Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 703

"North Formosa", U.S. Government

Subject: Taiwan

Period: 1886 (circa)


Color: Black & White

22.3 x 16.2 inches
56.6 x 41.1 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

Taken from a report by Minister Denby, this very detailed map illustrates conditions existing on the northern half of the island. This remarkable map is filled with notes, boundaries and other interesting details including "up to this line is claimed by the Aborigines," "Very superior Tea grows on these Hills," "Small Junks and Boats may anchor here," and much more. It locates the Consulate, scores of villages, topography, roads, lighthouses, etc.

In his report (not included), Denby noted the island was nominally a possession of China, but China had been only able to establish its rule along the coast. He continued that the interior was still inhabited by independent aborigines (headhunters) whose yearly kills exceeded 1,000. He also stated that "the steady growth of the foreign trade of Formosa and the great military importance of the island, forming, as it does, to use the words of a recent memorial to the throne, 'a portal to the Southern China Sea and a bulwark for seven provinces,' authorize me to call your attention to the present condition of the island and its importance in our trade with China." It is remarkable how contemporary these words sound today, more than a century later.


Condition: A

Issued folding on a clean, bright sheet with a binding trim at lower left. A short fold separation confined to the bottom blank margin has been closed on verso with archival tape.

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $100

Closed on 9/11/2019