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Old November 30th, 2017, 04:00 PM   #1

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Koxinga invades Spanish Manila instead of Dutch Taiwan


Inspired by a debate with heavenlykhagan.

Koxinga in 1661 amassed a large military from his base in continental China to invade Taiwan, then held by the Dutch (and called Formosa instead). After 1 year of besieging the godforsaken island, Koxinga finally managed to evict the Dutch out of it.

Now the scenario is this: Koxinga uses that very same military but invades Manila instead. Do you think Koxinga would have been successful in evicting the Spaniards, or would he have failed?
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Old November 30th, 2017, 07:16 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maoistic View Post
Inspired by a debate with heavenlykhagan.

Koxinga in 1661 amassed a large military from his base in continental China to invade Taiwan, then held by the Dutch (and called Formosa instead). After 1 year of besieging the godforsaken island, Koxinga finally managed to evict the Dutch out of it.

Now the scenario is this: Koxinga uses that very same military but invades Manila instead. Do you think Koxinga would have been successful in evicting the Spaniards, or would he have failed?
The Siege of Zeelandia did take a year, but do not mistake it or dismiss it as a case of there being more low quality Chinese hordes than the Dutch have bullets. Koxinga did have trouble taking the fort itself but had no trouble defeating the Dutch outside of the fort whether it was on land or at sea. Yes, there were more Chinese than Dutch and numbers certainly carry an advantage, but the manner in which the Dutch points to better leadership, discipline, and even marksmanship on the Chinese side. In terms of quality, the Chinese were certainly up to par. Koxinga's troops defeated a roughly equal number of Dutch musketeers on Penghu prior to the invasion. They also defeated the sallying Dutch musketeers on the Baxemboy and then the Dutch reinforcing ships out on sea and in the bay. The reason why the siege took so long was because of better European fortifications that Koxinga, with primarily anti-personnel firearms, could not destroy or storm without heavy losses.

While the Dutch were besieged, the Chinese were facing a sort of siege themselves. Koxinga's men were also suffering from a lack of food and were being killed by aboriginals. The effects of prolonged siege was as detrimental to the hungry Chinese as it was to the malnourished Dutch. This is explained by a roughly equal number of Chinese and Dutch defectors. Clearly, situation for the attackers were terrible. The alleged story is that a Swiss told Koxinga how to take the fort by revealing a weakness.

We could draw two conclusions from this invasion. The Ming remnants under Koxinga weren't weak. They were disciplined and experienced troops. They were good marksmen and seamen, able to out-shoot and outmaneuver Dutch ships and outfight them on rowboats and on land. If they were to fight the the Spanish in the Philippines, they would have been able to. Second, regardless of which story of how Koxinga overcame the star fort that was revolutionary you think plausible, the fact is Koxinga overcame it and he learned how to overcome it.

There is a difference between the questions "could X win" and "would X win." Could the Spanish Armada have won? Yes. "Could" is a question of capability. I am certain the Spanish had the capability to win. Would they win? If I said yes at the time, it would not have been an irrational assumption. Things could turn out wrong and those with a decent chance of winning could still be outfought. Like the "world-conquering" Persians in 480 BCE and 10 years later, they had the capability to win. They had the men, the ships, and the local support but... **** happens. Things do not always go according to plan.

So, I am not going to argue "would Koxinga win." I will say that Koxinga could - or had the capability to - win. He had good troops and smart commanders. He acquired experience fighting against a similar force in skirmish, on open land, in the sea, and against their star fort. He had a base in Taiwan (which he started during the siege) to stage an invasion. He had the recipes for conquest. Sure, Chinese ships were inferior further out into the sea but his father shown that if they tried, they could also build sturdy multi-decked warships with heavy ordinance.

If Koxinga never attacked the Dutch and goes straight for the Spanish in the Philippines, I don't think he would have been able to do it unless he commits his mainland base to building the kind of ships his father was building. If he wanted the Spaniards out of Manila, then Zeelandia must be that first step where he gets the experience against Europeans and as a base that's loyal to him and him alone instead of the Zheng family.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 04:22 AM   #3

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Name Island Formosa is Portuguese 1543 today Taiwan

Nome Ilha da Formosa Portuguese 1543 hoje Taiwan

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Portugal_(1415–1578)#Chronology_of_the_ Portuguese_discoveries

When the Dutch arrived in Asia the Portuguese had already been there for more than a century, and it was not Portugal who taught the discoveries.
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