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Provincial city
Flag of Keelung
Official seal of Keelung
Nickname(s): The Rainy Port (雨港)
Country  Taiwan
Region Northern Taiwan
Districts 7
City seat Zhongzheng District
 • Mayor Lin Yu-chang (DPP)
 • Deputy Mayor Lin Yong-fa[1]
 • Total 132.7589 km2 (51.2585 sq mi)
Area rank 18 of 22
Population (December 2014)
 • Total 373,077
 • Rank 16 of 22
 • Density 2,800/km2 (7,300/sq mi)
Time zone National Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 200-206
Area code(s) (0)32
- Bird Eagle
- Flower Common crepe myrtle
- Tree Formosan Sweet-gum
English Keelung/KLC
Chinese 基隆/基市
Chinese 基隆市
Taiwanese Hokkien Name
Traditional Chinese 雞籠市
Simplified Chinese 鸡笼市

Keelung, officially known as Keelung City (Chinese: 基隆市; also Jilong or Chilung), is a major port city situated in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It borders New Taipei with which it forms the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area, along with Taipei itself. Nicknamed the Rainy Port for its frequent rain and maritime role, the city is Taiwan's second largest seaport (after Kaohsiung).


  • Name 1
  • History 2
    • Kingdom of Tungning 2.1
    • Qing Dynasty 2.2
    • Empire of Japan 2.3
    • Republic of China 2.4
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
  • Administration 4
  • Demographics and culture 5
    • Population growth 5.1
    • Festivals 5.2
  • Economy 6
  • Education 7
    • Universities and colleges 7.1
    • High schools 7.2
  • Energy 8
  • Tourist attractions 9
    • Ports 9.1
    • Parks 9.2
    • Cultural centers 9.3
    • Museums 9.4
    • Historical structures 9.5
  • Transportation 10
    • Rail 10.1
    • Water 10.2
  • International relations 11
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 11.1
  • People from Keelung 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


According to early Chinese accounts, this northern coastal area was originally called Pak-kang (北港).[2] By the early 20th century, the city was known to the Western world as Kelung,[3] as well as the variants Kiloung, Kilang and Keelung.[4] In his 1903 general history of Taiwan, US Consul to Formosa (1898–1904) James W. Davidson related that "Kelung" was among the few well-known names, thus warranting no alternate Japanese romanization.[5]

However, the Taiwanese people have long called the city Kelang (Chinese: 雞籠; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ke-lâng/Koe-lâng; literally: "rooster cage" or "hencoop"[6]). It has been proposed that this name was derived from the local mountain that took the shape of a rooster cage. However, it is more probable that the name was derived from the first inhabitants of the region, as are the names of many other Taiwanese cities. In this case, the Ketagalan people were the first inhabitants, and early Han settlers probably approximated "Ketagalan" with "Ke-lâng" (Hokkien phonetics).

In 1875, during Qing Dynasty rule, the Chinese characters of the name were changed to the more auspicious 基隆 (pinyin: Jīlóng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ki-liông; literally: "base prosperous").[7] In Mandarin, probably the working language of Chinese government at the time, both the old and new names were likely pronounced Kīlóng (hence "Keelung").

Under Japanese rule (1895–1945), the city was also known to the west by the Japanese romanization Kīrun (also written as Kirun or Kiirun[8]).

In Standard Chinese, which became the official language of Taiwan after its handover to the Republic of China, the newer name is read Jīlóng (the shift from initial K to J is a recent development in the Beijing dialect, see Old Mandarin). However, the locals continue to call the city Ke-lâng across the changes in government.


Map of Keelung in 1856.

Keelung was first inhabited by the Ketagalan, a tribe of Taiwanese aborigine. Its first contact with the west was with the Spanish in the early 17th century, who built a fort in Keelung as an outpost of the Manila-based Spanish East Indies. From 1642 to 1661 and 1663–1668, Keelung was under Dutch control.[9][10] The Dutch East India Company took over the Spanish Fort San Salvador at Santissima Trinidad. They reduced its size and renamed it Fort Noort-Hollant.[10] The Dutch had three more minor fortifications in Keelung and also a little school and a preacher.

Kingdom of Tungning

When Ming Dynasty loyalist Koxinga successfully attacked the Dutch in southern Taiwan (Siege of Fort Zeelandia), the crew of the Keelung forts fled to the Dutch trading post in Japan. The Dutch came back in 1663 and re-occupied and strengthened their earlier forts. However, trade with Qing China through Keelung was not what they hoped it would be and, in 1668, they left voluntarily.

Qing Dynasty

In 1863, following the First Opium War (1839–1842) between British Empire and China, the Qing Empire opened up Keelung as a trading port and the city enjoyed rapid development due to the abundant commodities such as placer gold and high quality coal found in the drainage area of Keelung River. In 1875, Taipeh Prefecture was created and included Keelung. In 1878, Keelung was formed into a ting or sub-prefecture.[11] Around the same time, the name was changed from Ke-lang (雞籠廳) to Kilong (基隆廳), which means "rich and prosperous land".[7]

The Keelung Campaign was an important subsidiary campaign in the Sino-French War (August 1884 to April 1885). The French occupied Keelung from 1 October 1884 to 22 June 1885, and several battles were fought during this period between Liu Mingchuan's Army of Northern Formosa and Colonel Jacques Duchesne's Formosa Expeditionary Corps.

