History of Tauland
The full history of Taulandt (formerly known as Dutch Formosa).
During the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) came to the orient in their quest for trade. Although defeated by the Portuguese at Macau in 1622 and driven by the Ming from Penghu, they were able to establish a base on the southwestern coast of the island of Formosa. On the coastland, which they had named Tayouan, the Dutch had built Fort Zeelandia.
The Dutch venture to the orient faced trouble and competition in their early years. Not only did the Dutch Governor-General get embroiled in a dispute with the Japanese Hamada Yahei, but the Dutch also faced defeat at the hands of the Chinese Zheng Zhilong in 1633. On the island of Formosa itself, the Spanish had even established a fort and settlement on the northeast coast (now modern-day Chilung). Despite these circumstances, the Dutch still sought to strengthen their position on the island and the orient.
A Dark History
The Dutch set out to turn Taiwan into a formal Dutch colony under their full control. The first order of business was to punish villages that had violently opposed the Dutch and unite the aborigines in allegiance with the Dutch East India Company. Several punitive expeditions had been launched against the unfortunate villages of Baccaulan and Mattauw, whose villages had been razed by fires. These campaigns served as a threat to other villages like Tirosen and Lonckjouw. As a response, Dutchmen had been killed by the villagers, most notable was the massacre of the shipwrecked crews of the Dutch ships Beverwijck and the Golden Lion. This event, in turn, had prompted another punitive attack on Lamay Island by the Dutch and their aborigine allies, namely from the villages of Saccam, Soulang, and Pangsoya, which ended up with the deaths of over 300 Lamayans, having been trapped in a cave and suffocated with smoke and fumes that had been deliberately pumped in. Some of the survivors had been forced into slavery in Batavia (Java), while women and children became servants and wives for the Dutch officers. Since then, the events on Lamay had changed the course of Dutch rule to work closer with allied aborigines.
For the next order of business, the Dutch turned their attention to the other parts of the island. In 1642, the Dutch had ejected the Spanish from the north of the island. The Spanish had easily abandoned the fort, having been plagued with disease. The Dutch then sought to establish control of the western plains between their new possessions and their base at Tayouan. After a brief but destructive campaign in 1645, they were able to subdue the tribes in this area, including the Kingdom of Middag, with its capital having been burned to the ground.
Throughout the 1640s to 1660s, the VOC administered the island and its predominantly aboriginal population. They had set up a tax system and schools to teach the romanized script of aboriginal languages (and eventually the Chinese languages) and evangelizing Christianity. These systems would be in place throughout the 1700s and 1800s.
The first influx of migrants under Dutch rule were the Hakkas and the Hokkiens from the mainland. Most of these immigrants were single young male workers who were discouraged to stay and settle on the island (although this policy would be reversed in the coming decades). The main export of the island during this time was deer. Deerskin was sold to Japan, while its meat and other parts were sold to the Han traders. Eventually, sugarcane would also become a huge export of the colony once the supply of deer depletes.
A New Governor, and A New Policy (1662-1680)
A new era of peace and harmonious relations came in 1662 when a new governor by the name of Jacob van Aertens arrived in Zeelandia. Prior to this assignment, Van Aertens had previously worked under the Dutch holdings in America as an understudy of Adriaen Van der Donck, governor of New Netherland. Van der Donck was known to be tolerant and hospitable towards the North American natives and an advocate for Dutch settlership in overseas colonies. Van Aertens' prior experience under Van der Donck will influence how he will manage the colony in the decades to come.
Van Aertens' would also become an advocate of the patroonship system (a system in which wealthy patroons will be granted land by the government if they bring in a minimum number of families), which had already been in place in America. Between 1662 and 1665, 64 families had arrived in Formosa. This number would grow through the decades as it became an even more attractive area for settlement. By 1665 the Dutch population had risen to some 3400 settlers, centered around Zeelandia on the southern coast and New Hague on the north. As the population increased, and the distance between the two cities became more and more a hindrance to administration, a disgraced former governor-general of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, was assigned to govern the northern half after he was booted out of America by his opponent, Van der Donck. While he was given the northern half to govern, he was still subordinate to Van Aertens, which caused a lot of tensions between them.
The colony went under a period of rapid expansion in the territory it controlled. As the population grew steadily, more farms had been established inland. Profits from deer hunting made the colony a valuable asset to the Dutch West India Company (VOC). This saw a spur of investments in the form of new forts being built along the coast and some on the western coast. The sloping western plains allowed for easy communication between south and north and allowed for a slow but steady expansion of settlements.
Through the 1670s, the island's Dutch settler population had increased by an estimated 30%, but despite these numbers, Governor Jacob van Aertens knew that the male population still outnumbered the female population almost five to one. This was a ratio Van Aertens knew would harm the chances of it becoming a proper settler colony. His solution was to abolish the previous governor's restriction on settlership by the Han. This was met with opposition from Stuyvesant who wanted to keep the colony "as Dutch as possible" but Aertens overruled him and preferred a policy of integration.
