island in East Asia; main island of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC; Chinese: 中華民國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó), is a region and country in East Asia. It is the nationalist government of China since its settlement in 1949. It is called the Republic of China (ROC) (also called Taiwan) which is a special region comprising the island of Taiwan and nearby islands (Pescadores islands and parts of Fujian). The ROC government led by Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang abbreviated as KMT) moved to Taiwan after the Communist army took over the capital of Beijing. Currently, the ROC government governs Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Taiwan is southeast of the People's Republic of China's mainland, south of Japan, and north of the Philippines.

Republic of China

Zhōnghuá Mínguó[a]
A blue circular emblem on which sits a white sun composed of a circle surrounded by 12 rays.
Anthem: "National Anthem of the Republic of China"

"National Flag Anthem"
A map depicting the location of the Republic of China in East Asia and in the World.
Depicting the Free area of the Republic of China
25°04′N 121°31′E / 25.067°N 121.517°E / 25.067; 121.517Coordinates: 25°04′N 121°31′E / 25.067°N 121.517°E / 25.067; 121.517[1]
Largest cityNew Taipei City
National languagesFormosan languages
Taiwan Sign Language
Ethnic groups
98% Han[2]
2% Taiwanese aborigines[b]
Demonym(s)Taiwanese[3][4][5] or Chinese or both
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
• President
Tsai Ing-wen (DPP)
Chen Chien-jen (Independent)
• Premier
William Lai (DPP)
Su Chia-chyuan (DPP)
Hsu Tzong-li
Chang Po-ya (NPSU)
Wu Jin-lin (KMT)
LegislatureLegislative Yuan
10 October 1911
1 January 1912
25 December 1947
• Total
36,193[6] km2 (13,974 sq mi) (136th)
• Water (%)
• 2012 estimate
23,261,747[6] (50th)
• Density
642/km2 (1,662.8/sq mi) (17th)
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate
• Total
$876.035 billion[7] (19th)
• Per capita
$49,827[7] (19th)
GDP (nominal)2011 estimate
• Total
$466.832 billion[7] (26th)
• Per capita
$20,100[7] (39th)
Gini (2010)34.2[8]
HDI (2010)Increase 0.868[c][9]
very high · 18th
CurrencyNew Taiwan dollar (NT$) (TWD)
Time zoneUTC+8 (CST)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+8 (not observed)
Date formatyyyy-mm-dd
(CE; CE+2697) or 民國yy年m月d日
Driving sideright
Calling code+886
ISO 3166 codeTW
Internet TLD.tw, .台灣, .台湾[10]
  1. See Names of the Republic of China.
  2. Taiwanese aborigines are officially categorised into 14 separate ethnic groups by the Republic of China.
  3. The UN has not calculated an HDI for the ROC, which is not a member nation. The ROC government calculated its HDI for 2010 to be 0.868, which would rank it 18th among countries.

Taiwan has also been called Formosa, a Portuguese name which means "beautiful" in Portuguese.

The largest cities in Taiwan are the capital, Taipei, and the port city of Kaohsiung.

Most people living in Taiwan (sometimes called Taiwanese) are Han. Taiwan has three large Han groups. They speak different dialects of Chinese and their ancestors came from different places: the Southern Fujianese (from China's Fujian Province), the Hakka (from China), and Mainlanders (from Mainland China after 1948).

There are also Taiwanese Aborigines who have lived in Taiwan before the Han came to live there.


  • In 1517, A discovery ship of Portuguese saw this island and names it "Ilha Formosa", or "Beautiful Island" in Portuguese.
  • 17th century: From 1624 until 1661 Dutch colonize the southern part of Formosa and established a colonial administration in Fort Zeelandia, and the Spanish colonize the north and established a colonial administration in Fuerte Santo Domingo or Fort Santo Domingo. The Dutch eventually defeated the Spaniards and took full control of Formosa. A Chinese general named Koxinga, defeated the Dutch at the Siege of Fort Zeelandia.
  • 1860: Taiwan becomes a treaty port following the Treaty of Tientsin, opening the island to contact with the world.
  • 1874: Japan invaded southern Taiwan, seemingly to "punish" the aborigines there for the murder of ship-wrecked Okinawan fishermen in 1871, but actually to establish a colony. Japanese forces withdraw later in the year after the Meiji and Qing empires nearly went to war.
  • 1884-1885: Taiwan is blockaded by French navy during the Sino-Franco War.
  • 1895: Qing China lost the First Sino-Japanese War and gave Taiwan to Japan permanently.
  • 1945: Japan lost in World War II to U.S. and gave up Taiwan permanently.
  • 1946: U.S. accepts millions refugees and soldiers from China to Taiwan and U.S. President installs The Republic of China to govern Taiwan and to fight China and communism.
  • 1947: Taiwanese widely protest governmental corruption under the Nationalists. Chiang Kai-shek sends in the army to restore order, killing tens of thousands. Some Taiwanese began the Taiwan independence movement.
  • 1949:
  • 1951: Japan signs the Treaty of San Francisco (1951) with U.S.
  • 1979: The KMT government jails many democracy activists who opposed it (Kaohsiung Incident).
  • 1986: The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is formed; it is the first party to form in the ROC other than the KMT. It remains illegal for the first year, but the KMT government does not try to ban it.
  • 1987: The KMT government lifts the martial law after almost 40 years.
  • 1988: Lee Teng-hui (KMT) became president after Chiang Ching-kuo is dead.
  • 1995: Lee Teng-hui (KMT) became the first president elected by people.
  • 2000: Li Shui-bian (DPP) became president.
  • 2000: Chen Shui-bian (DPP) became president.
  • 2004: Chen Shui-bian is re-elected after a controversial assassination attempt, in which many KMT-supporters believed, was staged by Chen. However, after unwillingness to cooperate about his medical records the investigation was inconclusive.
  • 2008: Former president Chen Sui-bian and his wife are arrested for corruption and money laundering.
  • 2008: Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) was elected as the president of the Republic of China and thus creating a change of political parties for the second time.
  • 2009: Kaohsiung hosts the 2009 World Games.
  • 2016: Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) was elected as the first female president of Taiwan.
  • 2019: same sex marriage was legalized[11]

