governor general ordered this amount to be reduced. See Governor-General Cornelis van der Lijn to Governor Nikolaas Verburg, letter, 17 May 1650, VOC 874: 84–114, esp. 88. back

Note 20: Han Jiabao does an outstanding job of discussing Chinese compensation to aborigines for land use and village leasing. See Han Jiabao (Heyns), Helan shidai, esp. 77–84. back

Note 21: An important book on Hugo Grotius, whose legal formulations underpinned Dutch colonialism, has focused on the idea of "divided sovereignty," a concept that could justify the company's intervention in a sovereign state and on which laws underpinning East Indian colonialism were based. See Edward Keene, Beyond the Anarchical Society: Grotius, Colonialism, and Order in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). back

Note 22: As noted in chapter 7, n. 108, landdag (plural, landdagen) means, literally, "land-" or "country-day" and is usually translated by the term "diet." For more on landdagen, see Nakamura Takashi, "Shiqi shiji Taiwan lupi zhi chuchan jiqi dui ri maoyi" 十七世紀臺灣鹿皮出產及其對日貿易, in Helan shidai Taiwan shi yanjiu shang juan 荷蘭時代臺灣史研究上卷 (Taipei: Daoxiang Press 稻鄉出版社, 1997), 81–120; and Tonio Andrade, "Political Spectacle and Colonial Rule: The Landdag on Dutch Taiwan, 1629–1648," Itinerario 21, no. 3 (1997): 57–93. back

Note 23: Originele missive van Hans Putmans uijt het schip Banda aen de Camer Amsterdam in dato 2 Augustij 1637, VOC 1120: 1–18, quote at 9. back

Note 24: Robertus Junius to the Heren XVII, letter, 5 September 1636, William M. Cambell's translation, in William M. Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Sources (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. LTD, 1903), 131. This first ceremony is not referred to in Dutch sources as a landdag, and, indeed, it was not followed by another such meeting until 1641. But it is nonetheless safe to consider it the first landdag on Taiwan, since the essential features of the landdag—the general address, the naming of elders, the investment of elders with staves and robes—were present there and it was the model for the ceremonies that followed. back

Note 25: Originele missive van Hans Putmans uijt het schip Banda aen de Camer Amsterdam in dato 2 Augustij 1637, VOC 1120: 1–18, quote at 9. back

Note 26: In 1643 the Council of the Indies in Batavia approved the proposal of a Tayouan official to hold annual landdagen. See Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Maximiliaan le Maire, letter, 9 May 1643, VOC 867: 275–82, esp. 281. See also Governor-General Antonio van Diemen to Governor Maximiliaan le Maire, letter, 23 June 1643, VOC 867: 454–73, esp. 461. back

Note 27: For a study of the eastern landdag, see Nakamura Takashi, "1655 nian de Taiwan dongbu difang jihui" 一六五五年的臺灣東部地方集會, Taiwan feng wu 臺灣風物 43, no. 1 (1993): 155–68. back

Note 28: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E:281. back

Note 29: Company officials might have adopted such grand public speech quite consciously to suit aboriginal political culture, for Candidius wrote glowingly of the eloquence displayed in aboriginal village meetings: "Yes, I believe Demosthenes would not have been richer and more fluent in words" (Blussé's translation, "Retribution and Remorse"). back

Note 30: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 284. back

Note 31: Ibid. back

Note 32: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 286. back

Note 33: The policy that the governor appear "with grand suite" (met aensienelijcke suite) was explicitly approved from Batavia. See Governor-General Antonio van Dien to Governor Maximiliaan le Maire, letter, 23 June 1643, VOC 867: 454–73, esp. 461. back

Note 34: Discussing a military encounter with the village of Mattau, a Dutch official wrote about aborigines' fear of Dutch weapons: "They immediately ran away, being unable to bear the whine of our bullets, and they were astonished when they saw that one of their own lying still without seeing what had struck him" (Governor Frederiksz. de Witt to Batavia, letter, 15 November 1626, VOC 1090: 196–206, quote at 201). back

Note 35: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 282. back

Note 36: William Roosen, "Early Modern Diplomatic Ceremonial: A Systems Approach," Journal of Early Modern History 52 (1980): 452–76, quote at 473. back

Note 37: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 293. back

Note 38: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 311–312. back

Note 39: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 556. back

Note 40: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 281. back

Note 41: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 284. back

Note 42: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 286. back

Note 43: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, G: 666. back

Note 44: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 292. back

Note 45: Max Weber has argued that, whereas legal-rational authority emphasizes the position over the person, the function over the man, charismatic authority focuses on the man himself and is based on a perception of the "extraordinary quality of the specific person" who rules. Yet the type of authority the Dutch were articulating here was more that of what Weber calls "patrimonial authority." See Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 245–52, 296. back

Note 46: Jan van der Burch to the Governor-General, letter, 14 November 1636, VOC 1120: 334–64. back

Note 47: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, A: 638. back

Note 48: Ibid. back

Note 49: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, A: 638–39. back

Note 50: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 281. back

Note 51: Martin Krygier, "State and Bureaucracy in Europe: The Growth of a Concept," in Bureaucracy: The Career of a Concept, ed. Eugene Kamenka and Martin Krygier (London: Edward Arnold, 1979). See also Max Weber, "Max Weber on Bureaucratization in 1909," in Max Weber and German Politics: A Study in Political Sociology, ed. J. P. Mayer (London: Faber and Faber, 1956), 125–31. back

Note 52: Candidius, "Discourse and Short Narrative," Familie-archief Huydecoper, in Rijksarchief Utrecht, R 67, nr. 621. A translation can be found in Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch. back

