Taiwan facts for kids

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Republic of China

Zhōnghuá Mínguó
A red flag, with a small blue rectangle in the top left hand corner on which sits a white sun composed of a circle surrounded by 12 rays.
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
Capital Taipei
Largest city New Taipei City
Official languages Mandarin
Recognised regional languages Taiwanese
Formosan languages
Official scripts Traditional Chinese
Ethnic groups

98% Han

  • 70% Hoklo
  • 14% Hakka
  • 14% Mainlanders
2% Taiwanese aborigines
Demonym(s) Taiwanese or Chinese or both
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
Tsai Ing-wen
• Vice President
Chen Chien-jen
• Premier
Mao Chi-kuo
• President of the Legislative Yuan
Wang Jin-pyng (KMT)
• President of the Judicial Yuan
Rai Hau-min
• President of the Control Yuan
Wang Chien-shien (NP)
• President of the Examination Yuan
Kuan Chung (KMT)
Legislature Legislative Yuan
• Wuchang Uprising
10 October 1911
• Republic established
1 January 1912
• Constitution
25 December 1947
• Total
36,193 km2 (13,974 sq mi) (136th)
• Water (%)
• 2012 estimate
23,261,747 (50th)
• Density
642/km2 (1,662.8/sq mi) (17th)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
• Total
$876.035 billion (19th)
• Per capita
$37,719 (19th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
• Total
$466.832 billion (26th)
• Per capita
$20,100 (39th)
Gini (2010) 34.2
HDI (2010) Increase 0.868
very high
Currency New Taiwan dollar (NT$) (TWD)
Time zone UTC+8 (CST)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+8 (not observed)
Date format yyyy-mm-dd
(CE; CE+2697) or 民國yy年m月d日
Driving side right
Calling code +886
ISO 3166 code TW
Internet TLD .tw, .台灣, .台湾

Taiwan (also known as Formosa) officially the Republic of China (ROC; Chinese: 中華民國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó), is a state 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 Chinese Nationalist government (Kuomintang also called KMT) moved to Taiwan after the Communist army took over the capital of Beijing. Currently, the Chinese Nationalist government governs Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Taiwan is southeast of the China mainland, south of Japan, and north of the Philippines.

Formosa is the Portuguese name of Taiwan, which means "beautiful" in Portuguese.

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

Most people living in Taiwan (sometimes called Taiwanese) are Han. There are also Taiwanese Aborigines who have lived in Taiwan before the Han came to live there.

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).


  • 1517: A Portuguese ship sees the 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 forced 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 USA and gave up Taiwan permanently.
  • 1946: USA accepts millions refugees and soldiers from China to Taiwan and USA 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 USA.
  • 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 several years, but the KMT government does not try to ban it.
  • 1987: The KMT government lifts the martial law after almost 40 years.
  • 2000: Chen Shui-bian (DPP) becomes 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 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 was elected as the first female president of Taiwan.

Status of Taiwan

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, 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. The law shows China's concern over a growing move towards independence by the government of Taiwan.


Taiwan NASA Terra MODIS 23791
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). 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.

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.


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 Tainan City 臺南市 (台南市) Special municipality 1,874,724
6 Hsinchu City 新竹市 Provincial city 417,335
7 Taoyuan City 桃園市 County-controlled city 408,304
8 Keelung City 基隆市 Provincial city 381,770
9 Zhongli City 中壢市 County-controlled city 370,779
10 Chiayi City 嘉義市 Provincial city 272,128
11 Changhua City 彰化市 County-controlled city 236,447
12 Pingtung City 屏東市 County-controlled city 210,275
13 Pingzhen City 平鎮市 County-controlled city 207,953
14 Bade City 八德市 County-controlled city 177,020
15 Yangmei City 楊梅市 County-controlled city 151,384
16 Zhubei City 竹北市 County-controlled city 144,234
17 Hualien City 花蓮市 County-controlled city 108,938
18 Taitung City 臺東市 County-controlled city 108,648
19 Douliu City 斗六市 County-controlled city 107,012
20 Nantou City 南投市 County-controlled city 104,069
21 Magong 馬公市 County-controlled city 104,069

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