The 1670s were a time of relative peace (with the occasional French naval raid as the Franco-Dutch war erupted in 1672). Despite this, the colony population was expanding due to a rise in births and a decline in the child mortality rate, comparable to that of New Netherland. This period also saw the expansion of farms on the central plateau and the start of irrigation projects to increase the flow of water and thus the amount of harvest that could be tallied each year.
It was also in the 1670s that the Patroon system was fully implemented, those wealthy and those who Aertens trusted were given the status of Patroon and set to rule over a piece of land that they had the duty to make as economically prosperous as possible while encouraging population growth. A significant difference, however, between Formosa's patroon system and that of New Netherland was in the amount of power an individual patroon held. patroons in Formosa were not allowed to raise armies nor were they allowed to tax anything higher than the central authority mandated, making patroons in Formosa less powerful than their American counterparts. Yet these patroons proved effective in their primary mandate and under their watch, regions east of the mountains were starting to get populated, first with the settlement known as Schuylerstadt, founded by the patroon Maarten Schuyler, built on the banks of the Midden river which had been dug out and expanded in the 1770s from a small river to a large set of canals that allowed trade to flow freely. This canal system would then be later expanded in the 1900s to become the large Noordelijke Centrale Kanalen (North-Central Canal System).
It was also during this time that the first regiments of what would later become the Taulandt Defense Forces was created. With help from several veterans of European wars that had settled there, combined with local merchants, a militia force was formed to supplement the VOC troops stationed on the island.
Pax Hollandica (1680-1770)
For over a century, the island enjoyed economic prosperity and peace. The steady growth of settlers and high birth rates saw the population grow more and more. The seat of the colonial government was moved to Nieuw Haag in 1732 as it became a population center due to its direct access to Japan and Korea, where the island almost had a monopoly on trade between the two insular kingdoms. This, combined with the alliance with the Qing, meant that through the island Qing merchants were able to buy western goods and western merchants were able to buy the valued Chinese goods from the ever more insular kingdom. This provided more and more wealth to the island's merchants and settlers, and the cities began to expand and proper city planning began to take form.
This was accompanied by a period of steady population growth, due to immigrants coming from Northern Europe, China, and sailors leaving their marks. All of these factors led to rapid economic growth, population growth due to an influx of Chinese, Germanic/Dutch, and Japanese immigrants which in turn led to a rapid urban expansion which in turn only perpetuated the factors that led to the economic growth. The island had thus become one of the most prosperous colonies in the Dutch empire. By 1770 the population had grown to roughly 1.3 million, this had come from the original population of just a few thousand settlers, this was due to constant immigrants and remarkably high birthrates, plus a large amount of Dutch sailors who rested in the cities and often left a more permanent reminder of them having been there. All these factors are it the Chinese immigrants, the Dutch settlers and the Corean settlers led to the circumstances which would become the foundation of Taulandt culture.
A New Culture: A Infusion of East and West
From the moment the Netherlands had a foothold on Formosa, from the moment that the first Dutch settlers arrived the authorities experienced several problems. This being simply that there were too few Dutch families, that the male to female ratio was not good. This resulted in something not uncommon in Dutch colonies, males intermarrying with locals, in this case, Chinese/Corean women. This laid the cultural foundation, combined with the strong early education system made a Dutch Calvinistic attitude towards the world a common one, these were infused with local Chinese beliefs and traditions and laid the foundation of modern Tau culture, as well as laying the foundations of the Tauaans language.
The first mention of what would eventually become Tauaans was mentioned in a VOC dispatch to the Hague, by a local colonial administrative employee when he wrote a report about the island her status in 1712. It was around this time that the early parts of the culture started to differentiate themselves from both its originators and slowly entrench themselves within the population, even with new immigrants the strict education system brought upon new values. This was possible due to the highly centralized population in the cities, this also made cities expand rapidly, not just in the coastal areas but also more inland in the Schuyler patroonship. This patroonship was able to turn itself into a trading hub with its direct access to the ocean and the forest thus making trade easy.
Administrative Reforms (1680-1770)
Since its earliest inception, the Kolonie van Formosa, as it had been called since 1680 was governed by a Directeur generaal, appointed by Batavia. Daily life tho was governed by local government officials based around the Patroonships, or local city councils, called Stadsraad. The directeur-generaal did have an advisory board of influential members of Formosan society, wealthy merchants, local Burgermeesters, and generals called the Raad der Formosa. This was the status of things up until 1727 when in an effort to relieve the administrative burden that it held combined with the growing importance of the Kolonie, the VOC gave it more administrative and governing powers.
