History of Taiwan

Taiwan Flag

Taiwan was inhabited by aborigines of Malayan descent when Chinese from the areas now designated as Fukien and Kwangtung began settling it in the 7th century, becoming the majority. The Portuguese explored the area in 1590, naming it "the Beautiful" (Formosa). In 1624 the Dutch set up forts in the south, the Spanish in the north. The Dutch forced out the Spanish in 1641 and controlled the island until 1661, when Chinese general Koxinga took it over and established an independent kingdom. The Manchus seized the island in 1683 and held it until 1895, when it passed to Japan after the first Sino-Japanese War. Japan developed and exploited Formosa. It was the target of heavy American bombing during World War II, and at the close of the war the island was restored to China.

After the defeat of its armies on the mainland, the Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan in Dec. 1949. Chiang dominated the island, even though only 15% of the population consisted of the 1949 immigrants, the Kuomintang. He maintained a 600,000-man army in the hope of eventually recovering the mainland. Beijing viewed the Taiwanese government with suspicion and anger, referring to Taiwan as a breakaway province of China.

The UN seat representing all of China was held by the Nationalists for over two decades before being lost in Oct. 1971, when the People's Republic of China was admitted and Taiwan was forced to abdicate its seat to Beijing.


UAE Map Taiwan Map - Click for larger view
  • Taipei - the capital and the center of commerce and culture
  • New Taipei - the city that surrounds Taipei and the largest city in Taiwan
  • Hsinchu - a city in northern Taiwan that contains Hsinchu Science Park
  • Hualien - a city located near Taroko Gorge
  • New Taipei City - is the epitome of Taiwanese culture
  • Kaohsiung - the second-largest city and also an industrial city
  • Keelung - the center of transshipment in the north
  • Puli - a town located at the geographical center of the island
  • Taichung - the third largest city in Taiwan.
  • Tainan - the oldest city and former capital, famous for its historic buildings

People & Culture

Taiwan Culture reflects the customs and traditions of Taiwanese people. It is in fact a perfect combination of Confucianist Han Chinese cultures and European, Japanese, American, global, and local traditions. There is no doubt in the fact that the culture of Taiwan merges and blends modernity with traditionalism. The economic, social, political and other important aspects affecting the people of Taiwan get reflected through the Taiwan Culture.

Taiwan's culture has been largely formed by the processes of imperialism and colonization. In 1895, before the Qing Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan, Taiwan Culture was shaped by Qing frontier societies of Han farmers and highland Aborigines.

During KMT era (between 1960s and 1980s) the culture of Taiwan represented the contrasts between Taiwan and communist China. At that time the main focus was given to the official view of traditional culture of China and involvement in social and community events and the Confucian ideology twisted with the thought of Sun Yat-sen.

Thereafter came the era of Taiwanese localization. During this period too, a significant change was seen to be affecting the culture of Taiwan.

Weather and Climate

Taiwan Climate
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Climate: tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year

Public Holidays

Taiwan Public Holidays Year 2015
New Year's Day 1 January, 2015 Thursday
Founding Day of the Republic of China 1 January, 2015 Thursday
Lunar New Year 18 February, 2015 Wednesday
Lunar New Year 19 February, 2015 Thursday
Lunar New Year 20 February, 2015 Friday
Lunar New Year 21 February, 2015 Saturday
Lunar New Year 22 February, 2015 Sunday
Lunar New Year 23 February, 2015 Monday
228 Peace Memorial Day (Replacement Holiday) 27 February, 2015 Friday
228 Peace Memorial Day 28 February, 2015 Saturday
Children's Day (Replacement Holiday) 3 April, 2015 Friday
Children's Day 4 April, 2015 Saturday
Qingming Festival/Tomb Sweeping Day 5 April, 2015 Sunday
Qingming Festival/Tomb Sweeping Day (Replacement Holiday) 6 April, 2015 Monday
Dragon Boat Festival 20 June, 2015 Saturday
Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival 27 September, 2015 Sunday
Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival (Replacement Holiday) 28 September, 2015 Monday
ROC National Celebration Day (Replacement Holiday) 9 October, 2015 Friday
ROC National Celebration Day 10 October, 2015 Saturday

Travel Advisory

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Taiwan. Exercise normal security precautions.