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Kaohsiung Hakka Development History
Kaohsiung Hakka Development History


Record of Ciou Family Tree, Liouduei, Pingtung

The Origin of Hakka

Hakka people have a habit of editing and correcting the pedigree of a clan. Tracing Hakka’s family names in the pedigree of a clan, one can find that Hakka people originate from the Han ethnic group. They were inhabitants of northern China. The area of their activities was around today’s Shansi, Henan and Hubei. Linguists tried to verify a point, saying Hakka dialect is the closest to ancient rhymes of the Central Plains. Hakka’s system about the society centered around clannish rules and the practices, culture, customs, clothes, religious worship, geomancy and superstitions are similar to those of the old Central Plains.

Because northern China had had destabilizing upheavals, Hakka people had five times experienced moving from one place to another. According to research by the historian, Siang-lin Luo, there are five periods when Hakka people moved from the Central Plains of the Yellow River’s drainage area into southern China. The details are as follows.

* Record of Ciou Family Tree, Liouduei, Pingtung

The first moving happened in the Yongjia period of Eastern Jin. This was the period of the invasion of China by the northern barbarians. China’s capital was moved from Luoyang to Nanjing. In the Central Plains, the northern barbarians spread all over, and also continuous military operations caused disorder. So a large number of aristocratic elites and ordinary people moved towards the area south of the Yangtze River one after another. To take refuge from danger, Hakka people’s ancestors also moved gradually southwards, crossing the Yellow River and then reaching the area of Hubei, Anhuei, southern Henan and Jiangsi.
The second move occurred at the end of Tang and Song dynasties. This was mainly caused by the famous rebellion of Chao Huang, an incident forcing Hakka’s forefathers to move to southern Anhuei, southeastern Jiangsi, western and southern Fujian, and eastern and northeastern Guangdong.

The third move happened from the end of Southern Song until the early years of the Ming dynasty. When Mongolians dominated at the Central Plains, the Song rulers tried to come south. Hakka people living in southern Jiansi and western Fujian then moved to eastern and northern Gunagdong to support the emperor and his royal family of the Song dynasty. So they fought against Mongolian soldiers, often sacrificing their lives.

The fourth move took place from the end of the Ming dynasty into the reigns of the Cianlong emperor and Jiacing emperor of the Cing dynasty. Because Manchurians came southwards and became dominant, the population expanded. The Hakka people then moved from eastern and northern Guangdong and southern Jiangsi into central Guangdong and its seashore area, Sichuan, Guangsi, Hunan and Taiwan. A small part of Hakka people moved to southern Gueujhou, and to Heili of Sikang.


husbandry(Photographers / Siou-yun Li reproduce / Jhuo-ci Chen)

The fifth move happened after the reigns of the Cianlong emperor and the Jiacing emperor. Owing to the influences of two incidents -- aboriginals fighting and the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace (1951-1864) -- the Hakka people moved from Sinsing and Taishan in the middle of Guangdong into various states such as Gao, Lei, Cin, and Lian, in eastern Guangdong.

During the period of the invasion of China by the northern barbarians, there had been “the granted-client system” (gei ke jhih du) when people in the Central Plains moved to the south. Jhou Jiun Jhih in Nan Chi Shu states:

* Photographers / Siou-yun Li reproduce / Jhuo-ci Chen
“In Nanyue State was Guang-ling Jhen. People who often suffered thus immigrated here. These wandering people were regarded as guests. In the fourth year of the reign of the Yuang emperor, it was found that these people did not have their own household registration. For this reason, the granted-client system was arranged.”

The first character of the term of two characters, ke jia (meaning: ‘Hakka’), was proclaimed in an imperial decree of the Yuan emperor in Jin dynasty. Later, until the Tang and Song dynasties, the Government’s household book had a special term, ke hu (Hakka household). The term ke jia was commonly used in people’s circles. When the household book was drawn up in the Song dynasty, people living in their native lands were called as jhu (meaning: ‘host’) where people immigrating from foreign lands were called as ke (meaning: ‘guest’). Thus the term ke jia (meaning: Hakka) started being widely used.


