Inland Migration of the Plains Indigenous Peoples in the 19th Century
In the 19th century, a huge change occurred to the distribution and tribal names of plains indigenous peoples in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the reign of Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing dynasty (1796-1820), nearly two million Han people immigrated to Taiwan. With a population of only tens of thousands of people, it was difficult for the plains indigenous peoples to safeguard the flatland area with such a population disparity. When the land of the plains indigenous peoples began to fall into the hands of the Han people, their living space was lowered, food supply reduced, and life became increasingly difficult. Under such pressure to survive, the plains indigenous peoples implemented different countermeasures.
In the mid-18th century, plains indigenous peoples gradually migrated, both actively and passively to the Tu-niu Ditch (the boundary separating indigenous peoples and Han people) and became frontier guards of the empire under the ethnic policy of the Qing government. In the mid-19th century, the famous great ethnic migration in Taiwan’s history began. It was a voluntary mass movement of plains indigenous peoples in western Taiwan. The Taokas, Pazeh, Papora, Babuza, and Hoanya peoples in central Taiwan climbed over the Central Mountain Range and migrated to the Lanyang Plain. The later mass movement of indigenous peoples in central Taiwan was a planned migration to the Puli Basin. The Siraya and Makatu peoples in southern Taiwan moved either to the mountainside in Kaohsiung or Pingtung or the Central Range along the Nanzixian River and Laonong River. Some bypassed Hengchun and Taitung to the Huatung Rift Valley and coastal area. The Kavalan people in the Lanyang Plain also moved southward to the northern Hualian Plain. At the turn of the 20th century, the distribution of plains indigenous peoples scattered and diversified.