Descendant of 1860s British consul visits Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung

Swinhoe was not only a diplomat, but also conducted research into the Taiwanese fauna

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Christopher Swinhoe-Standen (right) with an effigy of his famous forefather (photo courtesy of Kaohsiung Department of Cultural Affairs).

Christopher Swinhoe-Standen (right) with an effigy of his famous forefather (photo courtesy of Kaohsiung Department of Cultural Affairs). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A fifth-generation descendant of British consul Robert Swinhoe on Thursday visited the building in Kaohsiung where his forefather lived and worked in the 1860s.

During the visit to the hilltop consulate, Christopher Swinhoe-Standen posed by an effigy of his famous forefather, the first British consul in Taiwan, which at the time was ruled by China’s Qing Dynasty.

Swinhoe-Standen first visited the National Taiwan Museum in Taipei where he learned more about the history of the country, including the foreign presence on the island, the Central News Agency reported.

During the afternoon, he and his friend traveled to Kaohsiung where they received a tour of the consulate, including explanations about Swinhoe’s explorations of nature in Taiwan. Swinhoe’s pheasant, also known as the Taiwan blue pheasant, was named after the consul, but he also conducted groundbreaking research into other birds and into monkeys.

Swinhoe set up an office in Tainan as vice consul in 1861 and moved to Kaohsiung three years later after the authorities had opened up the port to international traffic. In early 1865, his office was elevated to the status of a British consulate and he became its first consul.

Swinhoe-Standen said he would show all the pictures of his trip to his 91-year-old mother back in Great Britain.