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Penghu Islands


Penghu County
Penghu County Montage.png
Top:A night view of Xiying Rainbow Bridge, Second:Budai Port Terminal, Makong Zhongyang Heritage Street Third:Penghu Tianhou Temple, Qimei Double-Heart of Stacked Stones,Bottom:Baisha White Sand Beach (all items from left to right)
Flag of Penghu County.svg
Seal of Penghu County.svg
Taiwan ROC political division map Penghu County.svg
Coordinates: 23°35′N119°35′E / 23.583°N 119.583°E / 23.583; 119.583 Coordinates: 23°35′N119°35′E / 23.583°N 119.583°E / 23.583; 119.583
Country Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China (Taiwan)
Province Taiwan Province (streamlined)
Seat Magong City
Largest cityMagong
BoroughsOne city, five rural townships
  County Magistrate Lai Feng-wei (KMT)
  Total141.052 km2 (54.460 sq mi)
Area rank 22 of 22
 (December 2014)
  Rank 21 of 22
  Density720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+8 (National Standard Time)
ISO 3166 code TW-PEN
BirdSmall Skylark (Alauda gulgula)
Flower Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella)
Tree Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa)
Penghu Islands
Traditional Chinese 澎湖群島
Postal Pescadores Islands
Penghu Island
Traditional Chinese 澎湖島
Penghu County
Traditional Chinese 澎湖
Northern islands of Penghu (the Pescadores) Penghu 201506.jpg
Northern islands of Penghu (the Pescadores)

The Penghu (Hokkien POJ: Phîⁿ-ô͘  or Phêⁿ-ô͘ ) or Pescadores Islands are an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait. The largest city is Magong, located on the largest island, which is also named Magong. Covering an area of 141 square kilometers (54 sq mi), the archipelago collectively forms Penghu County of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is the second smallest county after Lienchiang County (the Matsu Islands).



The traditional name of the islands, the Pescadores, comes from the Portuguese name Ilhas dos Pescadores ("Fishermen Islands"). The European Portuguese pronunciation is [pɨʃkɐˈðoɾɨʃ] but, in English, it is typically closer to /ˌpɛskəˈdɔːrɪz,-z/ . The islands have also been called Pehoe from the Minnan name Phêⁿ-ô·. [1] Using romanization based on the Mandarin pronunciation for the Chinese name, the islands have also been referred to as "Penghu Liehtao".



Penghu 1, a fossil jaw (mandible) dating to the late Pleistocene that belonged to a member of an extinct hominin species, was discovered in the Pescadores Channel around 2008.

Finds of fine red cord-marked pottery indicate that Penghu was visited by Austronesians from southwestern Taiwan around 5,000 years ago, though not settled permanently. [2]

Han Chinese from southern Fujian began to establish fishing communities on the islands in the 9th and 10th centuries, [2] and representatives were intermittently stationed there by the Southern Song and Yuan governments from around 1170. [3]

Wang Dayuan gave a detailed first-hand account of the islands in his Daoyi Zhilüe (1349). [4]

Ming dynasty

In the 15th century, the Ming ordered the evacuation of the islands as part of their maritime ban. When these restrictions were removed in the late 16th century, legal fishing communities were re-established on the islands. These fishermen worshipped at the Mazu Temple that gave Magong its name and themselves gave rise to the Portuguese and English name Pescadores. [3] The Ming established a permanent military presence starting in 1597. [5]

At this time, the Dutch East India Company was trying to force China to open a port in Fujian to Dutch trade and expel the Portuguese from Macau. [6] [7] [8] When the Dutch were defeated by the Portuguese at the Battle of Macau in 1622, they seized Penghu, built a fort there, and threatened raids on Chinese ports and shipping unless the Chinese allowed trading with them on Penghu and that China not trade with Manila. [9] In response, the Chinese governor of Fujian demanded that the Dutch withdraw from Penghu to Taiwan, where the Chinese would permit them to engage in trade. [10] [11] The Dutch continued to raid the Fujian coast between October 1622 and January 1624 to force their demands, but were unsuccessful. [12] In 1624, the new governor of Fujian sent a fleet of 40–50 warships with 5,000 troops to Penghu and expelled the Dutch, who moved to Fort Zeelandia on Taiwan. [13] [14]

Qing dynasty

For a period in the mid-17th century, Taiwan and the archipelago were ruled by the Koxinga kingdom (Kingdom of Tungning), which was overthrown by the Qing dynasty in 1683 after the Battle of Penghu.