Status of TaiwanEdit

There are two Chinese governments in the world: The People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). Today, in reality, the PRC government controls mainland China, and the ROC government governs Taiwan. The ROC government governed most of China mainland from 1911 to 1949, before losing control of China mainland to the PRC.

Today, people who live in Taiwan have different ideas. Although many Taiwanese think there is no freedom in China, there are still some Taiwanese who want to be united again with China. The majority of the people in Taiwan want to keep everything like it is now.

Today most countries of the world recognize the People's Republic of China as China. Even though Taiwan is not recognized by the UN as a sovereign nation,[12] most countries still have close economic and cultural relations with Taiwan. So, both sides are not making any big changes from the political status quo. This policy was expressed in a 1992 Consensus among some leaders of both sides.

In March 2004, China's government passed a law called the Anti-Secession Law. The law requires the Chinese military to invade Taiwan immediately if they declare independence.[13] The law shows China's concern over a growing move towards independence by the government of Taiwan.[14]


Taiwan is mostly mountainous in the east, with gently sloping plains in the west. The Penghu Islands are west of the main island.

The island of Taiwan is about 180 kilometers off the southeastern coast of China. It is across the Taiwan Strait. It has an area of 35,883 km2 (13,855 sq mi).[6] The East China Sea is to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait directly to the south and the South China Sea to the southwest.[15]

Taiwan's highest point is Yu Shan (Jade Mountain). It is 3,952 meters high (12,966 ft). There are five other peaks over 3,500 meters.

The Penghu Islands are 50 km (31.1 mi) west of the main island. They have an area of 126.9 km2 (49.0 sq mi). More distant islands controlled by the Republic of China are the Kinmen, Wuchiu and Matsu Islands off the coast of Fujian. They have a total area of 180.5 km2 (69.7 sq mi). The Pratas Islands and Taiping Island in the South China Sea have a total area of 2.9 km2 (1.1 sq mi). They have no permanent inhabitants.[6]


Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan.

The largest cities in Taiwan are:

Rank Division name Chinese name Type Population
1 New Taipei City 新北市 Special municipality 3,903,745
2 Kaohsiung City 高雄市 Special municipality 2,772,461
3 Taichung City 臺中市 (台中市) Special municipality 2,655,456
4 Taipei City 臺北市 (台北市) Special municipality 2,635,766
5 Taoyuan City 桃園市 Special municipality 2,163,728
6 Tainan City 臺南市 (台南市) Special municipality 1,874,724
7 Hsinchu City 新竹市 Provincial city 417,335
8 Keelung City 基隆市 Provincial city 381,770
9 Chiayi City 嘉義市 Provincial city 272,128
10 Changhua City 彰化市 County-controlled city 236,447
11 Pingtung City 屏東市 County-controlled city 210,275
12 Zhubei City 竹北市 County-controlled city 144,234
13 Hualien City 花蓮市 County-controlled city 108,938
14 Taitung City 臺東市 County-controlled city 108,648
15 Douliu City 斗六市 County-controlled city 107,012
16 Nantou City 南投市 County-controlled city 104,069
17 Magong 馬公市 County-controlled city 104,069


  1. "Yearbook 2004". Government Information Office of the Republic of China. 2004. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-10-01. Taipei is the capital of the ROC
  2. "Taiwan". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency., United States Central Intelligence Agency.
  3. "The ROC's Humanitarian Relief Program for Afghan Refugees". Gio.gov.tw. 2001-12-11. Archived from the original on 15 December 2004. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  4. "Taiwanese health official invited to observe bird-flu conference". Gio.gov.tw. 2005-11-11. Archived from the original on 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  5. "Demonyms – Names of Nationalities". Geography.about.com. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Number of Villages, Neighborhoods, Households and Resident Population". MOI Statistical Information Service. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Republic of China (Taiwan)". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  8. "Table 4. Percentage Share of Disposable Income by Quintile Group of Households and Income Inequality Indices". Report on The Survey of Family Income and Expenditure. Taipei, Taiwan: Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. 2010. Unknown parameter |chapterurl= ignored (help)
  9. http://www.dgbas.gov.tw/public/Attachment/11715383471.doc
  10. "ICANN Board Meeting Minutes". ICANN. 25 June 2010.
  11. https://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Taiwan%27s_legislature_first_in_Asia_to_legalize_same-sex_marriage
  12. Sigrid Winkler (June 2012). "Taiwan's UN Dilemma: To Be or Not To Be". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  13. John J. Tkacik, Jr. "China's New "Anti-Secession Law" Escalates Tensions in the TaiwanStrait". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  14. Zou Keyuan, 'Governing the Taiwan Issue in Accordance with Law: An Essay on China's Anti-Secession Law', Chinese Journal of International Law, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2005), p. 455
  15. "Chapter 1: Geography". The Republic of China Yearbook. Government Information Office, Republic of China (Taiwan). 2011. pp. 13–25. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2012-10-01. Unknown parameter |chapterurl= ignored (help)

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