Empire of Japan

A systematic city development started during the Japanese Era, after the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, which handed all Taiwan over to Japan. A five-phase construction of Keelung Harbor was initiated, and in by 1916 trade volume had exceeded even those of Tamsui and Kaohsiung Harbors to become one of the major commercial harbors of Taiwan.[12]

Keelung was governed as Kīrun Town (基隆街), Kīrun District, Taihoku Prefecture in 1920 and was upgraded to a city in 1924.[12] The Pacific War broke out in 1941, and Keelung became one of the first targets of Allied bombers and was nearly destroyed as a result.[12]

Republic of China

After the handover of Taiwan to China from Japan in October 1945, Keelung was established as a provincial city of Taiwan Province. The Keelung City Government worked with the harbor bureau to rebuild the city and the harbor and in 1984, the harbor became the 7th largest container harbor in the world.[13]


Keelung City is located in the northern part of Taiwan Island. It occupies an area of 132.76 km2 and is separated from its neighboring county by mountains in the east, west and south. The northern part of the city faces the ocean and is a great deep water harbor since early times.[14]


Keelung has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with a yearly rainfall average upwards of 3,700 millimetres (146 in). It has long been noted as one of the wettest cities in the world; the effect is related to the Kuroshio Current.[15] Although it is one of the coldest cities of Taiwan, winters are still short and mild, whilst summers are long and hot, temperatures can peek above 26 degrees Celsius during a warm winter day, while it can dip below 27 degrees Celsius during a rainy summer day, much like the rest of northern Taiwan. However its location on northern mountain slopes means that due to orographic lift, rainfall is heavier during fall and winter, the latter during which a northeasterly flow prevails. During summer, southwesterly winds dominate and thus there is a slight rain shadow effect. Fog is most serious during winter and spring, when relative humidity levels are also highest.

Climate data for Keelung (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.0
Average low °C (°F) 13.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 335.8
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 21.0 19.6 21.1 17.2 18.8 14.2 9.2 11.5 15.0 17.7 19.9 20.1 205.3
Average relative humidity (%) 81.2 82.5 83.6 81.6 81.7 79.6 75.1 76.7 78.6 79.2 79.0 78.5 79.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.5 48.0 65.6 83.4 90.3 125.4 203.0 192.5 149.1 94.3 58.7 52.6 1,217.4
Source: [16]


Keelung City Hall in Zhongzheng District

Zhongzheng District is the seat of Keelung City which houses the Keelung City Government and Keelung City Council. The current Mayor of Keelung is Lin Yu-chang of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Keelung has seven districts (區 Qu): District Population Land area
as of 2014 km²
Zhongzheng 中正區 53,094 10.2118
Zhongshan 中山區 48,733 10.5238
Ren'ai 仁愛區 46,244 4.2335
Xinyi 信義區 51,264 10.6706
Anle 安樂區 81,580 18.0250
Nuannuan 暖暖區 38,188 22.8283
Qidu 七堵區 53,974 56.2659

Demographics and culture

Population growth

Year Population Notes
700 Households
Ranked 6th[17]
Decrease due to Allied air bombings
28,000 Mainlander influx
late 1990s


One of the most popular festivals in Taiwan is the Mid-Summer Ghost Festival. The Keelung Ghost Festival is among the oldest in Taiwan, dating back to 1851 after bitter clashes between rivaling clans, which claimed many lives before mediators stepped in. The Ghost Festival of Keelung City is a reflection of Taiwan's rich cultural history that is very much alive today.[18]


Coal mining peaked in 1968. The city developed quickly and by 1984, the harbor was the 7th largest container harbor in the world.[13]

Panorama view of Central Keelung and harbor area.


Education in Keelung City is governed by the Department of Education of Keelung City Government.

Universities and colleges

Keelung City houses several universities and colleges, such as the National Taiwan Ocean University, Ching Kuo Institute of Management and Health and Chungyu Institute of Technology.

High schools


Keelung City houses the only fully oil-fired power plant in Taiwan, the Hsieh-ho Power Plant, which is located in Zhongshan District. The installed capacity of the power plant is 2,000 MW.

Tourist attractions


Bisha Fishing Port.


Chung Cheng Park, Ho Ping Island Hi Park.

Cultural centers

Keelung Cultural Center.


National Museum of Marine Science and Technology.

Historical structures

Baimiweng Fort, Dawulun Fort, Gongzi Liao Fort, Keelung Fort Commander's Official Residence, Uhrshawan Battery.



The Taiwan Railways Administration stations of Badu Station, Baifu Station, Keelung Station, Nuannuan Station, Qidu Station and Sankeng Station cross Keelung City.


Taiwan's second largest port, the Port of Keelung, is located in the city. The port serves for destinations to Matsu Islands, Xiamen and Okinawa.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Keelung is twinned with:

People from Keelung

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ for example:
  4. ^ Davidson (1903), Index p.20.
  5. ^ Davidson (1903), p. iii.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 211.
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

  • Keelung travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Keelung City Government official website (English)
  • Keelung Harbor Bureau official website (English)
  • — Taiwan
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