Approximately 600 to 1,000 years ago, the areas surrounding the Datun Volcano Group were settled by ancestors of the northern Plains indigenous people and mid-to-late-stage Shihsanhang culture people, around northern coastal areas like present day Jinshan, Shimen and Sanzhi, and also along river and creeks like the areas Tamsui River, the present day Tamsui, Beitou and Shihlin. Early indigenous people used the valleys and mountain peaks as grounds for hunting and life sustainment. Aside from hunting and gathering, these people also mined sulfur as the main goods to trade with foreigners. According to records of early Spanish priests, the sulfur harvested by indigenous people of Ki-pataw (Beitou Community) and Quimoury (Jinbaoli Community) are important commodities in the trading markets of northern Taiwan. During the occupation of northern Taiwan by the Dutch and Spanish people, they would often trade sulfur and other minerals with the indigenous people, either directly or indirectly through the Chinese merchant mediators.
Historical industrial and human activities
The Han Chinese people gradually settled into the Yangmingshan areas from 1736-1795. The Chinese settlers began to develop hand-crafted industries to sustain daily life, such as the indigo dye industry, charcoal production and stone masonry, and agricultural activities such as rice and livestock farming. In the mid-19th century, the development of chemical dyes brought the end of the indigo dye industry. At the same time, the British Merchant John Dodd contributed significantly to the development of the tea industry in the Taipei area, and thus began a trend of tea planting in the Yangmingshan area. During the Japanese Occupation Era, the Governor of Taiwan actively promoted the modernization of the tea industry, and invested significant amounts to set up tea plantations and factories, which brought a great boom to the tea industries of Yangmingshan, and also resulted in numerous establishments of tea companies.
In addition to tea production, the Japanese also conducted Japanese rice domestication experiments at the Zhuzihu area, and established approximately 388 square meters of foundation seed nursery fields and related offices. The rice grains that were successfully grown in the fields were named as “Horai” (Ponlai) by Takio Izawa, the Governor-general of Taiwan. The rice species were promoted around Taiwan, and it was only until the early 1970’s that the Ponlai rice industry in Zhuzihu began to decline and stop altogether.
The Japanese were also actively engaged in the development and utilization of the Park’s natural scenery and hot spring, such as the planning and the construction of mountain roadways and hiking trails to promote hiking activities. The constructed of public baths, encouraged capitalists to construct villas, hot spring inns and clubs to promote the hot spring recreation industry. In 1934, the Taihoku Prefecture Government proposed the idea to establish a Mt. Datun National Park to conserve mountain and forest and promote hiking activities to build a strong and fit population. However, this plan was shelved prematurely due to the outbreak of the World War II.
Prehistoric relic of perforated stone arrow head
Orange-colored cord-pattern pottery shards excavated from the Zhuzihu area
Post-World-War II to 1970s
After the relocation of the Nationalist Government to Taiwan in 1949, the area largely retained the roadways, parks and hot spring villas that were established during the Japanese Occupation. The area also became the late President Chiang Kai-shek’s temporary residence. Before long, many of the intelligence agencies, military, and political affairs have set up offices in Yangmingshan, and thus the Tsaoshan Administrative Bureau was established to manage the local autonomous affairs of Tsaoshan Shilin and Beitou areas. The Bureau was later renamed to Yangmingshan Administrative Bureau as a special administrative district. Various Chinese palace-styled buildings and parks were constructed. The area also saw the establishment of the Zhongxing Guesthouse (Yangmingshuwu), the Guangfu Building, the Institute of Revolutionary Practice, the Hua Hsing Children’s Home, the Huaxsing High School, the Chinese Culture University, the Yangmingshan American Military Housing, and military installations like bunkers and guard posts. It was until 1968 that this area was returned to the jurisdiction of Taipei City Government.
Stone housings of the Miantian site