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National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan*
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  • Gallery of Agricultural Ecology
  • Overview
  • Origins of agriculture
  • Agriculture in China
  • Agriculture in Taiwan
  • Agricultural features of Taiwan
  • Photo of galleries, exhibit.....(promotion only)
    ::: Exhibition
    * Agriculture in Taiwan (before 1945)
    Taiwan, isolated and poorly developed, had been a neglected island before the 17th century. But during the age of exploration and maritime conquest by Europeans, it began to attract world attention owing to its strategic location and natural resources. It also began to develop an interesting story in its agriculture.
    • Pre - 1600s
      The archaeological site at Chang-bin, Taitung proves that Taiwan agriculture started in the Paleolithic Age (30,000 - 5,000 years ago) when people hunted, fished, and gathered. They moved from place to place in search of food. The tools they used to cut or sew were pieces of crashed stone or animal bones. Then in the Neolithic Age (5,000 - 2,000 years ago) people began their sedentary way of life. They grew rice and other crops such as grain, yam, and ramie. They also domesticated pigs and chickens. Their farm tools were still made from stone, but got improved a lot. During the Iron Age (2,000 years ago), prehistoric people along the coast of northern Taiwan began to make iron tools. The way of their cultivation and domestication kept almost the same as in the Neolithic Age, yet, their production was up a lot. And that caused bigger and bigger population.
      See the distribution map of important prehistoric agricultural sites in Taiwan.
    • The 17th Century
      People from Mainland China began to immigrate to Taiwan. They fished, hunted, or grew crops. Most of them settled in Tainan area.
    • The Dutch Occupation (1624 - 1662)
      During the period of the Dutch occupation, they promoted the production of sugar cane and paddy rice. As much as 11,883 hectares of the land of Taiwan had cultivated at that time. And all the land belonged to the Dutch East Indies Company. The Dutch people not only exported Taiwan's agricultural products, they also imported peas, tomatoes, wax apples, and mangoes from Southeast Asia and America to Taiwan.
    • The Ming Dynasty (1662 - 1683)
      In 1662, Dutch were defeated by a Chinese pirate, Cheng Cheng-kung (Koxinga), a loyalist of the old Ming dynasty. During Cheng's reign, the number of Han people immigrated from Mainland China increased up to nearly 200,000, and the cultivated land expanded to 29,150 hectares. Cheng established the land ownership system and taught people to build reservoirs for irrigation. Paddy rice was the main crop at this time. The Han people also brought 43 kinds of vegetables from southern China including leeks, garlic, and Chinese cabbage.
    • The Ching Dynasty (1683 - 1894)
      In 1683, the last remnant of the Ming dynasty was defeated by the Ching troops. The new Manchu emperors were "inland" people with little knowledge of the offshore islands, and they were not eager to extend their rule over the island. However, immigration to Taiwan from the coastal provinces of China increased because of wars and famines on the mainland. They built a large number of canals for irrigation. Cultivated land in Taiwan had measured up to 350,574 hectares by 1895. Farmers cultivated the land, got benefits from the land. But, they did not own it.
    • The Japanese Colonization (1895 - 1945)
      On 21 October 1895, Japanese imperial troops entered Tainan and occupied Taiwan in the subsequent 50 years. Japanese government invested with great efforts in Taiwan's agriculture. Irrigation was considered the key to further developing Taiwan's agriculture, which was plagued by uneven rainfall. Concrete dams, reservoirs, and large aqueducts formed an extensive irrigation project that brought thousands of hectares of poor farmland into production. Arable land for rice production increased by more than 74%, and sugar cane by 30 %. They also conducted surveys on Taiwan's forest resources and equipped refineries with modern machinery. Most important of all, they established farmer associations and some other related systems. Agriculture dominated Taiwan's economy ever after.

      Agriculture in Taiwan (after 1945)

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