The Penghu archipelago was captured by the French in March 1885, in the closing weeks of the Sino-French War, and evacuated four months later. The Pescadores Campaign was the last campaign of Admiral Amédée Courbet, whose naval victories during the war had made him a national hero in France. Courbet was among several French soldiers and sailors who succumbed to cholera during the French occupation of Penghu. He died aboard his flagship Bayard in Makung harbour on 11 June 1885. [15]

Empire of Japan

Hoko Prefecture Government building Hoko Prefectural Office.JPG
Hōko Prefecture Government building

Towards the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, having defeated the Qing in northern China, Japan sought to ensure that it obtained Penghu and Taiwan in the final settlement. In March 1895, the Japanese defeated the Chinese garrison on the islands and occupied Makung. The Japanese occupation of Penghu, with its fine harbor, gave the Imperial Japanese Navy an advanced base from which their short-range coal-burning ships could control the Taiwan Straits and thus prevent more Chinese troops from being sent to Taiwan. This action persuaded the Chinese negotiators at Shimonoseki that Japan was determined to annex Taiwan, and, after Penghu, Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula had been ceded to Japan in the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Shimonoseki in April, helped to ensure the success of the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in May. [16]

Penghu County was then called the Hōko Prefecture by the Japanese government of Taiwan. During World War II, Makō (Makung) was a major base for the Imperial Japanese Navy and the embarkation point for the invasion of the Philippines.

Republic of China

The Pescadores (1950) Txu-oclc-6557994-index-451.jpg
The Pescadores (1950)

In the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the United States, the United Kingdom and China stated it to be their purpose that "all the territories that Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Formosa and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China". On 26 July 1945, the three governments issued the Potsdam Declaration, declaring that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out". However, the United States and the United Kingdom have regarded the aforementioned documents as merely wartime statements of intention with no binding force in law. [17] [18]

Following the surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur issued General Order No. 1, which directed Japanese forces to surrender to the Allied Powers and facilitate the occupation of Japanese territories by the Allied Powers. In the Treaty of San Francisco, signed in 1951 and coming into effect in 1952, Japan renounced sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu, but left their final disposition unsettled. The archipelago has been administered by the Republic of China since 1945.

Boat people fleeing Vietnam in the 1970s and 1980s and rescued by Taiwan's ships in the South China Sea were sent to the Penghu. [19]

On 25 May 2002, China Airlines Flight 611, a Boeing 747-200 aircraft flying from Taipei to Hong Kong, disintegrated and exploded over the Islands. The wreckage slammed into the Taiwan Strait, a couple of miles off the coast. All 225 passengers and crew on board were killed. [20]


Penghu County has a dry-winter humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cwa), bordering on a regular humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa).

Climate data for Penghu (normals 19812010, extremes 1897present)
Record high °C (°F)28.6
Average high °C (°F)19.3
Daily mean °C (°F)16.9
Average low °C (°F)15.4
Record low °C (°F)7.7
Average rainfall mm (inches)17.5
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)79.782.282.182.783.685.984.885.080.976.877.377.481.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 111.594.7125.2148.8179.3200.4264.8240.4213.8189.9139.1123.32,031.2
Source: Central Weather Bureau [21]


Columnar basalt at South Penghu Marine National Park South Penghu Marine National Park (10).jpg
Columnar basalt at South Penghu Marine National Park

Penghu is the remnant of a Miocene aged shield volcano, the stratigraphy of the island is dominated by two to four layers of basalt interbedded with sandstone and mudstone deposited in shallow marine conditions. [22]


Lai Feng-wei, the incumbent Magistrate of Penghu County. Lai Kao Xuan Bu Bu Chang Feng Wei  (Di Shi Wu Ren ).jpg
Lai Feng-wei, the incumbent Magistrate of Penghu County.
Penghu County Hall Penghu County Hall 20150618.jpg
Penghu County Hall

Penghu County is administered by Penghu County Government headed by Magistrate Lai Feng-wei of the Kuomintang and headquartered at the Penghu County Hall.