This in turn, combined with factors such as the general rise of other European powers and Formosa already being a hub for the coveted goods from China, made the VOC realise actions should be taken to hold onto it. To make sure that Formosa would be able to govern itself and react to threats in an effective manner, combined with demands from the locals. The staaten der Formosa were created, an elected body that drew from a pool of wealthy merchants, politicians from the Patroonships, and Generaliteits-gebieden. This body was able to institute and decide its own domestic affairs, it would be the precursor to the modern-day Staaten generaal van Taulandt.
The Pirate Wars (1770s)
Rule of Albert Janszoon (1770)
As the 18th century pressed ever onward, the trend of near-constant growth for the VOC in Asia came to an end. Mirrored by corruption, a focus on the spice trade, and an inability to respond effectively to changing markets, or rather the willingness to force itself in those new markets. This combined with the corruption of the VOC meant that the decline of the once mighty Asiatic merchant empire of the VOC had become a shadow of its former self, still extremely profitable but not with the margins as it once was.
In that decline, there was one exception, one source of near-constant economic growth for the VOC, that was the island of Formosa. With the demand for Chinese goods growing ever faster, the colony of Formosa became extremely profitable becoming a trading hub in the region. The wealth from this was partly given to the VOC, but also heavily used to invest in the Formosan colony. This came at a price, with Japanese & Chinese pirates conducting ever more raids on Formosan ships and coastal cities. This eventually led the Staaten der Formosa to issue a decree simply dubbed “Eyland weering besluit” in 1773. It would see a rapid expansion of the Formosan shipyards, the construction of a fleet of 7 large frigates, and more coastal defenses. All to defend against the Japanese & Chinese pirates, what made this act notable was the fact that it was enforced by the first native-born Directeur-Generaal Albert Janszoon.
Having studied in Leiden and served in the Staatse vloot Albert Janszoon was an experienced man with a purpose. He wanted to turn Formosa, or rather Taulandt into a proper state capable of deciding its own destiny, it was something that he knew would not happen in his lifetime. He did not care tho and when he was raised to Directeur-Generaal he set out to fulfill his goals immediately. Under his leadership, he managed to use the small core of professional naval officers to expand the ranks. From 1773 up until 1778, they educated a core of shipbuilders, naval officers, sailors, and marines. He led the expansion of the fortifications across Formosa, using older Roman & Dutch designs as the basis. At the same time, cities became more planned and were expanded rapidly as the population grew just as rapidly. The widening of the Midden Rivier Kanaal was finished which allowed the ships to be constructed in a safe harbor away from the pirate rates.
With the ships under construction, Janszoon did not sit idle, outside of ordering fortification to be built and cities to be expanded. He went to work to turn the local militia into a well-trained, well-equipped, and disciples military force, dividing it into a home defense force, using a modified more professional version of the Kommando system, while the other force was trained as marines based upon the Regiment der Mariniers. These marines would soon gain a notorious reputation through the region for their manner of fighting and ruthlessness in the coming punitive expeditions.
When the frigates were ready, the Formosan government and the Admiraliteit van Formosa had in effect created an independent military force, one that was not tied to the VOC or the Dutch military. The Admiraliteit van Formosa knowing their numbers were limited started to identify the hotspot of pirate activity, sending out spies through the region to gather intelligence. By 1776 three hotspots had been identified by the various spies and merchants that had reported them.
- The largest hotspot for pirates was the Chinese pirates, they raided ships coming and going from Formosa to the mainland.
- The east china sea where the weak kingdom of Ryukyu had become a stronghold of the pirates, principally Japanese & Corean pirates.
- The south china sea, which became a troublesome area that while not that bothersome meant that many Merchants increased their prices for their goods to cover the risks.
Based upon these hotspots a strategy that would last some 5 years was created to not just crack down on the pirates, but to eradicate them. A zero-tolerance policy was thus enacted by the Formosan authorities something that would mark the region for decades to come.
Coastal punitive expedition (Late 1778-Late 1779)
Piracy in the region had always been a problem for the local Qing government, the Qing government took little notice of these pirates. In many cases, the pirates bribed local officials and thus the pirate menace was allowed to grow until it did become a problem for the larger Qing government but it had grown to such a level that it could do little about it. Thus when a Formosan representative came to the Qing court, a representative by the name of J.H. Abendadon offer to eradicate the pirates in the name of the Qing. It was too good for the court to refuse.
With the permission of the Qing court, or rather their stamp of approval, the plans so carefully made. the navy that had been built up and the troops that had been trained under the rule Directeur-Generaal Albert Janszoon could be put to use. Within the year transport ships left their ports carrying marines ready for a campaign.
The campaign that followed is often called “De brandende campagne” or the campaign of burning. For the Marines took the islands where the pirates had set up their bases of operations, they burned down the pirate harbors, villages, killed entire families all in order to pacify them and claim these islands. These campaigns took the entire winter of 1777 and early 1778. Despite that, they left their mark, to this day the region her native population has never recovered from these actions. The sailors and marines of these campaigns returned home as heroes, with greater wealth brought back them imagined. With the Kinmen island now becoming a proper part of Formosa, being brought directly under the administration of Nieuwe Haag
The wealth and security provided by the first expedition, only incentivized the Staaten der Formosa to agree upon a second expedition, to take the Ryukyu islands.
