The Port of Keelung is a major seaport city on the north shores of Taiwan. It is part of the Taipei-Keelung metropolitan area and Taiwan's second biggest port. The Port of Keelung's harbor is naturally an excellent one, free of silt and surrounded by mountains. Located just over 37 kilometers east of Taipei, the Port of Keelung is some 473 nautical miles northeast of Hong Kong. It is Taipei's principal seaport.
The Port of Keelung was expanded during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and it has continued to prosper under the Chinese Nationalist government. It has several ship-building yards and busy fertilizer and cement industries. The Japanese used the Port of Keelung primarily to export raw materials to Japan. Today, the Port of Keelung is Taipei's major importing center, and it has become an important international port. It is also a large fishing port with fish canning and freezing plants. In 2008, over 390 thousand people lived in the Port of Keelung.
The name of the Port of Keelung (or Chi-lung) apparently derives from "Ketangalan," the tribe of indigenous peoples who lived here in the 17th Century. In 1626, Spain occupied the site, building a fort on the island at the harbor's mouth. The Dutch occupied the Port of Keelung from 1642 to 1661 and from 1663 to 1668, but because trade with China was not great, they left Keelung voluntarily.
China incorporated Taiwan into the province of Fukien in 1638, stimulating settlement. In 1863, the Qing Empire opened the Port of Keelung as a port for trade. Many Chinese settled in the Port of Keelung area, and a small town had grown up there by the late 18th Century.
By 1840, the Port of Keelung was a small port welcoming foreign vessels. In 1860, Keelung was made a treaty port and opened to foreign trade. The Qing dynasty tried unsuccessfully to fortify the old Spanish fort. For two years during the Sino-French War, French troops used the fort at the Port of Keelung.
The Japanese occupied the Port of Keelung from 1895 to 1945, developing a modern city. Not only did foreign trade vessels come to the Port of Keelung when Taipei's harbor silted over, but a railway system further increased the Port of Keelung's dominance in northern Taiwan. While there, the Japanese filled in parts of the bay, creating a commercial center and limited industry. With plentiful coal and hydroelectric power, the Port of Keelung has continued to thrive since 1945.