Administrative divisions

Subdivisions of Penghu County Penghu administration.svg
Subdivisions of Penghu County

Penghu County is divided into one city and five rural townships. It is further divided into 97 villages. [23] Like Lienchiang County, Penghu County has no urban townships. The county seat is located at Magong City where it houses the Penghu County Hall and Penghu County Council.

TypeNameChinese Taiwanese Hakka English translation
City Magong City 馬公 Má-kengMâ-kûngOriginally Mazu Temple (媽宮)
Baisha 白沙 Pe̍h-soaPha̍k-sâWhite Sand
Cimei (Qimei) 七美 Chhit-bíTshit-mîSeven Beauties (大嶼)
Huxi 湖西 Ô͘-saiFù-sîLake West / West of Penghu
Wangan (Wang-an, Wang'an) 望安 Bāng-oaⁿMong-ônHope Safe (網垵)
Xiyu 西嶼 Sai-sūSî-yíWestern Isle

The main islands of Magong City/Huxi Township, Baisha Township, and Xiyu Township are the three most populous islands and are connected via bridges. Two shorter bridges connect Huxi and Baisha. The Penghu Great Bridge connecting Baisha and Xiyu is the longest bridge in Taiwan.


The county elects a single representative to the Legislative Yuan. In the 2016 Republic of China legislative election, this seat was won by the Democratic Progressive Party with 55.4% of the vote. [24]

Political dispute

Despite the controversy over the political status of Taiwan, both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China agree that Penghu is a county in (their own respective) "Taiwan Province" (Taiwan Province, Republic of China and Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China). However, geographically, the island of Taiwan does not include Penghu, although it is closer to Taiwan than mainland China. Thus, Penghu is listed separately from "Taiwan" in some contexts, e.g. the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu (the official WTO name for the Republic of China) in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Cairo Declaration, and the Treaty of San Francisco (see above).[ citation needed ]


Due to its restricted geography, fisheries have been the main industry for Penghu. [25] The Agriculture and Fisheries Bureau of the Penghu County Government governs matters related to agriculture and fisheries in Penghu. In 2016, the bureau placed a ban on the harvesting of sea urchins due to their declining population. However, the ban was lifted in 2017 but catches are limited only to those species larger than 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter. [26]


Historical population
1985 102,282    
1990 95,932−6.2%
1995 90,937−5.2%
2000 89,496−1.6%
2005 91,785+2.6%
2010 96,918+5.6%
2015 102,304+5.6%
Source: "Populations by city and country in Taiwan". Ministry of the Interior Population Census. May 2018.


National Penghu University of Science and Technology NPU - Education Building.JPG
National Penghu University of Science and Technology

Education-related matters in Penghu County are administered under the Education Department of the Penghu County Government. The county houses the National Penghu University of Science and Technology.


Chienshan Power Plant Jian Shan Fa Dian Chang .png
Chienshan Power Plant

Penghu is powered by the Chienshan Power Plant, a 140 MW diesel-fired power plant commissioned in 2001, and the Hujing Power Plant on Table Island. On 24 December 2010, the Taiwan-Penghu Undersea Cable Project of Taipower was approved by the Executive Yuan to connect the electrical grid in Taiwan Island to Penghu. [27]

Under a wind power development project approved in 2002 by the Executive Yuan, the ROC government plans to set up a total of 200 wind turbines in Penghu within 10 years. However, only 14 turbines have been set up as of 2015. On 1 October 2015, Taipower announced the construction of another 11 new wind turbines across the island, of which six will be constructed in Huxi Township and five in Baisha Township. [28]

The current total desalination capacity of the county to provide clean water to its residents is 15,500 m3 per day. To reduce its groundwater use, in November 2015 the county secured a contract of building an additional desalination plant with 4,000 m3 capacity per day, construction of which is expected to be completed by May 2018. [29]


The Penghu National Scenic Area was established in the early 1990s, comprising most of the islands and islets of the archipelago. Tourism has since become one of the main sources of income of the county.

