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The Spanish established Fort San Domingo in 1628 on a hill overlooking the estuary of Tamsui River. In 1642, the Dutch came from southern Taiwan, drove away the Spanish, and built “Fort Antonio” near the Spanish Fort. Since the local inhabitants in Tamsui at the time referred the Dutch as red hairs, the castle was also known as the “Red hair Fort.”
The main fort building is a square tower with two stories. The sturdy and deep foundation, and thick walls with outer layer of stone and inner lining of brick give the Fort strong and effective fortification.
After the defeat of Qing Dynasty to the British-French allies, Tamsui harbor was opened for commercial use. The British leased Fort San Domingo from the Qing Dynasty as their consulate, and later added the consul’s residential building on the east side of the Fort. This British Victoria style building stood there with its red bricks, veranda, peaked roof, providing a warm and delicate atmosphere which softened the meant military purpose of the Fort. The blending of the two different ambiences painted the green hill with balanced beauty.