Originally named Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful island’, Taiwan is a densely populated island off the south-eastern coast of China. European migration to Taiwan started 400 years ago with the Portuguese and Dutch, closely followed by the Spanish and French. Scottish settlers were more prominent in China; however Taiwan is associated with some notable Scots who spent time in China and the surrounding islands.
Sir Patrick Manson was one such Scot. He worked in Shanghai’s medical services but was persuaded by his brother to take a medical officer’s post in Formosa in 1866. There he researched tropical medicine alongside his official duties, and worked in a missionary hospital treating a variety of tropical diseases. Manson made significant discoveries about malaria and its transmission by mosquitoes, his findings becoming the basis of ‘malariology’. This ‘Father of Tropical Medicine’ has left a lasting legacy in both the medical world and the places in which he made his discoveries.
Today Taiwan also boasts a multi-award winning whisky distillery!