Historical sites include Central Street, Tianhou Temple, Four-eyed Well, Penghu Reclamation Hall, Qimei Lighthouse, Xiyu Eastern Fort, Jinguitou Fortress and Xiyu Western Fort. Museums in the county are Chuwan Crab Museum, Ocean Resources Museum, Chang Yu-sheng Memorial Museum and Penghu Living Museum. Other attractions in the county include the Double-Heart of Stacked Stones, Fenggui Cave, Little Taiwan, Whale Cave, Xiaomen Geology Gallery and South Penghu Marine National Park. [30]

Since 1 January 2015, tourists from Mainland China can directly apply for the Exit & Entry Permit upon arrival in Penghu. This privilege also applies to Kinmen and the Matsu Islands as a means to boost tourism in the outlying islands of Taiwan. [31]

The county welcomed 1.8 million tourists in 2018 with an average annual growth of around 10%. [32]

Drug trafficking

As a lightly populated outlying island, Penghu lends itself to being used as a trans-shipment hub for drug smuggling into Taiwan from China and the Philippines. Beginning in 2016, the area became the focus of a major drug trafficking crackdown by the Taiwanese police. [33] [34] [35]

In 2016, Chou Meng-hsiang (周盟翔), chief prosecutor of the Penghu District Prosecutors Office, "led an investigation team in Taiwan, including officers from the Coast Guard Administration, in a bid to bring (a) drug trafficking ring to justice." A joint investigation with Philippine and Chinese authorities spanning one and a half years resulted in the seizure of "22.6 kilograms of amphetamine, 11.4 kilograms of ephedrine, and about 40 kilograms of calcium chloride" with an estimated value of NT$123 million. Eight suspects were arrested in Cagayan, a small island in northern Philippines, but no Taiwanese nationals were charged in relation to the importation scheme. [36]

In 2017, media reported "the biggest-ever haul of drugs in the county’s history" when 506 kg of ephedrine was seized from a Chinese fishing boat off Penghu "as part of an ongoing crackdown on the area drug trade". [33] Ephedrine smuggling has increased in recent years as it has a similar structure to amphetamines and can be easily converted into methamphetamine. According to a Focus Taiwan report, "(It) can then be sold for ten times the price, in this case that would be more than NT$1 billion (US$33.33 million)." [34]

Despite the size of the drug seizure, only the five crew members of the Chinese fishing boat were detained in the operation, with authorities "unable to find the Taiwanese ship which should have turned up to take delivery of the drugs". It was unclear from media reports how the Taiwanese side of the smuggling operation knew to abort the rendezvous. The suppliers of the shipment also evaded capture. It was believed the drugs were destined to be transported from Penghu for distribution on Taiwan. [37]


Qimei Airport Chi-me airport.jpg
Qimei Airport

Penghu is served by Penghu Airport in Magong City and Qimei Airport in Cimei Township. Both airports opened in 1977. Daily Air operates flights between Penghu to Kaohsiung.

Magong Harbor hosts ferry connections with Kaohsiung, Tainan, Chiayi and Kinmen.

See also

Related Research Articles

Kinmen County in Republic of China

Kinmen, alternatively known as Quemoy, is a county governed by the Republic of China based on Taiwan, with its location sitting alongside southeastern coast of mainland China. It lies roughly 10 km (6.2 mi) east off the Fujian city of Xiamen, separated by Xiamen Bay. In contrast, Kinmen is located 187 km (116 mi) west from the shoreline of the island of Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is divided into multi-layered statutory subdivisions. Due to the complex political status of Taiwan, there is a significant difference in the de jure system set out in the original constitution and the de facto system in use today.

Magong County-administered city in Taiwan Province, Republic of China

Magong is a county-administered city and seat of Penghu County, Taiwan. Magong City is located on Penghu's main island.

Taiwan most often refers to:

Cimei, Penghu Rural township in Republic of China

Cimei Township is a rural township in Penghu County, Taiwan. The island is the fifth largest in the Pescadores (Penghu) and the southernmost island in the group. It is the smallest township in Penghu County.

Huxi, Penghu Rural township

Huxi Township (Chinese: 湖西鄉; pinyin: Húxī Xiāng; Wade–Giles: Hu2-hsi1 Hsiang1; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ô͘-sai-hiong; Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Fù-sî-hiông) is a rural township in Penghu County (the Pescadores), Taiwan. It is located on the eastern part of the Penghu Main Island and is the largest township in Penghu County.

Baisha, Penghu Rural township in Republic of China

Baisha Township is a rural township in Penghu County, Taiwan. It is located to the north of Penghu Main Island and linked to Siyu Island by the Penghu Trans-Oceanic Bridge, which at 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long is the longest of its kind in east Asia. The township has a population of 9,809.

