Taiwan facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Zhōnghuá Mínguó guógē
("National Anthem of the Republic of China")
Flag anthem: 中華民國國旗歌
Zhōnghuá Míngúo Gúoqígē
("National Flag Anthem of the Republic of China")
Territory controlled by the Republic of China
25°04′N 121°31′E / 25.067°N 121.517°E
|Ethnic groups||>95% Han Chinese (Holo, Hakka, etc.)
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential republic|
|1 January 1912|
• Taiwan transferred
|25 October 1945|
• Constitution adopted
|25 December 1947|
• Government moved to Taipei
|7 December 1949|
• Status defined by law
|16 July 1992|
|36,197 km2 (13,976 sq mi)|
• 2018 estimate
• 2010 census
|650/km2 (1,683.5/sq mi) (17th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|Gini (2017)||▲ 34.1
|HDI (2018)|| 0.880
|Currency||New Taiwan dollar (NT$) (TWD)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (National Standard Time)|
|Mains electricity||110 V–60 Hz|
|ISO 3166 code||TW|
Taiwan is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the north-west, Japan to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south. The island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometers (13,826 sq mi), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two-thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipei is the capital and largest metropolitan area. Other major cities include Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan. With 23.7 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated states, and is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations (UN).
Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island of Taiwan around 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, Dutch rule opened the island to mass Han immigration. After the brief Kingdom of Tungning in parts of the southern and western areas of the island, the island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, and ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. Following the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Republic of China, which had overthrown and succeeded the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Allies. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the loss of the mainland to the Communist Party of China and the flight of the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. Although the ROC government continued to claim to be the legitimate representative of China, since 1950 its effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and numerous smaller islands. In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialisation called the "Taiwan Miracle". In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ROC transitioned from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system.
Taiwan's export-oriented industrial economy is the 21st-largest in the world, with major contributions from steel, machinery, electronics and chemicals manufacturing. Taiwan is a developed country, ranking 15th in GDP per capita. It is ranked highly in terms of political and civil liberties, education, health care and human development.
- 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.
- Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) party and the Communist Party of China (CCP).
- The Nationalists (KMT) lose the war, and escape to the island of Taiwan. They set up Taipei as the temporary capital of China (ROC).
- The Communist Party of China (CCP) establishes Beijing as the capital of The People's Republic of China (PRC).
- 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.
The territory the Republic of China (ROC) controls is known by most people as the island of Taiwan. Most places on Taiwan Island are called "Taiwan Province" by the government of the Republic of China for official business, except the two largest cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung. West of Taiwan Island, there are three small groups of islands that also belong to ROC. They are:
- The Pescadores (Penghu, 澎湖列島): They also are part of Taiwan Province.
- Quemoy (Kinmen, 金門): A part of Fujian province, called Kinmen County(金門縣).
- Matsu (馬祖列島): the smallest county, called Lienchiang County(連江縣), also part of Fujian province
- Diaoyutai Islands:The Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚臺列嶼|Diàoyútái Lièyû) are a group of islands where nobody lives that the Republic of China (ROC) claims it belong to them, but also claimed by the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Japan. In Japanese, the islands are known as the Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島, Senkaku Shotō?). The islands are now under the control of Japan.
- Dong-Sha Islands:The Pratas Islands or Dong-Sha Islands (東沙羣島) consists of three islands in the northeastern South China Sea, 340 km southeast of Hong Kong.
- Taiping (Traditional Chinese: 太平島|Tàipíng), also known as Itu Aba, is the largest of the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) in the South China Sea.
The ROC used to govern Mainland China too. Now it is governed by the Communist People's Republic of China see History and Political problems of China. However, ROC still declares Mainland China as its territory officially. The Republic of China also used to Mongolia.
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.
There are administrative divisions in different levels and types.
