The one minute summary on

Taiwan photo

Photo by williamcho

This is it: one minute to the best info on Taiwan. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Taiwan, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.

In 1895, military defeat forced China’s Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist 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 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Beginning in the 1950s, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. This process expanded rapidly in the 1980s.

In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist (Kuomintang or KMT) 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 management of sensitive relations between Taiwan and China – specifically the question of Taiwan’s eventual status – as well as domestic priorities for economic reform and growth.

That was it. I promised one minute.

For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.

  1. Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in  Taiwan
  2. Does my current phone work in  Taiwan ? Tips to cell phone usage in  Taiwan
  3. Local food you should try in  Taiwan and No miss drinks in  Taiwan

Now, cheers to the most Taiwan aware person at the cocktail party.

What are the key history moments for Taiwan?

Taiwan has been populated for thousands of years by more than a dozen non-Han Chinese aboriginal tribes. Written history begins with the partial colonization of southern Taiwan by the Dutch and the northern part by Spanish in the early 17th century. (The old name of Taiwan, Formosa, comes from the Portuguese Ilha Formosa for “beautiful island”.) Han Chinese immigrants arrived in significant numbers with the onset of European trade. Although controlled by the Dutch, the Ming loyalist Koxinga defeated the Dutch garrisons in 1662 and set up Taiwan as a rump Ming Empire with the hope of reconquering Qing China. His grandson surrendered to the Qing in the late 1600s. Although contact between mainland China and Taiwan dates back thousands of years, it was not until larger numbers of Han residents arrived during the Qing dynasty that Taiwan was formally integrated into the rest of China as part of Hokkien (Fujian) province.

It became a separate province in 1885. Defeated by the Japanese in the first Sino-Japanese War, the Qing Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan under the terms of the treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. Japan ruled the island all the way until the end of World War II in 1945, and exerted profound influences on the development of the island. Taiwanese entertainment and pop culture was and still is heavily influenced by that of Japan. Much of the Japanese-built infrastructure can still be seen on the island today, and has been in fact continuously used up to the present day (e.g. rail-road crossing gates, administrative buildings, and the old port at Kaohsiung). In the early 20th century, the Nationalists (Kuomintang, KMT ???) and Communists fought a major bloody civil war in mainland China.

Although the two sides were briefly united against Japan during World War II, they quickly began fighting again after the war was over. Eventually, the Communists gained decisive victory in 1948/49. The Nationalist government, the remnant of their army, and hundreds of thousands of refugees then fled to Taiwan. From Taipei, they continued to assert their right as the sole legitimate government of the whole China. Initially very repressive, the government began to loosen control in its fourth decade under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo. Taiwan also experienced rapid economic growth and modernisation under the leadership of Chiang Ching-kuo, becoming one of the world’s richest and most modern economies and earning it a place as one of the East Asian Tigers.

Taiwan photo

Photo by urbaguilera

Taiwan still remains a leader in consumer electronics and is home to well-known computer brands such as Acer, Asus, Garmin, Gigabyte and HTC. Democratization began in earnest through the 1980s and 1990s, culminating with the first direct presidential elections in 1996, and the first peaceful transition of power between two political parties in 2000. Taiwanese politics remain dominated by the issue of relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, which still claims Taiwan as a “renegade province” and regularly threatens military action if Taiwan claims its independence from China. There was a consensus made between PRC and ROC in 1992, namely the 1992 consensus in which both sides agree that there is only one China, but disagree on whether that China is interpreted as the PRC or the ROC.

To summarize a very complex situation, the Pan-Blue (??) group spearheaded by the KMT supports eventual unification with the mainland when the political climate is right, while the Pan-Green (??) group led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supports eventual independence under the name “Taiwan”. The split extends down to trivial issues like Chinese romanization — the KMT prefers the mainland’s Hanyu pinyin, the DPP prefers a Taiwan-made variant called Tongyong pinyin — and political demonstrations and rallies, always turbulent, on rare occasions even turn violent.

The one minute summary for Taiwan geography

Best places to see in Taiwan

Nature Entrance to Taroko Gorge Many people think of Taiwan as a grimy, densely populated industrial island full of hard disk factories, and you may well maintain this perception if you only stick to the densely populated West Coast. However, for those who take time to venture to the more sparsely populated East Coast will quickly find that Taiwan is actually home to some stunning landscapes. The Taroko Gorge (???) near Hualien in particular is very impressive, and should not be missed. Most of Taiwan is covered with mountains which offer breathtaking views, so hiking opportunities are very diverse.