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Date: 2009-06-06
Huang Family Youtang VillaResearch on the archeological site of Fuguodun(復國墩) shows the appearance of first residency in Kinmen dates back to 5800 to 8000 years ago. During that time, major cultures are said to be food-gathering, hunting and fishing. On the other hand, excavated relics also indicate a connection of Fuguodun heritage in the southeastern coast of China with the Dapenkeng(大坌坑) Culture of Taiwan, both belonging to ancestral cultural archetype of the South Island ethnic group.

The Jianwu(建武) Reign of the Yuan Emperor, Eastern Jin(東晋) Dynasty (A.D. 317), turmoils occurred in the Central Plains of China owing to the devastating invasions and ravages of nomadic tribes(五胡亂華). Refugees of a combination of six surnames consequently found their shelter in Kinmen, which was called Wuzhou(浯洲) at the time. A stable growth of population was further assured in Zhenyuan(貞元) Reign of Tang Dynasty after Chen Yuan(陳淵) came to Kinmen in A.D. 803 as the Supervisor-General of Royal Equines, or mumajian(牧馬監), with cultivation force of twelve family names. However, it was not until the Shenzong(神宗) Reign (A.D. 1068-85) of the Northern Song Dynasty that Kinmen was first integrated into a regional administrative district, part of Tong-an(同安) County. In the following regime, the Southern Song Dynasty, culture and education received unprecedented attention and achievement that the fame of Kinmen as Hai Bin Zhou Lu(海濱鄒魯), the costal academic center, was established. At its heyday, according to anecdotal accounts, the highly acclaimed scholar and philosopher Zhu Xi(朱熹) even founded the Yannan Academy(燕南書院) in Kinmen, where he gave lectures on the essence of humanism and decorum. Moreover, Wuzhou Salt Field was established on the Island in the first year of the Chengzong Emperor(成宗) in Yuan Dynasty, to supply salt to the inland of China.

From 1387 (year 20 of Hongwu(洪武) Reign, the Taizu Emperor(太祖), Ming Dynasty), pirates were plundering along the southeast coast of China. As a pivotal location, Kinmen consequently obtained additional significance as a military stronghold against the marauding raiders. Fortresses and defense structures were built under the command of Marquis Zhou Desing(周德興) of Jiang Xia Hou(江夏候) to protect the residents. Its geo-strategic advantage now affirmed its identity as “a gold-like consolidated force that guards all at the gate of Chinese South waters”. This is the origin of the name- Kinmen, means golden gate in Chinese. Its military importance continued through the Ming Dynasty into the Qing Dynasty. Zheng Chenggong(鄭成功) chose Kinmen and Xiamen Islands as the bases of his plan in the 1640s to reclaim the throne of Qing and re-establish Ming Regime while an independent Naval force of the Qing Empire later was garrisoned in Kinmen after the failure of Zheng.

In late Qing Dynasty, the Opium War begot a new dynamic in Kinmen Island. The defeated Qing Empire signed to open five of its seaports for international trade. The nearby Xiamen was one of them. As a result, it became a convenient transit point for the Kinmen people in search of a better life. From 1842, a large number of migrations went through Xiamen to South and Southeast Asia where opportunities were promised.  Kinmen received its autonomy as a county in 1915, but soon lost it in 1937 after the outbreak of China-Japan War. For eight years, Kinmen was occupied by Japanese military. In 1949, the outbreak of the Guningtou Battlement on October 25th determined conflict between Chinese Communists and Chinese Nationalists on both side of Taiwan Strait up until today. The mounting tension between China and Taiwan finally urged the unprecedented practice of Martial Law in Kinmen in 1956. The Committee of Kinmen Martial Law was accordingly established to rule the Island until 1992. During these 36 years of special administration, two military confrontations became significant in the history of Kinmen: the August 23rd Artillery Battle in 1958 and the two decades-long odd-numbered day Bombardment(單打雙不打). The former brought 470,000 shells of bombs in 44 days of warfare while the later continued for 20 years or so.
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