Note 53: As Blussé shows, the lack of headmen was a problem from the start for the missionaries, who found it nearly impossible to enforce Christian conduct in such an acephalous society. Indeed, this was a major reason the missionaries urged the governor to extend company control over the villages (Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse," 165). back

Note 54: Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse," 173. back

Note 55: For a list of elders and their times of service, which frequently ran longer than the stipulated year, see Kang Peite 康培德, "Helan shidai cunluo tourenzhi de sheli yu Xilaya shehui quanli jiegou de bianhua" 荷蘭時代村落頭人制的設立與西拉雅社會權力結構的轉變, in Taiwan National Normal University History Department, ed., Huigu lao Taiwan, zhanwang xin guxiang: Taiwan shehui wenhua bianqian xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 回顧老臺灣、
展望新故鄉-臺灣社會文化變遷學術研討會論文集 (Taipei: Taiwan National Normal University, 2000), 1–22, esp. 13–15. back

Note 56: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 556. back

Note 57: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 284. back

Note 58: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 295. back

Note 59: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 284. back

Note 60: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 296. back

Note 61: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 313. back

Note 62: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 301. back

Note 63: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 562. back

Note 64: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 301. back

Note 65: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 562. back

Note 66: Here I am referring to Durkheim's theory about the sacred and the profane. The sacred is what must be conceived as separate from the ordinary; the sacred must be protected from contact with the profane. See Emile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. Joseph Ward Swain (New York: Macmillan, 1965); see also Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (New York: Praeger, 1966). back

Note 67: I am not arguing here that the Taiwanese aborigines believed that the staves had power in themselves, only that the Dutch thought the aborigines believed this. back

Note 68: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 294. back

Note 69: Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). See also Marcel Mauss, The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies, trans. Ian Cunnison (1925; New York: Norton, 1967). back

Note 70: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, J: 556. back

Note 71: Hans Putmans to the Kamer Amsterdam, from the ship Banda, letter, 2 August 1637, VOC 1120: 1–18, quote at 9. back

Note 72: Junius to the Heren XVII, letter, 5 September 1636, Campbell's translation (Campbell, Formosa under the Dutch, 130). back

Note 73: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 296. back

Note 74: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 284. back

Note 75: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, H: 303 (see also J: 563). back

Note 76: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, C: 653. back

Note 77: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 2, E: 296. back

Note 78: Ibid. back

Note 79: See Blussé, "Dutch Protestant Missionaries," and Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse." back

Note 80: In November 1634, for example, the company sent a small expedition against the village of Taccareuan, enemies of its ally, the village of Sinkan: "His excellency the governor and the Council of Formosa have decided, on the request of the Sinkanders, to send sixty or seventy Dutch soldiers to help the . . . Sinkanders fight against those of Taccreyangh. This will, we hope, . . . bind the Sinkanders to us more tightly" (Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, G:232). back

Note 81: See Blussé, "Dutch Protestant Missionaries," and Blussé, "Retribution and Remorse." back

Note 82: In the 1637 expedition against the village of Favorolangh, for example, the dagregister notes that "our allies have obtained from the enemy twenty-two heads, not counting those that could not be obtained because our enemies removed the bodies of their fallen comrades too quickly" (Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 1, K: 377–78). In the 1641 expedition against Favorolangh, the company sent 1,200 of its aboriginal allies home because they fell to fighting over the captured heads (Zeelandia Dagregisters, 2:10). See also Blussé's discussion in "Retribution and Remorse."back

Note 83: Janet B. Montgomery McGovern, Among the Head-Hunters of Formosa (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1922), 53. back

Note 84: McGovern, Among the Head-Hunters, 52. back

Note 85: Leonard Blussé, personal communication, 10 April 1997. back

Note 86: Inez de Beauclair, "Dutch Beads in Formosa?" Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica 29 (1970): 385–93, esp. 388. back

Note 87: John Robert Shepherd, Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier 1600–1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 461, note 40. back

Note 88: On this sad story, see Leonard Blussé and Ts'ao Yung-ho 曹永和, "Xiaoliuqiu yuanzhumin de xiaoshi" 小琉球原住民的消失¸ in Pan Inghai, 潘英海, ed., 平埔研究論文集 (Taipei: Academia Sinica, 1995), 413–44. back

Note 89: Yang Yanjie 楊彥杰, Heju shidai Taiwan shi 荷據時臺灣史 (Taipei: Lianjing 聯經 Press, 2000), 89. back

Note 90: Future work along these lines will demand comparative analysis. In order to show how rituals and ceremonies worked in a given context, it will be necessary to examine similar rituals and ceremonies in different contexts. Patricia Seed's innovative work sets out boldly in this direction. See Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). back

Note 91: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Reniers, Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Cunaeus, Caesar, and Steur VII, 24 December 1652, esp. 613; Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Maetsuycker, Hartzinck, Verburch, Steur, Van den Bogaerde, I, Batavia, 19 January 1654, esp. 704. back

Note 92: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Maetsuycker, Hartzinck, Verburch, Steur, Van den Bogaerde, I, Batavia, 19 January 1654, quote at 706. back

Note 93: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, E: 406. See also the fascinating and compelling discussion of land tenure and aboriginal land rights in Han Jiabao (Heyns), Helan shidai, 75–126. back

Note 94: Zeelandia Dagregisters, vol. 3, E: 379. back

Note 95: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Maetsuyker, Hartzinck, Verburch, Steur and Van den Bogaerde I, 19 January 1654, esp. 45. back

Note 96: See Governor-General Carel Reyniersz to Governor Nikolass Verburg, letter, VOC 876: 457–72, appendix, esp. 471. back

Note 97: Generale Missiven, vol. 2 (1639–55), Maetsuycker, Hartzinck, Verburch, Steur, Van den Bogaerde, I, Batavia, 19 January 1654, esp. 706. back