The invasion of Ryukyu (1779)
the invasion of Ryukyu islands had been in the minds of many Dutch/VOC administrators but always remained just that. This changed with the appointment of Directeur-Generaal Albert Janszoon who under his rule made it happen. Using prior successes and the weakness of the Qing as well as the fact that a Tsunami had damaged the island in 1772, from which it never fully recovered at that point, he ordered with the permission of the Staaten der Formosa to start the process of taking these islands.
It of course took time to infiltrate local politics, to get its own men on the ground in small numbers, and to convince the Qing court to allow the Formosans to take charge of the tributary state, to in the words used at that time “Increase the wealth of the Qing empire”. This combined with the good relationship between the Formosans and some key Qing officials allowed for what was, in essence, the outright invasion of a Qing tributary state.
With the permission in essence granted the Formosan authorities, assembled their forces once again, this time requesting VOC aid from Batavia. Something that was granted as the promise of rich mines of salvor made any official of the VOC happy. Thus in the summer of 1779, a fleet of 8 warships, 23 transport ships, carrying 1200 men set sail from Nieuw Amsterdam towards the Ryukyuan capital.
At the capital, the ships aimed their cannons and simply forced the government, a government that was already under the sway of Formosan officials to surrender. Something that to the surprise of all worked. What followed then was Formosan marines landing on the islands without resistance where they started a campaign to take the pirate-controlled area’s burning them to the ground and leaving few if any survivors. These actions brought the Ryukyu islands under the direct colonial administration of the Formosan government, which started a process of Taulanderification, or rather implementing the Formosan legal system and encouraging settlement of the islands by Taulanders. All of this was happening while the islands were officially still a tributary state of the Qing empire.
Southern punitive expedition (1782)
After the successes of the punitive expeditions on the Chinese coast, as well as the unprecedented success with the Ryukyu invasion. The mood was just right for the Directeur-Generaal Albert Janszoon to propose another punitive expedition to the Staaten der Formosa. A punitive expedition to eradicate the pirates that ruled the south china sea, that had been praying on VOC ships going from Zeelandia to Batavia and from Batavia to Zeelandia.
This led to a drop in profits and made Formosa less favorable as it meant that the valuable goods from China were captured, and the silver used to pay for these goods were captured at well. This had always been small but with the Formosan authorities their focus elsewhere these raids on VOC ships had picked up. This was the excuse that Directeur-Generaal Albert Janszoon needed to argue in favor of launching another expedition, this time to take the small islands in the south china sea and eradicate the pirate menace once and for all.
Due to monitory reasons, the expedition was held off but in late 1781, a fleet of 23 warships set sail from Zeelandia. What followed was a campaign that lasted well into November of 1782, it would see the tried and true tactic of burning down the islands, killing the pirates, and taking the islands for Formosan administration to be applied. When the ships returned to Zeelandia in December of that year they came home having added many small islands under the authority of Nieuwe Haag.
It is often stated that the fact that Formosa, itself a remarkably independent minded colony was able to take those islands under the noses of the Qing while having only tacit or sometimes no approval at all from the Hague was due to 4 principal reasons.
- The weakening and corruption of the Qing government
- The fact that the Dutch Republic at that time was focused elsewhere
- The decline of the VOC
- A lack of a Qing navy to do it itself.
This wilingness to do the dirty work themselves would be something that would define Formosa and later Taulandt for the centuries to come.
The French Revolution
This was also the time that the Staaten der Formosa began to form the civil service. From 1780 all the way up to 1795, when the Dutch Republic collapsed under the hands of the French Republic, the Formosan colonial administration had been busy solidifying its recently captured islands. All changed however when in 1795 a letter from William IV, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, came in, ordering the colonial government to surrender to the British as the Netherlands had been invaded by the French.
News had already come in that New Netherland in North America had blatantly refused the British to take over of their colony. Within Formosa, the now Tau-dominated Raad der Formosa considered the surrender orders, and knew that Formosa's situation was different from New Netherland's, for the British barely had a presence in the east as compared to North America. However, they knew that they would not survive a war against Britain, and therefore a deal had been struck with the British. The deal stipulated that Formosa would not be taken over, but it would neither help the French war effort. This would remain the status quo all the way until the end of the wars in Europe and the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Het gemenebest der Taulandt
Early Dominion era (1815-1830)
The creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and its subsequent claim on all the colonies and possessions of the Dutch Republic and the VOC presented the Taulandt government with a dilemma. For when Europe was at war with itself the island of Formosa, now Taulandt had enjoyed a great deal of independence & growth, as no taxes were levied or paid to the Hague, nor was Taulandt in effect really tied to Dutch foreign policy. At the same time, it had struck a deal with the British that prevented them from being invaded. All it took was a promise that they would uphold the House of Oranje Nassau as their sovereign.
