Takao, Tancoia, Tankoya, former names of modern-day Køhioong, originates from the Makatao language of the local aboriginal tribe and translates as "bamboo forest". Founded near the end of the Ming Dynasty (Bengtiaau) in the 17th century, the village was known as Tvafkao in the Hoklo language (Høxlør-oe) spoken by most of the early immigrants. The Harnji for Tvafkao literally meant "to beat a dog".
In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1920, the city’s name was changed to Køhioong (Jidguo: 高雄 Takao). After control of Taiwan was handed to the Republic of China in 1945, the official romanization of the city name came to be “Kaohsiung”, based on the Wade-Giles romanization of the Standard Mandarin reading of the kanji name.