Taiwan Overview


Originally populated by peoples of Malay-Polynesian origin, the island was sighted in the 16th century by the Portuguese who gave it the name of Formosa (Beautiful), almost at the same time it was sighted by the Spanish who created the Spanish government of Taiwan. It was then controlled between 1624 and 1662 by the Dutch, being expelled by Zheng Chenggong (also known as Koxinga), a former pirate under the command of the Ming dynasty, who organized the first wave of Chinese settlers on the island. Chinese settlers would gradually displace the island’s aborigines inland. In 1895, after the First Sino-Japanese War, China was bound by the Treaty of Shimonoseki to cede Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity.

After the end of World War II in 1945, Japan accepted the terms of the ” Potsdam Conference ” which made reference to the ” Cairo Conference ” by which the island was once again under Chinese sovereignty. The newly arrived troops massacred some 30,000 natives. Japan formally renounced sovereignty over the island and the Pescadores Islands. The treaty made no reference to who the island should be handed over, which has served as a justification for supporters of the island’s independence.

The Kuomintang maintained a dictatorship until 1991, first led by Chiang Kai-shek, succeeded on his death by his son Chiang Ching-kuo, and later by Lee Teng-hui. Until 1987 the state of war was maintained. In the year 2000, in which for the first time the KMT was defeated in elections, acceding to the presidency Chen Shui-bian, who would be re-elected in 2004.

In the presidential elections of 2008, voters elected President Ma Ying-jeou, the candidate belonging to the KMT. This is believed to show that Taiwanese expect less tense relations between China and Taiwan and an improvement in the state of the economy, the latter as a result of the disappointment of Chen Shui-bian’s reign and his party, the Democratic Progressive Party (PDP).).

Political-Administrative Organization

Both the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China, the regime that exercises royal sovereignty over the island, consider the territory of Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands as a province of China.

The cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung are currently independent from the provincial government of Taiwan, being under direct administration of the central government. Taiwan has 22 regions.


According to Allcitycodes, the island of Taiwan has a total area of 35,980 km² and is located 200 km southeast of mainland China, separated by the Taiwan Strait. It is about 383.6 kilometers long from north to south and 145 kilometers from east to west at its widest point.

There is a contrast between the eastern two thirds of the island, with a very mountainous terrain, with five mountain ranges arranged from north to south, culminating in Yu Shan peak at 3,952 meters above sea level.

The flat area is on the western coast (25% of the total area of the island), where 75% of the population is concentrated.

Since it is crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, the climate of Taiwan is tropical maritime on the coast and subtropical in the mountain areas. In the highest mountains it can even snow. The rainy season lasts from June to August affected by the southwest monsoon. Typhoons and earthquakes are frequent on the island.

Economic development

The arrival of middle- and upper-class Chinese in 1949, traditionally engaged in trade, Japanese investments and those of the United States have made Taiwan one of the new industrialized countries. The country adapted well to the crisis of 1973, reconverting its industries to the high technology sector, being today one of the first world manufacturers of microprocessors.

Taiwan has recently become one of the largest investors in the People’s Republic of China.

Since 2002 it has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

GDP (2005) is US $ 346,400. millions.

GDP per capita (PPP) is US $ 29,800 (est) according to the CIA factbook.

Taiwan has its own currency called the New Taiwan Dollar NTD.

Some of the sectors in which Taiwanese companies excel are the following:

  • Bicycles: GIANT, DAHON, MERIDA.
  • Telecommunications: DLINK, ZyXEL.
  • Mobile Phones: HTC, BenQ.
  • Biotechnology.
  • Semiconductors


As one of the great tourist destinations in the world, the island of Taiwan is known as the “Beautiful and Rich Island”. Its landscapes can be synthesized in the following descriptions: “high mountains, thick forests, numerous waterfalls and special coastlines”. Taiwan is one of the few “high mountain islands” in the tropical zone. Except for the western coast plain, two-thirds of the island is covered with high mountains. Among its mountains stands out that of Ali, a symbol of the enchanting natural landscapes of Taiwan.

The island boasts honorable names such as: “Kingdom of the orchids”, “Kingdom of the butterflies”, “Kingdom of the coral”, “Warehouse of fish”.

There are two centers of religious worship where visitors from many places in Asia come, considered apart from the rest of the temples.

Taiwan is a tourist destination with great potential. The subtropical island has a very diversified offer: beaches, mountains, temples, one of the best collections of Chinese art in the world, and great gastronomy.

But tourism development has not been a priority for the country’s authorities focused more on industrial and manufacturing development.

The new government intends to change this situation by promoting foreign promotion to break the barrier of 2.5 million tourists, most of them Japanese, who visit the island every year.

Taiwan Overview