:: Hakka & Southern Fukien Province Cultures
Although Han Chinese people make up 70 percent of Taitung County's population, the area has major influences from Hakka culture and a large population of residents originating in China's southern Fukien province. In the past, Taitung residents--consisting of Aborigines and Southern Fukienese--mainly made their living from agriculture.
For the most part, people from the same culture stayed in their own villages. However, there were some areas where people of several different cultures lived together in a diverse environment. These mixed-culture villages have become more prominent in recent years and people of different tribes have co-existed together quite well. It is because of this positive interaction, development and mutual reliance that a lot of these aboriginal tribes still exist today, especially in Taitung, making it Taiwan's most diverse and historical place.
In 1722, the mainland Chinese government prohibited Han people from entering this territory, including the mountainous areas. The Hans were prohibited from "sneaking in", although it has been shown that a good number of Han people broke the rules and started trading with the Aborigines. These Han residents mostly came from southern Fukien province, entered from the southern side of the mountain and eventually made their way to Taitung's Beinan Township before settling in the Cilai plains in Hualien.
Those who came to live on the plains of Beinan Township were mostly from Pingtung, and they quickly assimilated into the ways of the aboriginal tribes. To win local residents' trust and eventually farm in the area, they gave away clothing, accessories, hunting gear, farming tools and seeds.
In 1925, during the Japanese colonial period, the railway system in Hualien and Taitung was opened for public use. Soon, a string of southern Fukienese people began moving into the area, mostly living in the busy part of town and running their own businesses. Later, Japanese-run sugar refineries were dominant and farm workers from Taichung, Hsinchu and Tainan flocked into the area, looking for work. In the post-colonial era, pineapple farms began to blossom in Longtian community, also attracting many new immigrants to Taitung.
Among those who moved into this area, Hakka people and their culture were the most dominant, as they arrived from places like Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Pingtung. Today, southern Fukienese immigrants still live alongside a variety of Aborigine tribes around Taitung, contributing to the diverse history of the area.