This digital library gathers together a large body of primarily European and American images of the island of Taiwan -- called "Formosa" by foreign visitors in the 19th Century -- and its various peoples. These textual representations, woodcuts, maps, and linguistic data were originally published in European and North American books and journals during the 19th Century, but are not easily accessible to those interested in the history of Taiwan today.
Users are encouraged to examine the engravings, woodcuts, etchings and sketches of landscapes, people, architecture, boats and implements by selecting increasing magnifications of those Images included in the library. Portfolios showcase the imaginaries of six image makers, while the five categories give access to the entire corpus of visual representations.
Full texts of travelogues, reports, ethnographies and general surveys can be accessed from the Texts component of the library or selectively analyzed with the Search engine. Biographies of several foreign visitors are linked to author names in bibliographic entries on the Texts index page. Summaries of French- and German-language texts and an extensive bibliography of additional publications are included in the same listing.
Geographers will find the island-wide and locality Maps useful for exploring topographical, ethnological, geological or geographical questions. For assistance locating obscure place names (in Chinese, Japanese, or European languages), the user is directed to the detailed Place-name maps or the Island maps on the Maps component of the library.
The Timeline database enables users to chart an explorer's itinerary, to pinpoint foreign access to specific Formosan communities, or to compare historical events occurring in the same place or year.
A small sampling of primary Linguistic Data on the various aboriginal languages, collected by 19th-century explorers, may interest the student of Austronesian. The specialist may wish to download the more detailed Formosan aborigine languages database, built from similar 19th-century vocabulary lists.
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