Kaohsiung, Taiwan

History | Early history | Dutch Formosa | Qing Dynasty | Japanese rule | Republic of China | Geography | Economy | Agriculture | Tourist Industry | Natural attractions | Historical sites | Museums | Parks and zoos | Education : University | Technical and vocational universities

🇹🇼 Kaohsiung City is a special municipality in southern Taiwan. It ranges from the coastal urban centre to the rural Yushan Range. Kaohsiung city is Taiwan's third most populous city and it is the largest city in southern Taiwan.

Since founding in the 17th century, Kaohsiung has grown from a small trading village into the political and economic centre of southern Taiwan, with key industries such as manufacturing, steel-making, oil refining, freight transport and shipbuilding. It has some of the most prominent infrastructures in Taiwan. The Port of Kaohsiung is the largest and busiest harbor in Taiwan while Kaohsiung International Airport is the second busiest airport in number of passengers. The city is well-connected to other major cities by high speed and conventional rail, as well as several national freeways. It also hosts the Republic of China Navy fleet headquarters and its naval academy. More recent public works such as Pier-2 Art Center, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and Kaohsiung Music Center have been aimed at growing the tourism and cultural industries of the city.


History The written history of Kaohsiung can be traced back to the early 17th century, through archaeological studies have found signs of human activity in the region from as long as 7,000 years ago. Prior to the 17th century, the region was inhabited by the Makatao people of the Siraya tribe, who settled on what they named Takau Isle (translated to 打狗嶼 by Ming Chinese explorers); "Takau" meaning "bamboo forest" in the aboriginal language.


Early history The earliest evidence of human activity in the Kaohsiung area dates back to roughly 4,700–5,200 years ago. Most of the discovered remnants were located in the hills surrounding Kaohsiung Harbor. Artifacts were found at Shoushan, Longquan Temple, Taoziyuan, Zuoying, Houjing, Fudingjin and Fengbitou. The prehistoric Dapenkeng, Niuchouzi, Dahu, and Niaosong civilizations were known to inhabit the region. Studies of the prehistoric ruins at Longquan Temple have shown that that civilization occurred at roughly the same times as the beginnings of the aboriginal Makatao civilization, suggesting a possible origin for the latter. Unlike some other archaeological sites in the area, the Longquan Temple ruins are relatively well preserved. Prehistoric artifacts discovered have suggested that the ancient Kaohsiung Harbor was originally a lagoon, with early civilizations functioning primarily as Hunter-gatherer societies. Some agricultural tools have also been discovered, suggesting that some agricultural activity was also present. The pronunciation of Kaohsiung (Takao) in Japanese is similar to Takau (Takau), so the local flavor of Takao was renamed Kaohsiung.

The first Chinese records of the region were written in 1603 by Chen Di, a member of Ming admiral Shen You-rong's expedition to rid the waters around Taiwan and Penghu of pirates. In his report on the "Eastern Barbarian Lands" (Dong Fan Ji), Chen Di referred to a Ta-kau Isle: It is unknown when the barbarians (Taiwanese aborigines) arose on this island in the ocean beyond Penghu, but they are present at Keeong Harbor (nowaday's Budai, Chiayi), the bay of Galaw (Anping, Tainan), Laydwawan (Tainan City), Yaw Harbor (Cheting, Kaohsiung), Takau Isle (Kaohsiung City), Little Tamsui (Donggang, Pingtung), Siangkeykaw (Puzi, Chiayi), Gali forest (Jiali District, Tainan), the village of Sabah (Tamsui, Taipei), and Dwabangkang (Bali, New Taipei City).


Dutch Formosa Taiwan became a Dutch colony in 1624, after the Dutch East India Company was ejected from Penghu by Ming forces. At the time, Takau was already one of the most important fishing ports in southern Taiwan. The Dutch named the place Tankoya, and the harbor Tancoia. The Dutch missionary François Valentijn named Takau Mountain "Ape Berg", a name that would find its way onto European navigational charts well into the 18th century. Tankoia was located north of Ape's Hill and a few hours south from Tayouan (modern-day Anping, Tainan) by sail. At the time, a wide shallow bay existed there, sufficient for small vessels. However, constant silting changed the coastline.

