March 9, 2023

S3-E4 - Madou, Tainan 麻豆: Pomelos and Priestesses

S3-E4 - Madou, Tainan 麻豆: Pomelos and Priestesses

Today, the district of Madou (麻豆區) in Tainan City is home to about 43,000 people. It has a pleasant small-town feel, an economy mainly based on agriculture, in particular, a citrus fruit called the pomelo ( 柚子). Back in the 1620s, when the Dutch arrived, Madou -- then called Mattau -- was inhabited by the Siraya (西拉雅族), a Taiwanese Indigenous group. Siraya resistance to Dutch expansion would lead to bloodshed and bring about a major turning point in early Taiwan history. Join Formosa Files as we visit the childhood home of Chen Shui-bian and recount the clash of cultures in the 1600s. You can also hear us stumble over some lines and words – John learns how to pronounce “pomelo” – in this "raw" edition. We left our mistakes in the episode to give listeners a look behind the scenes.

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Cover: A woman from the Siraya Indigenous group holds a child in a photograph by Scottish photographer John Thomson who visited the Tainan area in 1871. (via Right: A truckload of pomelos grown in Tainan (via Taiwan News).

Below: 麻豆古港古航道 The Old Madou Waterway. Traders in the 1600s used it to connect to the area's main harbor. (Via Wikimedia Commons/Panoramio) 

Below: On April 11, 1971, Zhuang Jinyao, a farmer from Madou, unearthed a bronze cannon that dates from the Dutch colonial era. (In southern Taiwan, from 1624-1662). The piece is on display at the Madou Old Port Cultural Park (蔴荳古港文化園區).

Below: The pomelo. (Citrus maxima) is the largest citrus fruit and the principal ancestor of the grapefruit. Also, John Ross does not think they look anything like a moon. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

To be fair to John... not all pomelos (Pom-eh-lows) are quite as round as the one above.

Below: Madou District is seen in red, while the black circle indicates the more urban part of Tainan City. (Via Wikimedia Commons)