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 Kinmen History

 Origins

Shei-Pa National Parks
Within a brief 10 years of time since 1982, Taiwan was able to establish Kenting, Yushan, Yangmingshan, Taroko, and Shei-Pa National Parks.  In order to preserve the remains of Kinmen battles and humanistic heritage sites, Kinmen National Park was established in 1995.  In 2007, the establishment of Dongsha Atoll National Park was announced, which was founded to serve as a marine national park devoted in the conservation of marine resources.  In December, 2009, Taijiang National Park was also established.  So far, there are a total of 8 national parks in Taiwan that are capable to effectively protect Taiwan’s unique landscape, wild animals and plants, as well as other natural assets and humanistic heritage sites.  They have been, and will forever be, the best venues where academic research, environmental education and leisurely getaway will be offered in a sustainable manner for people in Taiwan and around the world.

 History


Research on the archeological site of Fuguodun shows the appearance of first residency in Kinmen dates back to 5800 to 8000 years ago. During that time, major cultures are said to be food-gathering, hunting and fishing. On the other hand, excavated relics also indicate a connection of Fuguodun heritage in the southeastern coast of China with the Dapenkeng Culture of Taiwan, both belonging to ancestral cultural archetype of the South Island ethnic group. 

The Jianwu Reign of the Yuan Emperor, Eastern Jin Dynasty, turmoils occurred in the Central Plains of China owing to the devastating invasions and ravages of nomadic tribes. Refugees of a combination of six surnames consequently found their shelter in Kinmen, which was called Wuzhou at the time. A stable growth of population was further assured in Zhenyuan Reign of Tang Dynasty after Chen Yuan came to Kinmen in A.D. 803 as the Supervisor-General of Royal Equines, or mumajian, with cultivation force of twelve family names. However, it was not until the Shenzong Reign of the Northern Song Dynasty that Kinmen was first integrated into a regional administrative district, part of Tong-an County. In the following regime, the Southern Song Dynasty, culture and education received unprecedented attention and achievement that the fame of Kinmen as Hai Bin Zhou Lu, the costal academic center, was established. At its heyday, according to anecdotal accounts, the highly acclaimed scholar and philosopher Zhu Xi even founded the Yannan Academy in Kinmen, where he gave lectures on the essence of humanism and decorum. Moreover, Wuzhou Salt Field was established on the Island in the first year of the Chengzong Emperor in Yuan Dynasty, to supply salt to the inland of China.

Location & Area
From 1387 (year 20 of Hongwu Reign, the Taizu Emperor, Ming Dynasty), pirates were plundering along the southeast coast of China. As a pivotal location, Kinmen consequently obtained additional significance as a military stronghold against the marauding raiders. Fortresses and defense structures were built under the command of Marquis Zhou Desing of Jiang Xia Hou to protect the residents. Its geo-strategic advantage now affirmed its identity as “a gold-like consolidated force that guards all at the gate of Chinese South waters”. This is the origin of the name- Kinmen, means golden gate in Chinese. Its military importance continued through the Ming Dynasty into the Qing Dynasty. Zheng Chenggong chose Kinmen and Xiamen Islands as the bases of his plan in the 1640s to reclaim the throne of Qing and re-establish Ming Regime while an independent Naval force of the Qing Empire later was garrisoned in Kinmen after the failure of Zheng. 

In late Qing Dynasty, the Opium War begot a new dynamic in Kinmen Island. The defeated Qing Empire signed to open five of its seaports for international trade. The nearby Xiamen was one of them. As a result, it became a convenient transit point for the Kinmen people in search of a better life. From 1842, a large number of migrations went through Xiamen to South and Southeast Asia where opportunities were promised.  Kinmen received its autonomy as a county in 1915, but soon lost it in 1937 after the outbreak of China-Japan War. For eight years, Kinmen was occupied by Japanese military. In 1949, the outbreak of the Guningtou Battlement on October 25th determined conflict between Chinese Communists and Chinese Nationalists on both side of Taiwan Strait up until today. The mounting tension between China and Taiwan finally urged the unprecedented practice of Martial Law in Kinmen in 1956. The Committee of Kinmen Martial Law was accordingly established to rule the Island until 1992. During these 36 years of special administration, two military confrontations became significant in the history of Kinmen: the August 23rd Artillery Battle in 1958 and the two decades-long odd-numbered day Bombardment. The former brought 470,000 shells of bombs in 44 days of warfare while the later continued for 20 years or so. 

 Location & Area

Kinmen is located off the southeastern coast of Fujian Province in Xiamen Bay at the outlet to the Jiulong River. This area includes Kinmen Island,Lieyu (also known as Little Kinmen), Dadan, and Erdan, of a total of twelve islands and islets. These islands and islets cover an area of 150 square kilometers. To the west, at a distance of about 10 kilometers, is the Xiamen outport. To the east, at a distance of 277 kilometers, is Taiwan. This area is approximately at the same latitude as the Taichung area.

Kinmen National Park covers the center of Kinmen Island as well as the northwestern, southwestern and northeastern corners, the around-the-island highway on Lieyu (Little Kinmen) and surrounding areas. Kinmen National Park can be divided into the Kinmen Harbor following areas: Mt. Taiwu, Guningtou, Gukang, Mashan and Lieyu (Little Kinmen), The park is spread out over 3,780 hectares, or about 1/4 of the area of Kinmen and Little Kinmen islands. 

To fulfill the goals of conservation, research and recreation, the parks land was divided into four types, based on Article 12 of the National Park Act. These include special scenic areas, historical preservation areas, recreational areas and general restricted areas.
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