The war had changed everything, for the economic position of Taulandt was a strong one, it maintained its position as the principal trade hub and maybe more importantly it had tasted freedom. It was something that everyone knew, the Taulanders, the Dutch, and the British, another thing everyone knew is that with the help of the British the Netherlands could take it by force.
Wanting to prevent a destructive and costly invasion this de Staaten der Formosa decided to take the iniative. They send several representatives to the Hague itself to start negotiations directly with the king of the Netherlands.
Negotiations in the Hague
The delegation led by Tsjen Hendrickzoon arrived in the Netherlands in early 1816, they were not met by a grand welcome, or even any pomp, in the words of Hendrickzoon:
“While on the seas we often talked about how we would be received… we did not expect much but when we arrived we were shocked and somewhat insulted. Nothing absolutely nothing was arranged for us, we were even forced to sleep in a tavern due to our Dutch coins being out of date.” - Taken from his diary, stored in the National museum Nieuwe-Haag
Eventually, they were able to arrange a meeting between themselves and the King and his advisors. The delegation made the king an offer he simply could not refuse, the offer was that Taulandt was to be treated as an equal in all affairs but acknowledge the sovereignty of the House of Oranje-Nassau.
This was not something the king could agree to and what followed were months of intense negotiations. After a night of drinking, as the story goes, the compromise was found that pleased all. The compromise was that Taulandt would be a Gemenebest (Dominion), it would give Dutch ships precedence in regards to docking, set fixed tariffs, would acknowledge the staaten der Formosa as the supreme governing body on the lands it claimed, give Taulandt the right to raise its own military forces, it would be able to make limited treaties with foreign powers if they aligned with the broader Dutch aims, and would acknowledge the monarch of the Netherlands as the Lord protector of Taulandt.
This was confirmed in the so-called “Akte der Gemenebest”, signed by the king on the 5th of December 1816. This marked the start of a new era in the history of Taulandt.
The Domestic reforms (1830-1840)
Throughout the 1820s Taulandt experienced an economic boom, its population grew and so did its influence in Asia. Due to its large amount of shipyards, its connections with the Netherlands itself Taulandt became an early industrializer. At the same time, the always well-developed system of education on the island had given birth to one of the most literate populations on the island that in combination with higher education began to lay the foundations of the technical expertise Taulandt would become so well known for. Taulander merchants could soon be found in all ports around the world.
The growing middle class was thus wealthier than ever and more literate than ever. They soon became more interested in politics many of them were unable to get into the system. Ever since the creation of the Staaten der Formosa, voting was only for the wealthy, based upon the system in the Dutch republic. This meant that the voting base was somewhat larger than in say the Netherlands or Britain, it was not an extremely large base. Calls for the expansion of sufferage were always present but these demands skyrocketed in the 1830s. At first, the elites were resistant to the idea but want to prevent a potential revolution, as the middle class grew they agreed. In the Akte der stemrecht passed in 1834, all Taulandt born males of “proper” heritage were given the right to vote from the age of 23 they now were Burghers with benefits but also duties. This proper aspect would become one of the key points in many reform-minded activists, for to this day it means that those that are not Taulandts have to go through extreme efforts to be able to vote.
The shift in voting power from the small elite to the larger middle class would see the creation of the Huis der burgher, also part of the compromise. It would see the rise of the first few political parties. Parties that went on to expand the infrastructure on Taulandt, increasing industrialization, the first railroads, the construction of more factories, widen the canals and modernize the nations and form the foundations of the Republiek van Taulandt.
An Ever-growing Distance (1840-1890)
It is often said that in the 1840s, a true cultural-rift occurred between the Netherlands and Taulandt. Taulandt culture had been flourishing. Its language, simply called Tau, was a mix between Dutch, Romanized Hokkien, Japanese and Korean that had nevertheless developed, was starting to be taught in schools together with the Tau values which itself were a mix between Dutch-Calvinism but infused with concepts of openness and Confucian beliefs. Through the years, a national identity began to form around Taulandt her history: the development of the language, the pirate raids, the building of a nation, and the Dutch heritage.
As communication became easier and easier through the 19th century, news from the Netherlands and more importantly the rather depressing economic state of the country came flooding in Taulandt. Worse news was yet to come: the War of Dutch humiliation, with war and conflict spreading throughout Dutch nations in North America (New Netherland and Tussenland) and the Asian Dutch holdings.