Information for Reference:
1. http://web.snwes.tyc.edu.tw/~haka/C01.htm
World of Hakka Language in Shin-Wu Elementary School
2. Authour: Yun-dong Chen; Taiyuan Publisher; Hakka people in Taiwan
3. Record of Ciou Family Tree, Liouduei, Pingtung



farm implements(Photographers / Siou-yun Li reproduce / Jhuo-ci Chen)

Origin of Hakka in Taiwan

In Taiwan, there are over 4,500,000 Hakka people, constituting around 13.2% of the whole population. The Hakka people immigrated into Taiwan in the three reigns of the Kangsi, Yongjheng and Cianlong emperors. Taiwan’s Hakka people at present are mainly the descendents of Hakka people coming to Taiwan at that time. So far, Taiwan’s Hakka ethnic group has around three or four million people. They are an ethnic minority.

In the twenty-second year of the Kangsi emperor (1863), Cing soldiers conquered Taiwan. In the next year, a Taiwan administrative district was set up. Under its jurisdiction, there were three counties – Taiwan, Fongshan and Jhuluo.In olden times, most of Cheng-gong Jheng’s soldiers and followers fled to the islands of the area covering Southeast Asia and Indonesia,

* Photographers / Siou-yun Li  reproduce / Jhuo-ci Chen

meaning that Taiwan lacked people. Also, having had a hard time, people living near the sea in provinces – Fujian and Guangdong – risked their lives and continuously stole into Taiwan by hiding themselves aboard boats for a better life.

At the early stage after Hakka people came to Taiwan, around two or three years after Cing Court conquered Taiwan (that is, the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth year of the Kangsi emperor), there were no the restrictions at ports of entry and exit – the policy was just open. Having been forced out by their terrible life, a vast number of Fujian and Guangdong inhabitants immigrated to Taiwan. Because people living in southern Fujian had a geographical advantage (it was easy to cross the sea to Taiwan because of short distance between Fujian and Taiwan) and harmony with the people (Taiwan was full of people from Fujian when Jheng Cheng-gong of Ming dynasty and his followers were in Taiwan.), they naturally had an advantage. Hakka people in eastern Guangdong came to Taiwan rather late; there were various administrative restrictions (Lang Shih asked Cing Court to forbid Chaojhou and Hueizhou (both located in Guangdong province) inhabitants to come to Taiwan). So Hakka people seemed inferior since then.

At that time, Hakka people crossed the sea and arrived at Taiwan. Originally, they wanted to open up new land for settlement near Fujhih (today’s Tainan City). But the area near Fujhih had been occupied by people from southern Fujian. There was no extra land that Hakka people could open up and so they set up some vegetable plantations outside the Eastern Gate to make a living. Later, around the twenty-seventh year of the Kangsi emperor, one of the regiments of troops despatched by the Cing Court was composed of over one hundred Hakka soldiers enlisted from Jiaying State. After having served in Anping, Tainan and Agongdian for four years, they left the troops and then were settled in Lanlan Village (near today’s Wandan Township, Pingtung County) to engage in farming.


Hakka art(Photographers / Siou-yun Li  reproduce / Jhuo-ci Chen)

Around the thirtieth year of the Kangsi emperor (1691), Hakka people heard that there was a large land that had not been opened yet on the eastern bank of Danshuei River in Pingtung. So they risked their lives and continued heading forwards to open up the land even though experiencing diseases and aboriginals attacking them. In 1696, Lang Shih died. The law of forbidding Chaojhou and Hueizhou (both located in Guangdong province) inhabitants to come to Taiwan was relaxed. After that, Hakka people in eastern Guangdong came to Taiwan one group after another. So the population was increased and the opened-up land was expanded gradually.

In the sixtieth year of the Kangsi emperor (1721), when the incident of Yi-guei Jhu happened, thirty large villages and sixty-four small villages gathered over twelve thousand people to organize “Liouduei Troop of Justice” to help the Cing military army to attack Yi-dang Jhu and his associates. After this incident, the Cing Court honoured the troop members as “people with justice,” including fifteen family names – Li, Hou, Ai, Ciou, Jhu, Tu, Liou, Chen, Jhong, Liang, Lai, Gu, Huang, Lin and He. From this, it can be observed that there were many Hakka people immigrating to Taiwan at that time and their progress was rapid.


Information for Reference:
2.Author: Yun-dong Chen; Taiyuan Publisher; Hakka people in Taiwan

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