100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Typhoon Strikes Formosa, China

In 1602 the Netherlands signed a 21 year contract to the Dutch East Indies Company giving them a monopoly on running the colonies the Netherlands in Pacific Asia. Taito is on the southeast coast of Taiwan facing the Pacific Ocean. It is the county seat of Taitung County, on the island of Taiwan. The Netherlands briefly established a colony in 1624 giving the Dutch East Indies Company a base to harass Spanish and Portuguese interests. In 1661 a naval fleet of 200 ships led by a Ming loyalist Koxinga. He threw the Dutch out and declared himself King of Formosa. Imperial China did not like an independent local power any more than a foreign power. The Dutch licked their woulds and joined with the Qing dynasty to oust Koxinga in 1664. The forces of the Dutch East Indies Company grabbed a little piece of land, held it for 4 years then left Taiwan for good in 1668. Japan’s victory over the Qing Dynasty in the first Sino-Japanese war saw Taiwan ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. It is under Japanese control in 1912.

When sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures, atmospheric instability, high humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere, enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center, a pre-existing low level focus or disturbance, and low vertical wind shear combine a cyclonic storm of devastating proportions can be created. In the eastern US there are called Cyclones or Hurricanes. In Asia they are called Typhoon from a Persian word meaning “great wind”. With the flimsy structures of most common people, these storms can be incredibly deadly.On September 16, 1912 a typhoon with winds of more than 200 miles per hour struck the city of Taito on Taiwan. The winds killed 107 people, injured 293, and destroyed over 91,000 homes, all sailing craft as well as the rice and sugar crops.

Formosa – 1896
The Scottish Geographical Magazine
Published by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and edited by James Geikie and W.A. Taylor. Volume XII, 1896

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