During this time, Taiwan was divided into five administrative districts, with Takau belonging to the southernmost district. In 1630, the first large scale immigration of Han Chinese to Taiwan began due to famine in Fujian, with merchants and traders from China seeking to purchase hunting licenses from the Dutch or hide out in aboriginal villages to escape authorities in China.


Qing Dynasty In 1684, the Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan and renamed the town Fongshan County (鳳山縣; Fèngshān Xiàn), considering it a part of Taiwan Prefecture. It was first opened as a port during the 1680s and subsequently prospered fairly for generations.


Japanese rule In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Administrative control of the city was moved from New Fongshan Castle to the Fongshan Sub-District of Tainan Chō (臺南廳). In November 1901, twenty chō were established in total; Hōzan Chō (鳳山廳) was established nearby. In 1909, Hōzan Chō was abolished, and Takow was merged into Tainan Chō.

In 1920, during the tenure of 8th Governor-General Den Kenjirō, districts were abolished in favor of prefectures. Thus the city was administered as Takao City (高雄市, Takao-shi) under Takao Prefecture.

The Japanese developed Takao, especially the harbor that became the foundation of Kaohsiung to be a port city. Takao was then systematically modernized and connected to the end of North-South Railway. Forming a north–south regional economic corridor from Taipei to Kaohsiung in the 1930s, Japan's Southward Policy set Kaohsiung to become an industrial center. Kaohsiung Harbor was also developed starting from 1894. The city centre was relocated several times during the period due to the government's development strategy. Development was initially centered on Ki-au (旗後; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kî-āu) region but the government began laying railways, upgrading the harbor, and passing new urban plans. New industries such as refinery, machinery, shipbuilding and cementing were also introduced.

Before and during World War II it handled a growing share of Taiwan's agricultural exports to Japan, and was also a major base for Japan's campaigns in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Extremely ambitious plans for the construction of a massive modern port were drawn up. Toward the end of the war, the Japanese promoted some industrial development at Kaohsiung, establishing an aluminum industry based on the abundant hydroelectric power produced by the Sun Moon Lake project in the mountains.

The city was heavily bombed by Task Force 38 and FEAF during World War II between 1944 and 1945.


Republic of China After control of Taiwan was handed over from Japan to the government of the Republic of China on 25 October 1945, Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County were established as a provincial city and a county of Taiwan Province respectively on 25 December 1945. The official romanization of the name came to be "Kaohsiung", based on the Wade–Giles romanization of the Mandarin reading of the kanji name. Kaohsiung City then consisted of 10 districts, which were Gushan, Lianya (renamed "Lingya" in 1952), Nanzih, Cianjin, Cianjhen, Cijin, Sanmin, Sinsing, Yancheng, and Zuoying.

During this time, Kaohsiung developed rapidly. The port, badly damaged in World War II, was restored. It also became a fishing port for boats sailing to Filipino and Indonesian waters. Largely because of its climate, Kaohsiung overtook Keelung as Taiwan's major port. Kaohsiung also surpassed Tainan to become the second largest city of Taiwan in the late 1970s and Kaohsiung City was upgraded from a provincial city to special municipality on 1 July 1979, by the Executive Yuan with a total of 11 districts. The additional district is Siaogang District, which was annexed from Siaogang Township of Kaohsiung County.

The Kaohsiung Incident, where the government suppressed a commemoration of International Human Rights Day, occurred on 10 December 1979. Since then, Kaohsiung gradually grew into a political centre of the Pan-Green population of Taiwan, in opposition to Taipei where the majority population is Kuomintang supporters.

Map of Kaohsiung City before and after 25 December 2010

On 25 December 2010, Kaohsiung City merged with Kaohsiung County to form a larger special municipality with administrative centres in Lingya District and Fongshan District.

