1. The Origin of the Name – Taipei
The name “Taipei” first emerged at the end of Emperor Kangxi’s rule and the early years of Emperor Yongzheng’s reign. Lan Ding-yuan’s Zhuqianpu Journal said as much: “Zhuqianpu stretched hundreds of kilometers; no one was seen during a whole day’s traveling. Barbarians haunted the place, and travelers were fearful when passing through the region. However, the fortress was built on the path of freshwater, the land was flat and extremely fertile, should it be ploughed, there would be thousands of hectares of productive fields. Taipei promises a prosperous outlook for people’s livelihood.” This area referred to as “Taipei” was the area north of Zhuqian in Northern Taiwan.
In 1875, first year of the Guangxu reign, Imperial Commissioner Shen Bao-zhen established the Taipei Prefecture in Mengjia (a general term used for Taipei’s main municipality at the time), and built the Taipei Prefecture Office (located in today's Zhongzheng District), making Taipei an administrative district. In 1884, the 10th year of Emperor Guangxu, the construction of a walled city was completed.
2. Ketagalan Tribe’s Inhabitation
Taipei City is situated in the center of the Taipei Basin in Northern Taiwan. According to geological estimation, the Taipei Basin was a large lake in ancient times; and after years of sedimentation, it then developed into a basin. In Yu Yong-he’s Great Sea Journal, he wrote: “Upon entering Guandu Notch, it suddenly widened up into a boundless yet infinitely large lake that stretches more than ten kilometers which is surrounded by high mountains; the whole area covered more than a hundred kilometers, and there was a plain in the center.” It was the Taipei Basin that Yu was referring to. Before the Han Chinese arrived, the Taipei Basin used to be the home of the aboriginal Ketagalan Tribe, who made a living by gathering, fishing, hunting, and nomadic cultivation.
The Ketagalan were among one of the first Pingpu tribespeople to inhabit Northern Taiwan, living in areas as far as the present-day Taoyuan in the south and Sandiaoling and Yilan in the north, spreading throughout the present-day areas of Keelung, Danshui and Taipei. According to the Japanese scholar Kanori Ino, the Ketagalan settlement in Sandiaoling was established near the western seashore, via Keelung, Jinbaoli, Fuguijiao, Huwei, following along the Keelung River into the Taipei Basin; those who settled in the Xizhi district were known as Fengzisi Community; those who inhabited the Songshan district formed Xikou Community; those who settled down in Dadaocheng formed Guibeng Community, and those in Dalongtong, Dalangbeng Community; some also crossed the Xindian River to form the Baijie and Xiulang Communities. They were the earliest documented inhabitants in the Taipei Basin.