Taiwan is an island off the coast of mainland China in the Pacific Ocean. Also known as Formosa and Peng Lai, it was first known to the Europeans through a Portuguese ship spotting it and giving it the name of ''Ilha Formosa'' (Beautiful Island). It is believed that the indigenous Taiwanese population first arrived there during the late Ice Ages. The indigenous Taiwanese speak Austronesian languages related to the Malayo-Polynesian languages of Southeast Asia and Oceania; genetic studies show that they are most closely related to the peoples of the Philippines (which truth be told aren't that far away). The Chinese, who after all were not that far away, were aware of the island, but they mostly left the place undisturbed because of the fearsomeness of the tribespeople and the lack of valuable goods for trade. Some of the islands off the coast had attracted a fishing colony by the 13th century, but it wasn't until the 16th century that the Chinese started settling in Taiwan in any significant numbers.

Europeans noticed the island at about the same time. Though the first Europeans to take note of Taiwan were Portuguese (hence "Formosa"), they did not lay claim to the island. Instead, control of Formosa was disputed by the Spanish and the Dutch, with the latter eventually prevailing. Then in 1661, a Ming loyalist named Zheng Chenggong (a.k.a. Guoxingye, "Bearer of the Nation's Name", which was [[UsefulNotes/WhyMaoChangedHisName transliterated]] as Koxinga) assembled a fleet and expelled the Dutch, hoping to turn Formosa into a base for the reconquest of the mainland from the Qing.

But in 1683, the new dynasty claimed the island, and ruled it until they lost the First Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese held Taiwan from 1895 until the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, after which it fell into the hands of China's Nationalist government. When they lost the Chinese Civil War to [[UsefulNotes/RedChina the communists]], the dictator UsefulNotes/ChiangKaiShek and the other Nationalists fled to the island. Mao had plans to follow Chiang and capture Taiwan in 1949, but the United States sent their Seventh Fleet to dissuade that, and an [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Guningtou attempted PLA invasion]] of Taiwan failed. Since then Taiwan maintained a quasi-sovereign status thanks to the protection of the United States. It was placed under martial law from 1949 to the 1980s, when Chiang's son and successor, Chiang Ching-kuo, followed by the first actually 'Taiwanese' president, [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese Army veteran]] Lee Teung-Hui, began to democratize the nation's political system, turning it from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy. Also around this time, the incredibly wealthy government-in-exile (the ruling nationalist party, Kuomintang, ''personally'' had holdings worth around $10 billion US, a consequence of capitalist police state rule) started to lose control: while Taiwan would become one of the Four Great Asian Tigers, Taipei itself lost most international recognition as the government of all of China (only apartheid [[UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica South Africa]] remained an ally).

A curious quirk which remains as a result of the above is that both the People's Republic and the Republic of China acknowledge that there is only one China... and that they are the rightful government of all that China, with the other government being in effect a rebellion. Don't bring up the alternative - it's SeriousBusiness and likely to get you BannedInChina [[note]] Although it's relatively safe to discuss the role of the Nationalists during the warlord era and the UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar [[/note]].

Starting in the late Eighties/early Nineties, the opposition parties gained more voice in the public arena, especially given the Nationalist party's rampant corruption issues and endless infighting. (The Nationalists were never particularly popular in Taiwan outside of the party and the military, since they were seen to be ignoring "native" Taiwanese interests... never mind that indigenous Taiwanese had been confined to reservations long before the Nationalists arrived.) As pressure mounted, the Nationalist party began removing restrictions on free speech and free press, and Congress began the long, arduous process of amending the constitution to correct the most obvious inequities.

In the Late Nineties, the left-leaning pan-Green coalition won the Presidency, launching Taiwan back into the realm of international politics as then-President Chen Shui-bian began proclaiming that Taiwan was seeking its independence from China; previous to this, both Taiwan and mainland China had laid claim to all of China despite neither having formal diplomatic or economic relations with each other until the early 2000s. Still, no serious move towards independence materialized, combined with a general economic downturn linked to Japan's economic bubble burst and rumbles of even worse corruption began to surface. Since 2008, changing political fortunes inflicted a catastrophic blow on the pan-Green coalition (including the DPP), with the pan-Blues (led by the KMT) winning a supermajority in the legislature and regaining the presidency. In particular, a return of the 80s-style capitalist supercorruption among leading political figures, including DPP President Chen (who had already met his term limits, and was arrested on said charges) hurt the DPP's reputation substantially.

A quirk that Taiwan is infamous for is the [[BloodOnTheDebateFloor fist fights between its parliamentarians]]. The Taiwanese even had a word for it, called Legislative Brawling (立委群毆). Needless to say, this earned the Taiwanese parliament a notorious reputation, at some point, according to detractors, the parliamentarians even stage fights merely to maintain the reputation and garner attention.

