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Feb 26,2021
Since the fifteenth century, the Age of Navigation became part of world history. Ships from European commercial fleets were attracted by spices and silk in the eastern world. At the times, both China and Japan were the two richest countries in Asia. It was without doubts that these two countries became the most favorite target countries for European businessman to seek the opportunities to develop the international trade. Ruled by Holland since 1624, Taiwan became a midway trading station due to its critical geographical location. For the safety and effectiveness for sailing in Taiwan Strait and along the coastal waters off Taiwan and an ideal location for construction site of harbor, Holland started to survey the coastal waters off both Taiwan and Penghu islands. The water depth measurements and distances between two locations are marked clearly on navigation map so that sailors can follow accordingly. This also demonstrated the geographic profile of Taiwan and Penghu islands from the western point of view. Penghu south islands were clearly marked between Penghu islands and Taiwan in the map.  In historical map of the island of Formosa and the Fishman archipelago, the Penghu south islands were marked and the water depth measurement of their surrounding waters were taken and many islands were named at the same time.   Penghu islands map drew by Johannes van Keulen, published in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1753(Authorize by National Museum of Taiwan History)   During the period when the Holland ruled Taiwan, Holland did not build any harbor in Penghu south islands. However, based on the preserved historical documents, they regarded these islands as reference points to navigate along Taiwan Strait to confirm the direction and record courses for sailing. Interestingly, based on the old western navigation map and historical documents from the times when Holland occupied Taiwan, the names of Penghu south islands were totally different from these of the present day. It was showed that Dongiji island was named as ”Suydooster Eyland” meaning the Southeast island, due to itsdominant geographical location-the most southeast boundary of the Penghu archipelago. The name of Xiji island was very peculiar. It was called “Verdried Eyland” meaning the broken-heart island. It was said that there were many shipwreck happened in the waters off Xiji island. As long as sailors crossing by these islands, they expressed their sincere condolence for the dead in the shipwreck. This is the very reason why Xiji island was called heart-broken island.  Dongyuping and Xijiping islands were named “Steenklippen Eyland” meaning reef islands. It meant two islands were surrounded by coral reefs which might cause shipwrecks easily. By using such a name, it became a warning for sailors when sailing is nearby these two islands.   Formosa island and Fisherman archipelago map is modified from a book called 「Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien」meaning 「Old and New East Indian」by a Holland priest based on the hand-drawing map by Johannes Vingboones in 1640.(Authorize by National Museum of Taiwan History)   Nearly a century later, the British navy published their own Penghu archipelago map with high clarity. This map was adopted by Japan navy few years later. It was different from the map used by Holland. Dngiju island was re-named as East island and Xiji island was called “Pe Ting” meaning 「筆錠」island (in Chinese ).  Dongyuping and Xijiping islands were also called 「Reef islands」 meaning islands surrounded by reefs in order to remind sailors to be mindful for the threats near islands.  Pe Ting (筆錠) means an accessories made of gold or silver for fun or decoration and is considered as a gift to bring success for the owner due to its pronunciation similar to success in Mandarin.  
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