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Civil Unrest, Local Forcible Leaders and Authorities: The Development of Lin Wan-Jhang Family in the 19th Century Taiwan
Lin Gong,Lin Wan-Jhang,Shuidi-Liao,Appropriation of indigenous land,the marriage between the Han and the savage,
|Publication Year :||2018|
From the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, the Fang-Liao area of Taiwan was populated by many people due to its local environment. However, as a result of the geographical location being far from any controlling authorities, combined with the influence of the restriction on people from entering the mountain areas after the Chu Yi-Guei incident, there existed a lot of hoodlums (gangsters) disturbing the peace. The local authorities administering the area, lacking power, could not resolve the disturbance created by the hoodlums. The authorities turned to the powerful leader in the area for help to stabilize the locality. This decision undoubtedly paved the way to enable the powerful Lin Wan-Jhang family to gain power, and status strengthened by their cooperation with the authorities.
Lin Chi-Chuan was one of the first pioneers of the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao in Taiwan, who sought the commercial opportunities within the restricted areas. By doing so, he created firm friendships with the “Savages” (the indigenous Taiwanese inhabitants). Operating the Wan-Ke store also helped strengthen his family’s position within the community. By this time, the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao was well known to the authorities. However, after Lin Chi-Chuan died, his son, Lin Wan-Jhang, fell into a disagreement with the authorities concerning his family’s compensation for their assistance in putting down civil unrest, notwithstanding their contribution in the saving of foreign ship wrecks. In 1853, because of the conflict, Lin Wan-Jhang and Lin Gong rebelled, causing the fall of the Fengshan county town, during which time many officials died.
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864) occupied Nanjing in 1853. This initiated many uprisings in the Fujian province, including that of Lin Gong in Taiwan. However, the Qing government could not provide military assistance because the problem caused by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was still unresolved. Consequently, the Taiwan Prefecture was surrounded for several months by Lin Gong and his army. The officials in Taiwan were unable to put down the uprising, deciding instead to quell the commotion in both northern and southern ways. The officials in Taiwan successfully quelled the disturbance caused by Ling Gong, while armed confrontation between the Han and the Hakka in southern Taiwan still remained a problem. The Hakka even accused Lin Wan-Jhang to be the criminal leader of the Lin Gong incident. Due to the conflict created by Lin Gong, the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao’s relationship with the local authorities disintegrated. According to Robert Swinhoe, the authorities now regarded Lin Wan-Jhang as “an outlaw chief,” resulting in armed conflicts between them.
After the death of Lin Wan-Jhang, his widow, Lin Li-Chao, and son, Lin Yu-Tsai, worked hard to preserve the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao’s relationship with the authorities, which was especially reflected in the cooperation during the Tai Chao-Chun incident. However, with the death of Lin Yu-Tsai at Zhangzhou while combatting the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, together with the subsequent death of his mother Lin Li-Chao, the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao began its decline. Through the analysis of the rise to prosperity followed by the decline of the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao, we can understand the complex interactions between a powerful family, society, and the authorities. Moreover, we can also come to terms with the Lin family of Shuidi-Liao’s decline impacted by the actions of the authorities and the lack of a powerful successor.
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