The Port of Taichung lies on the western shores of the island of Taiwan about 120 kilometers west-northwest of Hualien Port and about 130 kilometers southwest of the Port of Taipei, the nation's capital. Facing the Taiwan Strait and China's mainland, the Port of Taichung is the third biggest city in Taiwan, with a population of more than one million people.
While the base of the Port of Taichung economy is small business, it has a diverse economy where traditional businesses and family-run shops are mixed with big industrial areas, factories, and a busy commercial sector. The city's industrial zone, Taichung's World Trade Center building, and many manufacturing plants are located near the Port of Taichung. A new science-based industrial park is being built in the northeast district of the Port of Taichung.
The indigenous peoples of Taiwan grew millet and taro in the plains of the Port of Taichung and were hunter-gatherers. Today, several areas in the town bear the old indigenous names.
In 1682, China took western Taiwan from the Cheng family. The Port of Taichung was founded in 1705 when the Chinese Manchu Qing Dynasty was strengthening its control of western Taiwan. The Chinese then erected a garrison in 1721 at the site of today's Taichung Park.
The native peoples did not go quietly. After having been forced to provide labor for the Chinese, the natives revolted in 1731 and were forced into the mountains by Qing armies. In 1786, another rebellion started in a town just south of the Port of Taichung in which the rebels sought to overthrow the Qing and restore the earlier Ming Dynasty. The rebellion lost focus, though, and a local coalition of Chinese and aboriginal volunteers joined the government to defeat the rebels. In 1885, Taiwan became a province of China's Qing Dynasty.
When China lost the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan was ceded to the Japanese who changed the city's name from Dadun to Taichu. The Japanese began to develop the city; however, they were brutal in their repression of the local people. In 1902, after promising amnesty to rebels who surrendered, the Japanese murdered some 360 rebels and their families.
The Port of Taichung's first market was built in 1908, and it is still a popular downtown spot to buy food and other items. Two wealthy intellectuals, Lin Hsien-tang and brother Lin Lie-tang, established the Port of Taichung's first high school in 1913 to build support for a Taiwanese localization movement and the culture of Taiwan. Taichu Train Station opened in 1917, and it still operates.
Japanese Imperial authorities declared Taichu a city in 1920. When a Taiwanese cultural association was moved from Taipei to Taichu in 1927 by Lin Hsien-tang, the Port of Taichung became a cultural and nationalism center for all of Taiwan. The Japanese began construction of the Port of Taichung harbor in 1938, but the project was postponed with the start of the war. Despite its prosperity, World War II brought an end to the city's growth and development.
The Japanese surrendered Taiwan to forces of the Republic of China in late 1945. Immediately after the war, Taiwan faced turmoil as three factions struggled for control of the island. The Port of Taichung became a center for organized crime.
When the Chinese Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese Civil War, they moved the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan with Taipei as its capital. The government declared the Port of Taichung a special municipality in 1949.
When the government promoted economic expansion and international trade in the early 1960s, imports and exports soon clogged the existing ports at Keelung and Kaohsiung. In 1968, the government developed a plan to make the Port of Taichung a new international port, and construction began in 1973. The first vessel launched from the new Port of Taichung in 1976.
Today, the Port of Taichung is a busy commercial and industrial center with a booming retail sector. New upscale department stores and malls and luxury condo complexes spring up regularly. The city also has a large and growing tourism industry.