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Facts about Taiwan for Kids


  • Taiwan, officially the Republic of China , is a state in East Asia.
  • Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China now governs the island of Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa), which makes up over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands.
  • Taipei is the capital city and economic and cultural center of the country, while New Taipei is the most populous city.
  • The island of Taiwan was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines before being colonized in the 17th century by the Dutch as Dutch Formosa in 1624 and the Spanish as Spanish Formosa in 1626.
  • The island was subsequently ruled by the Qing Dynasty after the kingdom’s defeat in the Battle of Penghu in 1683, a period that lasted for over 200 years.
  • Following Japan’s victory over the Qing Dynasty in the first Sino-Japanese war, Taiwan was ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.
  • The Republic of China was established in mainland China in 1912 and governed varying amounts of territory on the mainland until 1949.
  • At the end of World War II in 1945, Japan surrendered Taiwan and associated islands to ROC forces.
  • Following the Chinese civil war in the last three years, the Communist forces took control of mainland China and founded the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the ROC government moved to Taiwan.
  • Only 23 states currently recognize the ROC as a sovereign state and maintain formal diplomatic relations with it, though it has informal ties with many other states.
  • Officially, the ROC government has claimed sovereignty over all of “China”, in a definition that includes mainland China and Mongolia, as well as Taiwan, via the ROC Constitution but has not made retaking the mainland a political goal since 1992.
  • However, the government’s stance on whether “retaking” or “reuniting” with China is desired or whether Taiwan and China are separate countries or are regions of one country depends on which administration is in power.
  • It has threatened the use of military force as a response to any formal declaration of Taiwanese independence, or if it deems peaceful reunification no longer possible.
  • In 1683, following the defeat of Koxinga’s grandson by an armada led by Admiral Shi Lang of southern Fujian, the Qing formally annexed Taiwan, placing it under the jurisdiction of Fujian province.
  • For example, former ROC President Lee Teng-hui’s elder brother served in the Japanese navy and died while on duty in the Philippinesin February 1945.
  • Government workers and party members were mostly indistinguishable, with many government workers required to become KMT members, and party workers paid salaries and promised retirement benefits along the lines of government employees.
  • Neither treaty specified to whom sovereignty over the islands should be transferred, because the United States and the United Kingdomdisagreed on whether the ROC or the PRC was the legitimate government of China.
  • Up until the 1970s, the government was regarded by Western critics as undemocratic for upholding martial law, for severely repressing any political opposition and for controlling media.
  • Under Lee, the original members of the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly, elected in 1947 to represent mainland Chinese constituencies and having held the seats without re-election for more than four decades, were forced to resign in 1991.
  • On 30 September 2007, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party approved a resolution asserting a separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a “normal country”.
  • The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait directly to the south and the South China Sea to the southwest.
  • Former President Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party stated during his years of administration that any decision should be decided through a public referendum of the people of the ROC.