War of Dutch Humiliation (1850-1857)
The War of Dutch Humiliation (commonly known as the Great Chinese War in Taulandt and outside of Dutch spheres) had been a long time coming. , A weakened Qing empire (due to various revolts) was the opportunity to break the long-standing Dutch-Qing monopoly that many European nations had been looking for. This, coupled with growing southern secessionism in China, was the spark that led to the Great Chinese War that lasted from 1850 until 1857. This saw the Dutch (and consequently, Taulandt) fighting the combined forces of the secessionist Kingdom of Canton in southern China, Britain, and France. Soon, Spain joined in the conflict but fought mainly on the American theatre (with occasional raids from Manila), seeking to take territory from the Dutch American colony of Tussenland. The war ended in a devastating defeat for the Dutch.
Calls for More Reform
The war was eye-opening to many in Tauandt. After this event, there had been many calls to reform the country's navy and army. After this dark chapter of Dutch history, the coastal defense fleet was reformed into a navy that would match the might of European navies in the region in less than twenty years. They owed this to the shipyards and manufacturing bases built under Albert Janszoon, which were rather advanced for their time. It also saw the reform of the commando-militia system into a major permanent army that would have a defensive character in mind.
This continued autonomy from the Netherlands was more evident once the Kingdom of the Netherlands' requests for Taulander troops to be deployed to the Dutch East Indies were increasingly denied, while the islands that Taulandt controlled directly were increasingly better protected. A real sense of unequal dealing had emerged in the Tau people, as it was apparent that when dealing with Dutch traders, they had looked down upon them. Dutch administrators who thought they were barbarians. The final blow to Dutch-Taulandt relations was the request of the Dutch king to strip Taulandt of its autonomy. Thus with both the general population and the ruling elites of Taulandt having a consensus, they knew it was not long until they would finally receive independence, or, on the other side of the coin, be crushed by their European overlords. It was liberty or death.
Eventually, in 1889 a delegation was sent once again as it was understood that Taulandt needed the Netherlands for access to the European market and vice-versa.
Talks of Independence, and the Treaty of Batavia (1891)
Talks were held, not in the Hague, but this time in Batavia, and it lasted for several months. With the Netherlands not giving in and Taulandt demanding more and more, it is said that the threat of war was used multiple times on both sides. These talks were followed closely by the press, with the invention of the telegraph it was one of the most reviewed events yet.
It ended in early 1891 with the following conditions being set for independence:
- Dutch merchants would not have to pay tolls to Taulandt. However, Dutch products would still have reduced tariffs. This also applied to Taulandt's products and ships.
- Taulandt would not involve itself within the Dutch East Indies
- The Paracel islands would remain a part of Taulandt
- The Kingdom of the Netherlands would not interfere with the internal affairs of the Republiek van Taulandt.
These conditions were finalized, and Taulandt independence was official. The delegation arrived back in Taulandt on 20 April 1891. they were welcomed as heroes. The 20th of April is still, to this day, celebrated as a national holiday. Upon its independence, nothing changed in the daily lives of many citizens. The same currency was used which was the Taulandt Guilder, the same laws still applied, and local foreign policy did not change. However almost immediately upon gaining word that the treaty was a success the Staaten der Formosa send out ambassadors to their Asian neighbors and Dutch American cousins. While at the same time a large reform was about to take place.
The early Republic
Transitioning from a Dominion to an independent sovereign Republic went remarkably smooth as many of the institutions were already in place. Tauland already possessed a system of taxation, a legislature, an independent military force, and an independent police force and while limited it possessed foreign relations. While many things went easy, it was not without troubles, Tauland her primary legislatures had always been the Staten der Formosa (now renamed in the Staaten Generaal), yet at the same time, the role of the governor would now need to be replaced. While the position had always been filled by someone on the advice of the Staten der Formosa, it now became clear a directly elected leader was needed. It thus looked to its past and to the Dutch Republic for inspiration with its head of government being the Raadpensionaris, it thus adopted a system of a parliamentary democracy with a strong executive.
The first Raadpensionaris was inaugurated in Nieuwe Haag on the 1st of January 1892 it was the man by the name of Willem van Aertens, a direct descendant of Jacob van Aertens. He, like his NNL counterpart, would hold office 5 years before facing re-election. Van Aertens would set many precedents during his 15-year tenure over the nation. His tenure was filled with many challenges for the young nation ranging from domestic to foreign affairs and crises. These crises ranged from social unrest in the late 1890s, due to economic stagnation, increased smuggling and social dilemmas the young nation was threatened. While at the same time it was dealing with skirmishes over the Ryukyu islands that eventually escalated into a war between Tauland Japan.
During this cultural boom, which coincided with a rise in patriotism, Tauland began estelbishing foreign relations. These followed a traditional path of working via its old contacts from its dominion days. It was able to get several trade treaties signed with Britain for trade in China, respecting Tauland sovreignity and mutual respect in general. The challening issue was the land of the rising sun. Due to the Ryukyu islands having been taken by Tauland in the 1700s, it had always been a sore point. With Japan slowly moderning tho it began to voice its demands that it wanted those islands. With the rhetoric on both sides becoming more and more hostile, with Japan expanding her industrial capacity and creating a capable navy at a rapid pace. With this it became clear that the islands would in the future become a sore point.
