Everyone knows about “The Great Retreat” 國府遷台 of the Republic of China to Taiwan in 1948-1949. When 2 million military and their family members came to Taiwan. When they came, they set up military dependents’ villages 眷村 all around Taiwan. What is less known is that there was another retreat a few years later.
In the early 1950s, the KMT was still in control of islands off the coast of Zhejiang Province 浙江. In January 1955 though, the PRC attacked Yijiangshan Islands 一江山島 and took it in a few days. Then they turned their attention to the Dachen Archipelago 大陳島.
After several bombing raids of the islands, the PRC hit a reservoir and left the KMT soldiers with no fresh water and basically screwed(military term).
After much deliberation, the KMT decided to evacuate the islands 大陳義胞. It took place from Feb. 9 to 14 with the help of the USA’s 7th Fleet. They evacuated all the KMT troops and around 10,000 residents of the islands to Keelung with nothing but what they could carry on their backs.
After spending a couple weeks in Keelung, the Dachen Islanders were sent to many places around Taiwan setting up Dachen Island Villages 大陳新村. Zaixing Village 再興新村 in Alian District 阿蓮區 in Kaohsiung is one of those villages.
Originally Zaixing Village had 102 households and thousands of people living there. They originally moved there to farm. Life was pretty hard and many people ended up moving to other places around Taiwan looking for work. Now there are only around 20 people living in the village.
In Zaixing New Village, the houses are divided into big houses (8-11 people per house), middle houses ( 5-7 people per house), and small houses (4 people per house). Each family received one duck, 12 chickens, one pig, one longan tree, and one mango tree. There are apparently 35 old trees still left in the village.
A couple of the more modern houses.
Zaixing Temple 再興廟. Apparently the Mazu idol is from Dachen Island.
There was a community event in 2016.
As you can see most of the houses are in pretty bad shape and mostly empty. But I feel it’s still amazing to see and an interesting and somewhat unknown part of Taiwan’s post-war history. If you want to go here just Google 再興新村 and you can find it.
The village is a little in the middle of nowhere but if you plan a trip to the Gangshan Mountains 大崗山, 小崗山 then you can throw this village in your itinerary. So if you head to Gangshan for the day, stop by Zaixing Village 再興新村 and say hi!