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The Crucial Contribution by Count Maurice Benyowsky to Formosa's Perception in Europe in 18th Century

Miroslav Musil Post-doctoral Research

2017 Taiwan Fellowship Scholar

Field of Study:Literature, history and philosophy

No:10060

Date:2017/6/30

Abstract:

The present analysis of various sources related to the visit of count Maurice Benyowsky on Madagascar in 1771, as well as to his account and, above all, to his resulting project and follow-up, confirm that Benyowsky was the European who made, in the 18th century, the most significant imprint on European powers´ perception of Formosa, as well as of its strategic role for the penetration and implantation in the Pacific region. This analysis also confirms the Formosa´s enormous natural mineral, vegetal and animal potential for a promising settlement, exploiting and trade, as promoted by Benyowsky. The examined criticism addressed to Benyowsky´s account concerns only secondary aspects of his account and impact, and, moreover, is too often based on questionable, doubtful or even tendentious premises, or factors out of Benyowsky´s own control or influence.