On 31 July 2014, a series of gas explosions occurred in the Cianjhen and Lingya Districts of the city, killing 31 and injuring more than 300. Five roads were destroyed in an area of nearly 20 km² (7.7 sq mi) near the city center. It was the largest gas explosion in Taiwan's modern history.


Geography The city sits on the south-western coast of Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait, bordering Tainan City to the north, Chiayi and Nantou County to the north-west, Taitung County to its north-east and Pingtung County to the south and southeast. The downtown areas are centered on Kaohsiung Harbor with Cijin Island on the other side of the harbor acting as a natural breakwater. The Love River (Ai River) flows into the harbor through the Old City and downtown. Zuoying Military Harbor lies to the north of Kaohsiung Harbor and the city center. Kaohsiung's natural landmarks include Ape Hill and Mount Banping.


Economy Kaohsiung is a major international port and industrial city. As an exporting centre, Kaohsiung serves the agricultural interior of southern Taiwan, as well as the mountains of the south-east. Major raw material exports include rice, sugar, bananas, pineapples, peanuts (groundnuts) and citrus fruits.

The 2,200-hectare (5,400-acre) Linhai Industrial Park, on the waterfront, was completed in the mid-1970s and includes a steel mill, shipyard, petrochemical complex, and other industries. The city has an oil refinery, aluminum and cement works, fertilizer factories, sugar refineries, brick and tile works, canning factories, salt-manufacturing factories, and papermaking plants. Designated an export-processing zone in the late 1970s, Kaohsiung also attracted foreign investment to process locally purchased raw materials for export.

In 2020, Kaohsiung's land reclamation project in the Port of Kaohsiung was completed, equivalent to 16 of Taipei's Dean Forest Parks.

The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau plans to buy 49 hectares of the reclaimed land to establish a solar energy industrial district that would be in the harbor's free trade zone.

The gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms of Kaohsiung City is estimated to be around US$45 billion, and US$90 billion for the metropolitan region. As of 2008, the GDP per capita in nominal terms was approximately US$24,000.

Despite early success and heavy governmental investment, the city suffers from the economic North–South divide in Taiwan, which continues to be the centre of political debate. There has been public aims to shift the local economy towards tourism and cultural industries, with projects such as Pier-2 Art Center, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and Kaohsiung Music Center.


Agriculture The main agricultural produce in Kaohsiung are vegetables, fruits and rice with a total arable land of 473 km2, which accounts to 16% of the total area of the municipality. Kaohsiung has the highest production of guava, jujube and lychee in Taiwan. The main animal husbandry are chicken, dairy cattle, deer, duck, goose, pigs and sheep. The total annual agricultural outcome in Kaohsiung is NT$24.15 billion.


Tourist Industry Main landmarks of Kaohsiung city include the 85 Sky Tower, the Ferris wheel of the Kaohsiung Dream Mall, the Kaohsiung Arena and Port of Kaohsiung. The newly developed city is also known for having a large number of shopping streets, organized night markets and newly developed leisure parks such as the Pier-2 Art Center, E-DA Theme Park, Metropolitan Park, the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and Taroko Park.

Natural attractions of the city include Shoushan (Monkey mountain), the Love River, Cijin Island, Sizihwan, the Dapingding Tropical Botanical Garden and Yushan National Park at the north-eastern tip of the city. The city also features various historical attractions such as the Old City of Zuoying, a historical town built during the early 17th century, the Former British Consulate at Takao built during the late 19th century, and various sugar and crop factories built under Japanese rule.


Natural attractions Kaohsiung city includes a wide range of different natural attractions due to its large size and geographical variation, as it is bordered by the Central Mountain Range in the north-east and the warm South China Sea to the west and southwest. The year-round warm climate allows coral reefs to grow along the coasts around Kaohsiung Harbor, with Shoushan Mountain being a small mountain completely made up of coral reefs and calcium carbonate, while the mountainous districts in the north-east include Taiwan's highest mountain, Yushan. Other notable natural attractions include the Mount Banping, Lotus Pond, and Dongsha Atoll National Park, which is currently inaccessible by the public due to military occupation.


