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The Rise and Fall of Dutch Taiwan, 1624-1662: Cooperative Colonization and the Statist Model of European Expansion

From: Journal of World History
Volume 17, Number 4, December 2006
pp. 429-450 | 10.1353/jwh.2006.0052

Abstract

This study, based on Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese sources, examines the rise and fall of Dutch Taiwan in the light of a model of European expansion first sketched (separately) by historians John E.Wills Jr. and Michael N. Pearson. According to the Wills-Pearson model, Europeans were successful in colonization attempts because they received support from European states, whereas Asian states were less likely to support overseas adventurism. The case of Taiwan strongly supports the model—not just the establishment of a Dutch colony on Taiwan, but also the loss of that colony to the Chinese military leader Zheng Chenggong, who ousted the Dutch in 1662, because Zheng's state was similar to many western European states in its dependence upon revenue from seaborne commerce and its concomitant willingness to undertake overseas expansion. The article concludes by urging scholars to learn more about non-Western colonization, suggesting several possible avenues of research.



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