Penghu County
Abbreviation(s): Penghu (澎湖)
Coat of arms of Penghu County
Coat of arms
Country Taiwan
Region Taiwan Strait
Seat Magong City
Largest city Makung
Boroughs 1 cities, 5 (5 rural) townships
 • County Magistrate Wang Chien-fa
 • Total 141.052 km2 (54.460 sq mi)
Area rank 22 of 22
Population (January 2009)
 • Total 93,446
 • Rank 23 of 22
 • Density 660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Website (English)

The Penghu Islands, also known as Pescadores (from Portuguese "fishermen", pronounced: [pɨʃkɐˈðoɾɨʃ]) are an archipelago off the western coast of Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait consisting of 64 small islands and islets. The whole archipelago forms the Penghu County (Chinese: 澎湖縣; pinyin: Pénghú Xiàn) of Taiwan. Covering an area of 141 square kilometers, Penghu County is the second smallest county in Taiwan after Lienchiang County.


Finds of fine red cord-marked pottery indicate that Penghu was visited by people from southwestern Taiwan around 5,000 years ago, though not settled permanently.[1] Han Chinese from southern Fujian began to establish fishing communities on the islands in the 9th and 10th centuries,[1] and representatives were intermittently stationed there by the Southern Song and Yuan governments from around 1170. The islands are described in some detail in Wang Dayuan's Dao Yi Zhi Lue (1349). 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, fishing communities were re-established on the islands, so that passing Portuguese mariners named the islands the "Pescador" (fisherman) islands. The Ming established a military presence in 1603, repelling a Dutch attempt to establish a base on the islands in 1622. From the middle of the 17th century to 1895, Taiwan and the archipelago were ruled by the Koxinga kingdom (Tungning) and then the Qing Dynasty.

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.

Defeated in northern China by the Japanese in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing government ceded the islands to Japan along with Taiwan in the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Shimonoseki of April 1895. The Japanese suspected that they might meet resistance when they attempted to occupy Taiwan, and their invasion of Taiwan, hastily launched in late May 1895 in response to the proclamation of the Republic of Formosa, was preceded by an attack on Qing forces on Penghu in March 1895, in which the Japanese defeated the Chinese garrison of the islands and occupied Makung. The Japanese occupation of Penghu prevented more Chinese troops from being sent to Taiwan, persuaded the Chinese negotiators at Shimonoseki that Japan was determined to annex Taiwan, and helped to ensure the success of the subsequent Japanese invasion of Taiwan.

In the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mako (Makung) was a major base for the Imperial Japanese Navy and embarkation point for the invasion of the Philippines.

In the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the United States, 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." 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 that time.

In the early 1990s, the Penghu National Scenic Area that comprises most but not all of the islands and islets of the archipelago was created. Tourism has since become one of the main sources of income of the county.

On 25 May 2002, China Airlines Flight 611, a Boeing 747-200 aircraft flying from Taipei, Taiwan 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.[2]

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).

Sub-county divisions

Penghu County is divided into 1 city, 5 rural townships. It is further divided into 97 villages. Together with Lienchiang County, Penghu County has no urban township.

Name (Hanyu Pinyin) Hanzi Wade-Giles Tongyong Pinyin Taiwanese (POJ) Hakka Pha̍k-fa-sṳ English translation
Magong City 馬公市 Ma-kung Magong Má-keng Mâ-kûng originally Matsu Palace
Rural township
Huxi Township 湖西鄉 Hu-hsi Husi Ô͘-sai Fù-sî Lake West / West of Penghu
Baisha Township 白沙鄉 Pai-sha Baisha Pe̍h-soa Pha̍k-sâ White Sand
Xiyu Township 西嶼鄉 Hsi-yü Siyu Sai-sū Sî-yí Western Isle
Qimei Township 七美鄉 Ch'i-mei Cimei Chhit-bí Tshit-mî Seven Beauties
Wang-an Township 望安鄉 Wang-an Wang-an Bāng-oaⁿ Mong-ôn Hope Safe

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 bridge connecting Baisha and Xiyu is the longest bridge in the Republic of China and is called the Penghu Trans-Oceanic Bridge (澎湖跨海大橋 Peng Hu Kua Hai Da Qiao).

See also


Works cited

External links

  • Penghu County Government (English)
  • Penghu Tour Official Website
  • Traditional Chinese)
  • Living Museum (Copyright © 2012 Culture Taiwan)