1957 Yeh City Plan of Taipei, Taiwan

臺北市圖 / [City Map of Taipei]. - Main View

1957 Yeh City Plan of Taipei, Taiwan


Taipei as the capital of 'Free China'.


臺北市圖 / [City Map of Taipei].
  1957 (dated)     30 x 20.25 in (76.2 x 51.435 cm)     1 : 10000


A one-of-a-kind 1957 large-format folding map of Taipei by Yeh Hsien-k'ai. It depicts the city as it developed to accommodate a flood of refugees and government officials from mainland China, who fled the armies of the victorious Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War.
A Closer Look
Roads, railways, government buildings, parks, temples, waterways, and more are noted throughout. A grid surrounds map, corresponding to a table at bottom-left listing government offices, banks, companies, neighborhoods, and schools. At top-right sits an inset map of bus routes, while at left an inset map covers the wider region around Taipei, including Keelung (基隆市) and outlying suburbs that in recent decades have become incorporated into the city, such as Taoyuan (桃園) and Xindian (新店). Towards bottom is an inset map of a portion of Sung-shan District, east of the area displayed on the main map, which curiously does not include the airport, Taipei's main airport until 1979, situated just north of the area shown in the inset.
Occupation and Development
Though it had existed as a city before 1895, Taipei was largely shaped by its experience as the capital of the Japanese colony of Taiwan. Under the Japanese, Taiwan, and Taipei (Taihoku) in particular, was designed as a 'model colony,' and the legacy of the Japanese period can be seen here in terms of urban layout and architecture, especially in the central part of the city (Cheng-chung District 城中區).

After Japan's surrender in 1945, Taiwan reverted to Chinese sovereignty and the Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Party established rule over the island. However, the KMT quickly encountered difficulties in mainland China and by early 1949 was clearly destined to lose its civil war with the Communists. Seeking a refuge to reorganize and launch a counter-attack, the KMT and its leader Chiang Kai-Shek looked to Taiwan as the most opportune location. In Taipei, locals quicky became disillusioned with the corrupt and oppressive practices of the KMT, while the new government was deeply distrustful of people who had lived as Japanese subjects for the past fifty years. These tensions exploded with protests and riots in Taipei on February 28, 1947, after which the KMT launched a 'White Terror,' instituting martial law and turning Taiwan into a police state, evidence of which can be seen here, including the careful notation of government approval for the publication both on the map and its cover. Police stations (noted with red dots) and community monitoring bodies (noted with red 里 characters) proliferated throughout the city. Schools (marked with red 文 characters) were also an important part of the KMT's assertion of rule on Taiwan; the use of Mandarin was mandated in public (as opposed to Japanese or Taiwanese / Hokkien) and students were forced to recite KMT propaganda to reinforce identification with mainland China (which the KMT continued to claim for decades).

Many public buildings of the Japanese era were repurposed as public displays of the new regime's authority, such as the Taihoku City Public Auditorium, which was converted into Zhongshan Hall (中山堂), a memorial for Sun Yat-sen, at center-left, and the Presidential Palace (總統府) just west of Taipei Park (台北公園), which was the Taiwan Government-General building under Japanese. Many streets were renamed after cities in mainland China or patriotic slogans.

The sudden arrival of so many mainland Chinese meant that Taipei had to quickly build inexpensive housing. Initially, the new housing was rudimentary, but by the time of this map's publication was being replaced by austere but more sturdy concrete apartment blocks, giving the city a rather utilitarian feel which it partly retains today. One benefit of so many people from various parts of China congregating in Taipei was the presence and intermingling or regional cuisines, especially at Taipei's famed night markets.
Cold War Alliance with the U.S.
Among the buildings noted in the indexed table is the American embassy (美國大使館, located at D6 using the grid coordinates). A main boulevard running southeast out of the city center was (and remains) Roosevelt Road. Although the U.S. government was lukewarm on Chiang and the KMT in the late 1940s, the Korean War convinced it that, imperfect as they were, the KMT was an important bulwark against further Communist expansion in East Asia. The U.S. signed a mutual defense treaty with the Republic of China (Taiwan), stationed U.S. troops on Taiwan to train local forces (a training ground is located at top-center, just below Zhongshan Park 中山公園), supplied over $1 billion in economic aid, and provided essential support during the First Taiwan Straits Crisis in 1954 - 1955, and again during the Second Taiwan Straits Crisis in 1958. Three years after this map's publication, Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Taiwan, the only sitting U.S. President to ever do so.
Publication History and Census
This map was published in 1957 (Minguo 46). Yeh Hsien-k'ai (葉顯鎧) is listed as the main editor, while Ch'en Mao-sung (陳茂松) of the Hsing Hsüeh Publishing House (興學出版社) is noted as the publisher. We are unable to locate any other editions or examples of this map in either institutional collections or on the market.


Yeh Hsien-k'ai (葉顯鎧; fl. c. 1955 - 1989) was a prolific cartographer in the Republic of China on Taiwan. Some forty maps are attributed to him, including maps of mainland China, maps of Taiwan, and maps of localities within Taiwan. Learn More...


Very good. Some wear along fold line in top margin. Accompanied by original cover with vignette illustration.