Throughout the 1890s both sides started to talk about the sovreignity of the islands. In the end tho both sides did not budge with Tauland, considering the islands theirs as it had spend countless man hours into developing those islands. While Japan demanded full sovereignity over the islands and while no outright declarations of war where made, both nations deployed their navies and tensions rose. As several times it occured that Tauland ships edged closer to Japanese waters and vice versa. All of this was closely followed by the Tauland press which created more anti Japanese sentiment. All of these factors, be it anti Japanese sentiment, legimate fears of looking weak and economic aspects such as fishing rights helped with creating the conditions for the Ryukyu stand off.
During this cultural boom, which coincided with a rise in patriotism, Tauland began establishing foreign relations. These followed a traditional path of working via its old contacts from its dominion days. It was able to get several trade treaties signed with Britain for trade in China, respecting Tauland's sovereignty and mutual respect in general. The challenging issue was the land of the rising sun. Due to the Ryukyu islands having been taken by Tauland in the 1700s, it had always been a sore point. With Japan slowly modernizing tho it began to voice its demands that it wanted those islands. With the rhetoric on both sides becoming more and more hostile, Japan expanded its industrial capacity and created a capable navy at a rapid pace. With this, it became clear that the islands would in the future become a sore point.
Throughout the 1890s both sides started to talk about the sovereignty of the islands. In the end tho both sides did not budge with Tauland, considering the islands theirs as it had spent countless man hours into developing those islands. While Japan demanded full sovereignty over the islands and while no outright declarations of war were made, both nations deployed their navies and tensions rose. As several times it occurred that Tauland ships edged closer to Japanese waters and vice versa. All of this was closely followed by the Tauland press which created more anti-Japanese sentiment. All of these factors, be it anti-Japanese sentiment, legitimate fears of looking weak and economic aspects such as fishing rights helped with creating the conditions for the Ryukyu standoff.
November 1899 - 3rd of March 1900
With the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment in Tauland due to the failed negotiations around the Ryukyu islands. Japan demanded full sovereignty over the island, despite at this point Tauland having had them settled and developed for the past 200 years. This eventually led to the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment within Tauland society, as they were seen as stealing the Taulanders rightful land. With people on the streets demanding that the government do something, Readpensionaris Van Aertens felt confident enough to take preemptive actions, to prevent further Japanese aggression.
Ever since the start of the political dispute between Japan and Tauland, Tauland its admiralty had prepared multiple plans in case of a war. Thus when the Readpensionaris gave the order to prepare for a potential conflict, the admiralty was ready. It thus sends out it's Marines and squadrons to strengthen the islands and deter the Japanese. These reinforcements consisted of 3 heavy cruisers, 15 armoured cruisers and 27 torpedo boats towards the island of Amami.
The naval force arrived in early November 1899 around the island of Amami, it immediately began setting up forward defensive patrols. Similoltaniously army forces on the island of Okinawa began to reinforce the garrison, in preparation for what could be a Japanese invasion. For the first 2 weeks nothing happened in fact the Japanese did not send any forces, to counter the Taulanders. It was only after 16 days that the Japanese response became apparent in the form of 17 cruisers, 20 torpedo boats and 4 frigates. What followed was a tense staredown with the cannons pointed at them. This eventually on the 3rd day of the standdown led to ire being issued and what followed was a naval engagement.
During this engagement Tauland ship fired at the Japanese and vice versa, the battle lasted for 6 hours and when it ended, Tauland stood victorious. Victorious in the sense that the Japanese could not land on the islands, this victory was due to the shore batteries and more up-to-date battleships with newer firing control systems.
The aftermath of the 3-month war
With the end of the 3-month war, and the smashing of the Japanese squadron, the state of affairs between Japan and Tauland was extremely tense. War was on the horizon and both sides understood it, yet at the same time, both sides were not ready for a war. This led van Aertens his government to push their Japanese counterparts for not necessarily peace, but rather an understanding between the two sides.
This while appearing a Tauland victory actually served both sides, for it now meant that both sides could prepare for the larger conflict they knew would come in the future.
A Troublesome Start
With Tauland her victory in the naval battle the so called “Driemaandse oorlog” (three month war) or the stand off as it is sometimes called came to an end. It eventually led not to the peace that was wanted but a understanding. While it was understood that Tauland controlled the islands, the issue of fishery waters, natural resources and area’s of influence was not decided.
At the end of the conflict Tauland thus in its own eyes stood victorious but Van Aerten knew that it was just the beginning. Tauland had showed that it was a new player in a game that had taken place in one form or another for the past centuries. Knowing that his tenure as Readpensionaris was over he wanted to make sure the nation understood that this small victory was not a given.
