Address/The mountain opposite the Grave of National Heroes at Ta-sha-wan, Chung-cheng Road, Keelung City.

Construction Date/1840

In 1840, at the start of the First Opium War, the British were planning an attack upon Taiwan, and the magistrate in charge, Yao Ying, ordered the construction of this emplacement to strengthen the island's defenses. The location, selected on the basis of strategic geographical advantages, commands an excellent view of the harbor. A total of eight cannons were installed on the site. Above the front gate is a tablet inscribed with four characters literally meaning 'This gate to the sea has been provided by Heaven for our defense.' In August of 1841, the British army made its first strike against the island; local armies under the command of the Manchu general Ta-hung-ah put up a stiff resistance, sinking some of the British battleships and taking many prisoners. After several defeats at athe hands of the Chinese, the British finally gave up in 1843. Subsequently, however, in 1884, the Sino-French War broke out, and in the course of these hostilities the Erh-sha-wan Gun Emplacement was destroyed. Only the wall and front gate survived. In 1979, a restoration of the site was carried out under the auspices of the Keelung City Government; as this emplacement was designed and built entirely by Chinese people, it has been specially cherished and is regarded as having a unique historical value.

Early gun emplacements in Ch'ing Taiwan were without exception purely Chinese in style and construction design; Western influences did not appear on the scene until the 1860's, the period known in Chinese history as the T'ung-chih Restoration. Examples of military structures of European design in Taiwan include the His T'ai Fort in Penghu and the Erh-k'un-shen fort in Tainan. The Erh-sha-wan emplacement, by contrast, was Chinese, and key differences between them are apparent in style and in execution of the layout.

Ruins of the main barracks within the fort.

A broad view of the site shows the strategic value of its location overlooking the bustling Keelung harbor.

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