Historical sites A large number of historical sites and monuments were left in the city after the colonization of the Dutch in the 17th century, the Qing dynasty during the 18th and 19th century and the Japanese empire from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. The city government has protected various sites and monuments from further damage and many have been opened to the public since the early 1980s. Notable historical sites include the Cemetery of Zhenghaijun, Fengshan Longshan Temple, Former British Consulate at Takao, Former Dinglinzihbian Police Station, Meinong Cultural and Creative Center, Former Sanhe Bank, and the Kaohsiung Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses of the city.


Museums Kaohsiung is home to many museums, including the Chung Li-he Museum, Cijin Shell Museum, Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, Jiasian Petrified Fossil Museum, Kaohsiung Astronomical Museum, Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum, Kaohsiung Harbor Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung Museum of History, Kaohsiung Museum of Labor, Kaohsiung Vision Museum, Meinong Hakka Culture Museum, National Science and Technology Museum, Republic of China Air Force Museum, Soya-Mixed Meat Museum, Taiwan Pineapple Museum, Taiwan Sugar Museum, Takao Railway Museum, Xiaolin Pingpu Cultural Museum and YM Museum of Marine Exploration Kaohsiung.


Parks and zoos As the largest municipality in Taiwan, Kaohsiung has a number of newly built leisure areas and parks. Notable parks or pavilions in the city include the Central Park, Siaogangshan Skywalk Park, Fo Guang Shan Monastery, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Spring and Autumn Pavilions, the Love Pier, Singuang Ferry Wharf and Kaohsiung Fisherman's Wharf. Notable zoo in the city includes the Kaohsiung City Shousan Zoo.


Education: University • I-Shou University • Kaohsiung Medical University • National Kaohsiung Normal University • National Sun Yat-sen University • National University of Kaohsiung.


Technical and vocational universities • Cheng Shiu University • Fooyin University • National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism • National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology • Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages.

Cijin, Qijin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 
Cijin, Qijin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Image: Photo by Jason Hong on Unsplash

Kaohsiung is rated Gamma - by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.

Kaohsiung is ranked #126 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Kaohsiung was ranked #152 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Kaohsiung has a population of over 2,773,229 people. Kaohsiung also forms the centre of the wider Kaohsiung metropolitan area which has a population of over 3,023,225 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Kaohsiung see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Kaohsiung is twinned with the following locations; [:

🇩🇪 Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany 🇨🇴 Barranquilla, Colombia 🇧🇿 Belize City, Belize 🇲🇼 Blantyre, Malawi 🇦🇺 Brisbane, Australia 🇰🇷 Busan, South Korea 🇨🇷 Cartago, Costa Rica 🇵🇭 Cebu, Philippines 🇵🇭 Cebu City, Philippines 🇺🇸 Colorado Springs, USA 🇻🇳 Da Nang City, Vietnam 🇰🇷 Daegu, South Korea 🇵🇭 Dipolog, Philippines 🇿🇦 Durban, South Africa 🇺🇸 Fort Lauderdale, USA 🇲🇾 George Town, Malaysia 🇺🇸 Gulf Breeze, USA 🇯🇵 Hachiōji, Japan 🇺🇸 Honolulu, USA 🇹🇷 Istanbul, Turkey 🇺🇸 Knoxville, USA 🇯🇵 Kumamoto, Japan 🇺🇸 Little Rock, USA 🇺🇸 Macon, USA 🇲🇻 Malé, Maldives 🇯🇵 Matsumoto, Japan 🇺🇸 Miami, USA 🇺🇸 Mobile, USA 🇲🇽 Monterrey, Mexico 🇮🇳 Mumbai, India 🇵🇦 Panama City, Panama 🇺🇸 Pensacola, USA 🇺🇸 Plains, USA 🇺🇸 Portland, USA 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg, Russia 🇺🇸 San Antonio, USA 🇺🇸 San Diego, USA 🇺🇸 Seattle, USA 🇮🇩 Surabaya, Indonesia 🇲🇽 Tijuana, Mexico 🇺🇸 Tulsa, USA
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GaWC | GUCR | Nomad