- Provinces (省 shěng)
- Special municipalities (直轄市 zhíxiáshì)
(1st and 2nd level):
- Provincial cities (市 shì)
- Counties (縣 xiàn)
- Changhua County
- Chiayi County
- Hsinchu County
- Hualien County
- Kinmen County
- Lienchiang County
- Miaoli County
- Nantou County
- Penghu County
- Pingtung County
- Taitung County
- Taoyuan County
- Yilan County
- Yunlin County
157 Districts (區 qū), 17 Country-controlled cities (縣轄市 xiànxiáshì), 41 Urban Townships (鎮 zhèn), and 153 Rural Townships (鄉 xiāng) stand the 3rd level. Districts stand under either Special municipalities or Provincial cities; Country-controlled cities, Urban Townships, and Rural Townships stand under Counties.
Villages (里 lǐ or 村 cūn) stand the 4th level, and Neighborhoods (鄰 lín) stand the 5th level.
Most Taiwanese people speak the dialect of Chinese known as Mandarin, and others speak Taiwanese or Hakka. The Cantonese language, spoken in parts of southern China (for example, the province of Guangdong, and the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong), is not spoken in Taiwan. A small percentage of Taiwanese speak aboriginal languages, but the rest of the Chinese people have treated them badly, and many of these people, and their languages, struggle to survive. Some older Taiwanese people who went to school while the country was under Japanese rule can speak Japanese.
After the Nationalist government fled the Mainland in 1948-49, they brought their language, Mandarin, with them, and made Mandarin the only official language. Then everyone in the ROC had to learn Mandarin. But, unlike the people in Mainland China, the Taiwanese never changed to simplified Chinese characters and so they have always used traditional Chinese characters. In the past, students were not allowed to speak their mother tongue in school and were expected to speak only Mandarin. Taiwanese, Hakka, and native languages were considered bad until the early 1990s, when education in these languages began to be taught in some school systems. They were promoted, but by this time, many young people could speak only Mandarin.
The cultures of Taiwan are a hybrid blend of various sources, incorporating elements of traditional Chinese culture, attributable to the historical and ancestral origin of the majority of its current residents, Japanese culture, traditional Confucianist beliefs, and increasingly Western values.
After their move to Taiwan, the Kuomintang imposed an official interpretation of traditional Chinese culture over Taiwan. The government launched a policy promoting Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, folk art, and Chinese opera.
The status of Taiwanese culture is debated. It is disputed whether Taiwanese culture is a regional form of Chinese culture or a distinct culture. Identity politics, along with the over one hundred years of political separation from mainland China, has led to distinct traditions in many areas, including cuisine and music.
One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting, and porcelain and is considered one of the greatest collections of Chinese art and objects in the world. The KMT moved this collection from the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1933 and part of the collection was eventually transported to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of China's cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1% is on display at any time. The PRC had said that the collection was stolen and has called for its return, but the ROC has long defended its control of the collection as a necessary act to protect the pieces from destruction, especially during the Cultural Revolution. Relations regarding this treasure have warmed recently; Beijing Palace Museum Curator Zheng Xinmiao said that artefacts in both Chinese and Taiwanese museums are "China's cultural heritage jointly owned by people across the Taiwan Strait".
The classical music culture in Taiwan is highly developed and features artists such as violinist Cho-Liang Lin, pianist Ching-Yun Hu, and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Artist Director Wu Han. Karaoke, drawn from contemporary Japanese culture, is extremely popular in Taiwan, where it is known as KTV.
Taiwan has a high density of 24-hour convenience stores, which, in addition to the usual services, provide services on behalf of financial institutions or government agencies such as collection of parking fees, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and credit card payments. They also provide a service for mailing packages.
Taiwanese culture has also influenced other cultures. Bubble tea and milk tea are available in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, Europe, and North America. Taiwanese television shows are popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asian countries. Taiwanese films have won various international awards at film festivals around the world. Ang Lee, a Taiwanese director, has directed critically acclaimed films such as: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Eat Drink Man Woman; Sense and Sensibility; Brokeback Mountain; Life of Pi; and Lust, Caution. Other famous Taiwanese directors include Tsai Ming-liang, Edward Yang, and Hou Hsiao-hsien.
