According to Martyn Rady,

The Thirty Years’ War fought in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648 engulfed almost the whole continent, with sideshows in Africa, the Caribbean, and even distant Taiwan. [...] Beside the main theatre of conflict in the Holy Roman Empire were parallel contests—in the Low Countries and Catalonia, in Hungary and Transylvania, in Brazil and West Africa, and even as far off as Taiwan.

Source: Martyn Rady, The Middle Kingdoms — A new history of Central Europe, Random House, May 2023.

How was Taiwan involved in the Thirty Years' War?


2 Answers 2


Spanish Formosa and Dutch Formosa were respectively Spanish and Dutch colonies in Taiwan. The importance of the colonies was not only in extracting value from the colonies themselves, but also in serving as bases in protecting/disrupting the trade via the nearby sea routes (e.g., the trade with Philippines), affecting the economic well-being of the colonizing powers.

The Eighty years war fought between Spain and Netherlands (which later transformed into the more general Thirty Years war) was fought as well in the colonies, eventually leading to Spain ceding its Taiwan possessions to the Dutch.

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  • Yes I saw this too but I wasn't sure if this was the only thing Rady was referring to.
    – user54367
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 9:06
  • 8
    @user24096 it seems to me like a figure of speech intended to impress the reader rather than provide an important element of information. It reminds me a catch question from school years: How many countries fought in WW1/WW2? One is tempted to start counting the well-known belligerents... but the answer is 100+ something - otherwise it wouldn't be called World War. Yet, the decisive actions still involved only a few actors.
    – Roger V.
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 9:17
  • @RogerVadim, many of the WWII declarations were basically "me too" declarations that took place after the outcome was inevitable. For example, more than a quarter of the Allied "participants" did not declare war until after the failure of the Ardennes Offensive.
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 0:59
  • 1
    @Mark - Most of the clutch of declarations of war from February 1945 onwards by previously neutral countries (ranging from Ecuador to Saudi Arabia) were essentially applications to join the United Nations.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 11:03

Taiwan, as a distinct entity, was not directly involved in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), which primarily took place in Central Europe. During that period, Taiwan was under the control of various indigenous populations, and there was no significant connection between Taiwan and the events unfolding in Europe.

It is worth noting that Taiwan's history during the 1600s was marked by the arrival of European powers seeking to establish trading outposts or colonies. In 1624, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a settlement in southern Taiwan known as Fort Zeelandia (present-day Anping District in Tainan City). This Dutch presence in Taiwan lasted until 1662 when they were expelled by Ming loyalist forces led by Zheng Chenggong, also known as Koxinga.

The expulsion of the Dutch resulted in Taiwan coming under the influence of the Kingdom of Tungning, which was founded by Zheng Chenggong and remained independent until the Qing dynasty's forces annexed the island in 1683. It is essential to recognize that the Kingdom of Tungning was not involved in the Thirty Years' War, nor were they directly influenced by the events happening in Europe at the time.

Overall, while Taiwan experienced significant historical developments during the same period as the Thirty Years' War, it was not directly connected or involved in the conflict itself.

  • Why then does M. Rady assert that Taiwan was involved?
    – MCW
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 17:06
  • Re "This Dutch presence in Taiwan lasted until 1662" The Thirty Years War ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, so this and the following sentences appear irrelevant to the question. Re "Taiwan ... was not directly connected or involved in the conflict itself" That is not the claim from the question, which states that Taiwan was a distant "sideshow".
    – njuffa
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 20:12
  • ...most of this answer (first ,third and fourth paragraphs) generated by ChatGPT
    – justCal
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 22:18

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