North of: 22.621

🇹🇼 Kaoshiung 22.621

🇲🇽 Jerez 22.633

🇮🇳 Basirhat 22.65

🇨🇳 Yulin 22.654

🇹🇼 Pingtung 22.667

🇻🇳 Cao Bằng 22.667

🇴🇲 Ibra 22.683

🇮🇳 Nadiad 22.69

🇧🇩 Noakhali 22.7

🇧🇩 Barisal 22.703

South of: 22.621

🇮🇳 Mandla 22.601

🇹🇼 Kaohsiung City 22.6

🇨🇳 Jiangmen 22.574

🇮🇳 Kolkata 22.571

🇮🇳 Howrah 22.567

🇮🇳 Anand 22.556

🇨🇳 Shenzhen 22.547

🇨🇳 Shenzen 22.542

🇨🇳 Zhongshan 22.521

🇨🇳 Futian 22.517

East of: 120.312

🇵🇭 San Fernando 120.315

🇵🇭 Dagupan 120.343

🇵🇭 San Carlos 120.349

🇵🇭 Tamayo 120.349

🇵🇭 San Carlos City 120.349

🇵🇭 Bayambang 120.35

🇨🇳 Qingdao 120.356

🇵🇭 Agoo 120.365

🇨🇳 Zhangjiagang 120.366

🇵🇭 Calasiao 120.37

West of: 120.312

🇹🇼 Kaoshiung 120.312

🇹🇼 Xinying 120.3

🇨🇳 Huishan 120.299

🇨🇳 Wuxi 120.296

🇵🇭 Olongapo 120.29

🇨🇳 Binhu 120.284

🇹🇼 Kaohsiung City 120.283

🇵🇭 Olongapo City 120.28

🇵🇭 Binmaley 120.269

🇨🇳 Jiangyin 120.268

Antipodal to Kaohsiung is: -59.688,-22.621

Locations Near: Kaohsiung 120.312,22.6205

🇹🇼 Kaoshiung 120.312,22.621 d: 0  

🇹🇼 Kaohsiung City 120.283,22.6 d: 3.7  

🇹🇼 Pingtung 120.483,22.667 d: 18.3  

🇹🇼 Tainan 120.18,22.934 d: 37.4  

🇹🇼 Tainan City 120.215,22.992 d: 42.5  

🇹🇼 Douliu 120.467,23.149 d: 60.9  

🇹🇼 Xinying 120.3,23.3 d: 75.6  

🇹🇼 Taitung 121.133,22.75 d: 85.5  

🇹🇼 Taitung City 121.133,22.75 d: 85.5  

🇹🇼 Chiayi 120.433,23.467 d: 94.9  

Antipodal to: Kaohsiung -59.688,-22.621

🇵🇾 Filadelfia -60.017,-22.333 d: 19968.6  

🇵🇾 Concepción -57.417,-23.4 d: 19767  

🇦🇷 Clorinda -57.717,-25.283 d: 19657.6  

🇵🇾 Mariano Roque Alonso -57.543,-25.158 d: 19658.5  

🇵🇾 Lambaré -57.633,-25.317 d: 19649.8  

🇵🇾 Asunción -57.56,-25.304 d: 19646.6  

🇵🇾 Fernando de la Mora -57.58,-25.323 d: 19646  

🇵🇾 Luque -57.483,-25.267 d: 19645.3  

🇵🇾 San Lorenzo -57.517,-25.333 d: 19641.4  

🇵🇾 Capiatá -57.417,-25.35 d: 19633.8  

Bing Map

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