Tauland experienced a cultural and economic boom during the 1910s, it being the melting pot of western and eastern cultures it leveraged its position to get access to the high in demand chinese products, all the while expanding its own industrial base and exports. By 1918 Tauland was called “The next power of the east” due to its industrial output, financial sector and maritime power, which allowed it to enforce favourable treaties if needed. Yet all came to an end with the European Economic Crisis.
A Decade of Austerity
Due to Tauland her reliance on exports it was hit hard by the crisis, as its normal export markets, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia the German states, all saw their economies shrink. This led to a loss of some 23% of the gross domestic product of Tauland as many merchants where simply unable to sell their products. This forced the goverment to issue meussures of austerity that where hoped would make sure the key industries; heavy Industries, shipbuilding, aviation and the finance sector would survive. What made matters worse for Tauland was the fact that the region was rapidly destabilising, the fall of the Russian empire its three year long civil war (1925 - 1928) the eventual fall of the South Chinese kingdom and the start of the Corean war.
Tauland tho managed to in general weather the larger storms by focusing on public work projects. It was during this period that the country side was heavily altered with new canals, with farms becoming more mechanised to increase crop yields, while its mountains where in some cases tunneld through, all of this had the goal to have people just work. What made matters worse for the government was that due to the political instability in the region, it was forced to keep its defense spending high, whille later it would show that this mainly throughout the Fleet expansion laws made it possible for moere people to work it was at the time quite an onpopular decision.
Participation in the Corean war
As the Netherlands entered the conflict on the side of Corea, Tauland found itself in a precarious situation. While it officially remained neutral, it was under prior treaties obliged to allow the Dutch to use Tauland ports, while at the same time, the Netherlands was her primary export partner. What made the situation more complicated was Tauland her relationship with the First Chinese republic, Japan and Corea. All of the warring factions had numerous citizens, or first-generation immigrants living in Tauland, while Taulanders themselves had routes in China.
While there were never fears that some uprising would occur, the fear of potential saboteurs where there. This forced the government under the newly elected Readpensionaris Dennis Liezoon, to enact the so-called and quite controversial “Publiekelijke veiligheids bevel 1829”. This order would see all citizens, thus those immigrants that had not renounced their prior nationality, to be interred. These internment camps were often located in the mountains or on the east coast. These camps were by no means prisons but there were armed guards present.
This order in particular was the first of what the Liezoon cabinet called “Siege preparations” for he understood that even if Tauland was neutral, other powers might see it favouring the Dutch, which it unofficially did, thus its merchant shipping would come under threat and its ports as well by “lone agents”. In 1934 many of its major urban centers, industrial centers and other strategic locations would become some of the most protected places in the world, with an advanced system of anti-air systems, and early warning systems. Tauland would thus throughout the course of the war be turned into nothing more but a fortress.
During this conflict, the Tauland military expanded rapidly, not just in its navy which at the end of it was the preeminent naval force in the region, but also in the other forces. Thus when the conflict ended Tauland was in an opportune position to enforce its interests in the south china sea, the pacific and Tauland straight.
Tauland during the great war
While never overtly involved in the great war (5 May 1935 – 14 April 1939) Tauland did not sit idle. During the war, it remained largely neutral, yet installed convoys to ensure that its shipping would not be hunted, while also providing a service for other smaller nations and their merchant fleets. This was made possible by the rapid military expansion that occurred in the Corean war. The convoy system was highly reliant upon the large fleet of destroyers and cruisers of Tauland and would see many nations join and help in improving Tauland her image abroad.
During the great war, Tauland saw an economic recovery, for Tauland provided much-needed munitions to the British during the conflict. This would see Tauland receive a great deal of cash, cash it used to expand critical infrastructure and prepare for a post-war world. A world in which Tauland her leadership knew, a new great game would occur and Tauland her region would likely become a battleground and Tauland needed to prepare for it. It was thus in late 1937 when both sides were still on the edge, that Tauland began to prepare for what would become known as “Operatie verzekering”.
Operatie Verzekering (insurance) was a military operation launched on the 3rd of February 1938 and lasted until the 1st of January 1939 (332 days). It was launched with a simple goal, to secure Tauland's strategic interests in the pacific, south china sea and other regions. It was the brainchild of Readpensionaris Rudolf Liezoon and Schout bij nacht Pieter Kaapman.
It has its origins in late 1937, seeing as the conflict was raging and it would likely end with British - Russian victory, the leadership understood that in the future Asia would become a battleground. It was likely they reasoned that Tauland, if it did not act itself, would be made or attempted to be made a puppet of one of the powers, thus to secure Tauland her long-term needs it would need to secure vital areas. The vital area’s that were identified were designated by the following names:
- Northern Tauland security zone (Ryukyu islands, Southern Japan)
- Southern Tauland security zone (Paracel islands, South China Sea )
- Eastern Tauland security zone (Buture island, Western Pacific )
- Western Tauland security (Xiamen, eastern china)
The intent of the military operation was a simple one, secure the vital areas and ensure Tauland superiority in the region.