Baseball is Taiwan's national sport and is a popular spectator sport. There have been fifteen Taiwanese Major League Baseball players in the United States, notably including pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Wei-Yin Chen. The Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan was established in 1989, and eventually absorbed the competing Taiwan Major League in 2003. As of 2015[update], the CPBL has four teams with average attendance over 5,000 per game.
Besides baseball, basketball is Taiwan's other major sport.
Taiwan participates in international sporting organizations and events under the name of "Chinese Taipei" due to its political status. In 2009, Taiwan hosted two international sporting events on the island. The World Games 2009 were held in Kaohsiung between 16 and 26 July 2009. Taipei hosted the 21st Summer Deaflympics in September of the same year. Furthermore, Taipei hosted the Summer Universiade in 2017.
Taekwondo has become a mature and successful sport in Taiwan in recent years. In the 2004 Olympics, Chen Shih-hsin and Chu Mu-yen won the first two gold medals in women's flyweight event and men's flyweight event, respectively. Subsequent taekwondo competitors such as Yang Shu-chun have strengthened Taiwan's taekwondo culture.
Taiwan has a long history of strong international presence in table tennis. Chen Pao-pei was a gold medalist in the women's singles at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in 1953 and gold medalist with Chiang Tsai-yun in the 1957 women's doubles and women's team events. Lee Kuo-ting won the men's singles at the 1958 Asian Table Tennis Championships. More recently Chen Chien-an won the 2008 World Junior Table Tennis Championships in singles and pairing with Chuang Chih-yuan won the men's doubles in 2013 at the 52nd World Table Tennis Championships. Playing for Taiwan Chen Jing won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. 17-year-old Lin Yun-Ju upset both reigning world champion Ma Long and world ranked No. 3 Fan Zhendong to win the 2019 men's singles in the T2 Diamond Series in Malaysia.
In lawn tennis, Hsieh Su-wei is the country's most successful player, having been ranked inside the top 25 in singles in the WTA rankings. She became joint No. 1 in doubles with her partner Peng Shuai in 2014. The sisters Chan Yung-jan (Latisha Chan) and Chan Hao-ching are doubles specialists. They won their 13th WTA tournament together at the 2019 Eastbourne International, the second-highest number of wins for a pair of sisters after the Williams sisters. Latisha Chan became joint No. 1 with partner Martina Hingis in 2017. The most successful men's player was Lu Yen-hsun, who reached No. 33 in the ATP rankings in 2010.
Taiwan is also a major Asian country for Korfball. In 2008, Taiwan hosted the World Youth Korfball Championship and took the silver medal. In 2009, Taiwan's korfball team won a bronze medal at the World Game.
Yani Tseng is the most famous Taiwanese professional golfer currently playing on the US-based LPGA Tour. She is the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships and was ranked number 1 in the Women's World Golf Rankings for 109 consecutive weeks from 2011 to 2013.
Images for kids
Japanese colonial soldiers march Taiwanese captured after the Tapani Incident from the Tainan jail to court, 1915.
Republic of China troops celebrating Taiwan's retrocession at Zhongshan Hall, 1945. However, the said retrocession has been questioned in the light of international law.
With President Chiang Kai-shek, the US President Dwight D. Eisenhower waved to crowds during his visit to Taipei in June 1960.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Taiwan's special envoy to the APEC summit, Lien Chan, November 2011
The ruling DPP has traditionally leaned in favour of Taiwan independence and rejects the so-called "One-China policy".
The Presidential Southern Office in Fengshan District, Kaohsiung opened on 10 March 2017.
Tangwai (Independent) Taiwanese-born politician Wu San-lien (2L) celebrated his landslide victory (65.5%) in Taipei City's first mayoral election in January 1951 with supporters.
Taipei 101 held the world record for skyscraper height from 2004 to 2010.
Rice paddy fields in Yilan County
A calendar that commemorates the first year of the Republic as well as the election of Sun Yat-sen as the provisional President