Taiwan Facts

Taiwan (Red)

Taiwan (Red)

Taiwan (Traditional Chinese:台灣 or 臺灣, Simplified Chinese:台湾) is an island nation of about 36,000 square kilometers located off the coast of southeastern China, southwest of Okinawa and north of the Philippines. The island is governed by the Republic of China (中華民國 Zhōnghuá Mínguó) or ROC. Shaped roughly like a sweet potato, the nation is home to more than 22 million people and is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Besides its crowded cities and friendly people, Taiwan is also known for steep mountains and lush forests. In addition to the island of Taiwan, the Republic of China also governs the Pescadores (Penghu), Quemoy (Kinmen/Jinmen), and Matsu.

Taiwan Flag

Taiwan Flag

National AnthemTaiwan National Anthem

Background

In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia’s economic “Tigers.” The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China – specifically the question of eventual unification – as well as domestic political and economic reform.

History

Settled by the Chinese in the seventh century, it was explored by the Portuguese in 1590 and held by the Dutch in the mid-1600s before being seized by Qing dynasty Chinese in 1683. Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895 and regained by China after World War II (1945). Taiwan broke off from mainland China in 1949 when the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek fled from Mao Zedong’s forces and established their government on the island.
Location
Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China
Geographic coordinates
23 30 N, 121 00 E
Map references
Southeast Asia
Area
total
35,980 sq km
land
32,260 sq km
water
3,720 sq km
note
includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands
Area – comparative
slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
1,566.3 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea
12 nm
exclusive economic zone
200 nm
Climate
tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year
Terrain
eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
Elevation extremes
lowest point
South China Sea 0 m
highest point
Yu Shan 3,952 m
Natural resources
small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos
Land use
arable land
24%
permanent crops
1%
other
75% (2001)
Irrigated land
NA
Natural hazards
earthquakes and typhoons
Environment – current issues
air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal

Largest Cities – City & Urban populations combined

Taipei – 10.4 mil; Kaohsiung – 4 mil; Taichung – 3.1 mil
Total Population – Close to 23 million

Exchange Rate 1 USD = 32.6 TWD as of 6/8/2009

President -Ying-jeou

Ma Ying-jeou

Ma Ying-jeou

Kaohsiung
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