Cambridge University Press

From Far Formosa: The Island, its People and Missions (Cambridge Library Collection - Travel and Exploration in Asia)

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ISBN: 9781174754333
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: 2011-08-10
Number of pages: 396
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First published in 1896 and based on extracts from diaries, notes and reports, this work, edited by J. A. Macdonald, tells of the nearly three decades that George Mackay (1844-1901) spent on the island of Formosa (now Taiwan). In 1872 the Canadian Presbyterian priest arrived in northern Taiwan and set up a new missionary station. Within a month of his arrival he had made his first convert, a Chinese named Giam Chheng Hoa. Mackay married a local woman, with whom he had three children, and made numerous trips around the island, founded a hospital and established a college. He also gathered specimens of local fauna and flora that formed the cornerstone of a museum. Mackay offers vivid descriptions of Formosan geography, culture and animal life; his interpretation of the syncretic 'heathenism' of Formosa as a 'dark damning nightmare' is characteristic of the Western viewpoint of his time.

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