In Time Traveler, John Van Trieste takes you back into history. Get to know the events that have a profound impact on Taiwan, and get to know the people and places that made it all happen. So what're you waiting for? Get on the RTI time machine!
During the more than 200 years of imperial Chinese rule, few people from Taiwan rose to the prominence achieved by Wang Delu. Through a military career that spanned the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Wang helped the Qing Dynasty put down rebels and smash the pirates that plagued the empire’s coast. He received imperial favor and at the end of his life came out of retirement to defend the empire against foreign aggression. Wang was born and is buried on Taiwan’s southwest plain in the town of Taibao, Chiayi County. The town is named in Wang’s honor, “Taibao” being a high imperial title that was bestowed on him during his lifetime. Taibao is also notable for being home to the National Palace Museum’s Southern Branch, which opened there in 2015. The career of this proud local son is the subject of an ongoing exhibit at the museum, called “Wang Delu and the Tongan Ship”. Here to tell us more about Wang Delu and the museum’s look back at his life is assistant researcher Wang Chian-yu.
The Presidential Office Building in Taipei is an elegant brick building with a tall central spire that has served as the office of the presidents of Republic of China since 1950. The building's architects never imagined it would be used for this purpose, though, nor did they imagine that the flag of the Republic of China would one day fly from its spire. This week, we look at the story of the Presidential Office Building, a Taipei landmark whose meaning has changed through Taiwan's modern history.
In the WWII-era remains of a Japanese shrine sits an homage to one of Taiwan’s most historic cities. Chiayi, in Taiwan’s southwest, can trace its past over several centuries, through siege, colonization, disaster, and industrialization. Here in these historic surroundings is what’s now the Chiayi City Historical Relic Museum, where the objects that tell this city’s story are housed. Joining us today to share this story is Wang Yung-shen of the Chiayi City Cultural Affairs Bureau.
In 2012, work on a highway in northeastern Taiwan led to a discovery. There, near a worksite, were the the remains of an ancient village, inhabited over a thousand years ago. Excavations began, and archaeologists assembled a picture of sophisticated people linked into a trading network that reached beyond Taiwan’s shores. The village is called the Hanben Site in Chinese. But it is also known as Blihun, a traditional name for the surrounding area that means “doorway” in the indigenous Atayal language. This year, artifacts unearthed from the site are the focus of an exhibit called “Blihun recovered, reconstructed, reappeared”. The exhibit is housed at the Lanyang Museum, a major museum also in northeastern Taiwan that focuses on local history and ecology. Here to walk us through the site as well as through the exhibit is Chu Cheng-yi, an archaeologist who worked extensively at Blihun.