*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Two massive armies and navies gathered to decide the fate of Penghu on July 16, 1683 – a battle with implications in the present day, as the Qing Dynasty arrived in the Taiwan Strait to lay waste to its last challenger in the region, the Tungning. Led by Admiral Shi Lang, nearly 100,000 men and over 600 warships helped to capture Taiwan for Emperor Kangxi.
Leading up to the attack, the Emperor had decided to cease all communication with the small nation just over a hundred miles off the Chinese coast. Fed up with diplomacy, the Emperor mounted an army which few up to that point had been able to match for size – man for man, they outnumbered the Taiwanese force by more than five to one with more than three times as many ships. Shi Lang ordered the military into the Strait, hoping to use Mother Nature to his advantage and capture Penghu before a typhoon made landfall. Liu Guoxuan, leading the Tungning defenders, managed to repel the attack and wait out the storm.
Emboldened by the large numbers at his disposal, Shi Lang regrouped to make a second attempt after the wind and heavy rains blew through. Equipping his ships with cannon purchased from the Dutch, Shi Lang divided his navy into a handful of smaller, more nimble flotillas. Knowing his force was superior in every way, he opted to send a portion of his soldiers around to the far side of the island in the hopes of taking Liu Guoxuan’s base – a tactic the Tungning general had anticipated. …(Read more)