Taiwan History

Taiwan History

Inhabited by groups of Indonesian origin, the island of Taiwan hosted Chinese settlements starting from the 14th century. Reached in 1623 by the Dutch, in 1683 it became part of the Chinese Empire. Annexed in 1895 by Japan, it returned to China in 1945. The nationalist government of Guomindang, defeated by the communist revolution in mainland China, took refuge there in 1949. Led by Jiang Jieshi with extraordinary powers, the nationalist government was strongly supported, economically and militarily, by the USA (mutual defense treaty in 1954), continuing to claim sovereignty over the whole of China and maintained Chinese representation at the UN until 1971, when he was expelled to the advantage of Communist Mainland China, which in the meantime had politically distanced itself from the USSR and moved closer to the West. Despite diplomatic isolation, Taiwan long maintained a closed attitude towards Beijing which, starting from 1981, began to put forward proposals for reunification on the basis of broad autonomy for Taiwan. It was only after 1987 that a cautious process of detente was initiated.

Internally, President Jiang Jieshi who died in 1975 was succeeded by Vice President Yan Jiagan ; Jiang Jieshi’s son Jiang Jingguo was elected to the presidency of Guomindang, who in 1978 also assumed the office of President of the Republic. After the death (1988) of Jiang Jingguo (who in 1987 had abolished the martial law in force since 1949), the new president of the Republic and of Guomindang, Li Denghui, started a cautious liberalization of political life, also favoring an increase in the presence Taiwanese in the governing bodies. In 1991 the return to constitutional normality was announced, which involved, among other things, a downsizing of presidential powers. The political dominance of the Guomindang was however confirmed by the multi-party political elections (1992). In March 1996, by winning the first direct universal suffrage elections for the presidency of the Republic, Li Denghui was confirmed in office.

According to localcollegeexplorer, relations with the Republic improved on the commercial level People of China remained politically tense. The Taiwanese government was also deeply concerned by the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty (1997). The tension culminated after the Democratic Progressive Party (PPD) victory in the 2000 presidential election, which ended the Guomindang monopoly and led to Chen Shuibian (reappointed in 2004) as President of the Republic. The latter, while reaffirming the principle of “two states”, tried to initiate a process of detente, interrupted, however, by the anti-secession law issued in 2005 by Beijing, to which Shuibian responded with the acceleration of the country’s independence process from Beijing government. A significant resumption of dialogue with Beijing took place after the return of Guomindang to the government of the country with the election to the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou (2008, reconfirmed in 2012); important for the rapprochement between the two countries is the historic meeting – the first since 1945 – which took place in November 2015 in Singapore between presidents Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, although the diplomatic turnaround must be framed in the context of the need to maintain peace and stability in the Strait. Another historic turning point for Taiwan was the election as president of the country, in January 2016, of the jurist Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the pro-independence opposition represented by the PPD and the first woman to hold this position in the country, reconfirmed for a second presidential term in January 2020.


The territory is mountainous in the eastern section, with a main chain that follows, somewhat shifted towards the E, the major axis of the island of Taiwan, with a NNE-SSW direction, leaving a wider slope and slopes to the West, where it opens a vast coastal plain, while to the East the relief is steeper and approaches the coastal edge. The morphology, rejuvenated by the tertiary orogenesis, is harsh, characterized by high altitudes (Yu Shan, 3997 m). Situated on the contact margin between the Eurasian plate and the Pacific one, Taiwan is affected by the widespread presence of volcanic soils and by marked seismicity.

The island is crossed by the Tropic of Cancer and lapped by a warm ocean current (Curo Scivo): the climate is, therefore, of a hot-humid type, subject to monsoon influences, however limited by the arrangement of the relief. Average monthly temperatures record more marked excursions on the western side (Taipei 15.5 ° C in January; 28 ° C in July) compared to the eastern side (22-27 ° C), which is more exposed to precipitation; the latter reach 2000-2500 mm per year, exceeding 3000 mm on the SE mountain slopes (often hit by summer typhoons) and dropping to 1500 mm in some western regions.

The development of hydrography, due to the configuration of the territory itself, is modest: the major rivers (which, however, do not exceed 170 km in length) flow towards the W and N, while short and precipitous are the rivers that flow in the Pacific Ocean; all have a somewhat irregular regime.

Taiwan History