Scotland-Taiwan partnership honours 19th-century trailblazers

03 May 2023
At Edinburgh Central Library yesterday (May 2), Council Leader Cammy Day formally accepted a set of books to signify and strengthen the cultural, economic, and historic links between the city of Edinburgh and Taiwan.

The Council Leader met with the author Jenny Jamieson, Mr. Chia-Cheng Chang, Director General of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK Edinburgh Office, Assistant Director Ms. Mindy Chia-Min Chang, and Robert Redman, Secretary of the Scotland Taiwanese Association.

Taiwanese-born author Jenny Jamieson has spent the last two decades living in Scotland, and her passion for the cultures of both countries and their historic connections, provided the inspiration for these storybooks.

Scots women in 19th-century Taiwan

The books, entitled ‘Eliza Caroline Cook’ and ‘Elizabeth Blackburn Christie’, tell the stories of two Scottish Presbyterian women and their influence in Taiwan, during the late 19th century. Both books are illustrated and include English and Taiwanese translations.

Eliza Caroline Cooke was the first female missionary in Taiwan, and she also established the first school for girls in Taiwan.

Elizabeth Blackburn Christie was the first woman to obtain triple medical degrees in Scotland. She travelled to Taiwan immediately after graduating from the University of Glasgow and set up the first clinic specialising in the care of women and children.

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Council Leader Cammy Day said: “I am delighted to accept these books which showcase the shared history of Scotland and Taiwan going back over a century. From Edinburgh’s own Dr James Maxwell establishing Taiwan’s first hospital in the 19th century to the modern exchange of goods, culture and ideas, the links between us and Taiwan remain strong.

“On my recent visit to Taiwan to attend the Smart Cities Summit I saw the incredible work that is going on across the country and I look forward to continuing our partnership with Taiwan and other international partners.

“These books will be made available for Edinburgh residents to borrow from our libraries and copies will also be circulated in our schools."

Report and image courtesy City of Edinburgh Council.