Baisha may refer to:

The Penghu National Scenic Area is one of the National Scenic Areas of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and covers most, but not all of the islands and islets that form Penghu County. These islands have a total of 320 kilometers of shoreline. A National Scenic Area is not a National Park. National Scenic Areas fall within the control of the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of China, while national parks fall within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of China. The philosophies that govern the development of the two types of areas differ. For a national park the emphasis is on the preservation of natural and cultural resources, and development for human utilization is definitely a secondary priority. For a national scenic area, the priorities are more balanced between preservation and tourism utilization. This has led to conflicts between preservationists and those more favorable to the development of the area. The National Park Law of the Republic of China only applies to the latter areas. Studies about the project were first debated since the beginning of 1990 and, after a year of evaluations carried out by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of China, it was officially created in February 1991, when the Penghu office was finally established. The aim of the project was to "efficiently utilize the local resources and help Penghu's economic growth", while building vacation spots on the coast of Taiwan's only island county to attract both Taiwanese nationals and foreigners, making of Penghu an "International tourism vacation center". It is a well known scenic area for its sandy beaches. The tourist season in Penghu starts in April and peaks from June through August. The Scenic Area attracts thousands of weekenders with its brisk sea breezes and scenery. But when the autumn gales begin to blow in October, the archipelago becomes deserted until April, when warmer weather seems to thaw the local tourism industry. In addition to its rich oceanic resources, Penghu offers fantastic sights of basalt column formations. The scenic area lures more than 200 species of migratory birds, making it an important spot for Asia's birdwatchers. It was not always like this: for much of the second half of the past century, the Government of the Republic of China saw the islands in mainly political and military terms, as a naval base: "Penghu was regarded as a military base until the early 1990s. As a result, the central government never wanted to develop the islands, which resulted in Penghu's shortages of water and electricity and, of course, a lot of five-star hotels".

Pescadores campaign (1895)

The Pescadores campaign was the last military operation of the First Sino-Japanese War and an essential preliminary to the Japanese conquest of Taiwan.

Wangan, Penghu Rural township in Republic of China

Wangan Township / Wang-an Township is a rural township in Penghu County, Taiwan. It is the second smallest township in Penghu County after Cimei Township. The township is made up of nineteen islands, six of which are inhabited.

Xiyu, Penghu Rural township in Republic of China

Xiyu Township is a rural township encompassing Xiyu/Si Island/Hsi Island, also known as Fisher Island, Yuweng or Pescadores Island, which is among the three major islands of the Penghu County, Taiwan. It has a population of 8,438 and an area of 18.7148 square kilometres.

Sino-Dutch conflicts

The Sino-Dutch conflicts were a series of conflicts between the Ming dynasty of China and the Dutch East India Company over trade and land throughout the 1620s, 1630s, and 1662. The Dutch were attempting to compel China to accede to their trade demands, but the Chinese defeated the Dutch forces.

Chienshan Power Plant Power plant in Huxi, Penghu, Taiwan

The Chienshan Power Plant is a fuel-fired power plant in Huxi Township, Penghu County, Taiwan. With the total capacity of 140 MW, the power plant is the largest diesel fuel-fired power plant in Taiwan. Chienshan Power Plant is the only major power plant in Penghu Island.

Central Street (Taiwan) Street in Magong, Penghu, Taiwan

Central Street is a street in Magong City, Penghu County, Taiwan.

Penghu County Government Government of Penghu County, Taiwan

The Penghu County Government is the local government of Penghu County, Taiwan. Penghu County Hall is located in Magong City.

Yu Zigao was a Chinese admiral. He was responsible for forcing the Dutch to leave Penghu Island. While he enriched himself by way of an association with one notorious pirate, Li Dan, his position came under pressure because of another pirate, Li Dan's protégé, Zheng Zhilong.

Cross-Strait conflict

The Cross-Strait conflict refers to the ongoing political, economic and armed conflict between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. The conflict followed the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which ended with the retreat of the Kuomintang to Taiwan. Since then there has been a frozen conflict between the Communist-held Mainland China and the ROC government based in Taiwan, with intermittent periods of military confrontations.



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Works cited

Further reading

  1. Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (November 2020). "Taiwan combined" (PDF). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 29 May 2021.