Unique among most of Japan's neighbors, the relationship between Japan and Taiwan has been generally positive and easygoing, with relatively few bitter grudges stemming from the Japanese occupation, especially considering that Taiwan was spared most of the horrors of the UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar. It saw no significant land battles (though hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese fought in the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese Army]], and the island was devastated by American bombing which destroyed more than 90% of its industrial and electric output). The Japanese occupation ended after [=WW2=] when the Allies handed over Taiwan to the Republic of China, but decades of SecretPolice arrests and executions--called the "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Terror_(Taiwan) White Terror]]"--under the Chinese ended up creating a popular nostalgia for the time when Taiwan was a colony of the Japanese Empire.
During the authoritarian rule of Chiang Kai-shek's military dictatorship, hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese were first involved in a violent uprising (following the infamous [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_28_Incident 228 Incident]] in Taipei), or targeted in subsequent terror period, with tens of thousands being arrested, executed or otherwise "disappeared", usually for being accused of communist sympathies, in one of the longest periods of martial law in modern history. Many were completely innocent, and the purges nearly destroyed the Taiwanese intellectual elite. Since then, many Taiwanese resent the KMT and Chiang for killing or imprisoning friends and family, compared to Imperial Japan's fairly gentle treatment of the Taiwanese Hoklo. However, indigenous Taiwanese tend to support the KMT-although the KMT tried to assimilate aborigines into Han Chinese culture, they also introduced patronage programs that allow indigenous Taiwanese to get jobs. Additionally, the Japanese racially persecuted the indigenous Taiwanese, frequently sending the army to commit violent pogroms against them.

The period of Japanese rule has since left a few cultural marks. Among these are the integration of certain [[GratuitousJapanese Japanese phrases]] into the local vernacular, including ObaSan (strictly in the sense of "older woman"), and some Japanese foods. Japanese pop culture also has a strong presence, especially in the forms of music and manga, and a few Japanese television channels (including NHK) are available. The older generation will sometimes speak Japanese among themselves instead of [[UsefulNotes/ChineseLanguage Mandarin]] or [[UsefulNotes/ChineseDialectsAndAccents Taiwanese]].

Mandarin is the standard spoken language these days. About 70% of residents also speak Taiwanese Hokkien, commonly known as Taiwanese, which is a Hokkien dialect of Min Nan, where most of the Taiwanese came from. Hakka or ''Ke Jia Hua'' is also spoken by a substantial minority. The aboriginals' languages belong to the entirely different Austronesian language family; it's widely considered to be the ancestral homeland or near-homeland of the family, as it harbors about nine different subfamilies of the family, with the tenth family being the Malayo-Polynesian family (which includes Malay, Indonesian, and a large number of Polynesian languages including Maori, Tongan, Samoan, and Hawaiian). English is widely taught but proficiency is highly variable. Evidently from the image above some places still uses the [[UsefulNotes/WhyMaoChangedHisName Wade-Giles system]]. Taiwan has also keep to traditional Chinese characters writing.

For Taiwanese LiveActionTV series, please click [[TaiwaneseSeries here]]. Like UsefulNotes/HongKong Cantonese songs, Taiwan Chinese pop songs are widely enjoyed by Chinese. Taiwan is rather popular with night markets and temple festivals, and renowned for inventing [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea bubble tea]].

!!Taiwan and its inhabitants in fiction:

* One Creator/DaleBrown novel has China attack Taiwan.
* ''Sino-Dutch War 1661'' (鄭成功 1661) by Wu Ziniu is about Zheng Chenggong.
* ''Film/TheWeddingBanquet'' is about a Taiwanese immigrant to the US whose parents come from the old country on the occasion of his wedding.
* ''Film/BetelnutBeauty'' depicts the quintessentially Taiwanese practice of having scantily-clad pretty young women sell betelnuts to passing motorists from roadside booths.
** By Lin Cheng-sheng, see also ''Murmur Of Youth'' (美麗在唱歌) and ''Sweet Degeneration'' (放浪).
* Another film that deals with the betelnut beauty phenomenon is ''Help Me, Eros'' (幫幫我,愛神) by Lee Kang-sheng.
* ''Film/YiYi'' is a SliceOfLife story centered on an ordinary Taiwanese family.
** By Edward Yang, see also ''Film/ABrighterSummerDay'' (牯嶺街少年殺人事件).
* ''Film/ThreeTimes'' is a BoyMeetsGirl story that takes place three times over, at three different points in the modern history of Taiwan. It shows how much its society and culture have changed over the past century.
* Other movies by Creator/HouHsiaoHsien that deal either with recent Taiwanese history or life in Taiwan are:
** ''The Sandwich Man'' (兒子的大玩偶)
** ''The Boys From Fengkuei'' (風櫃來的人)
** ''The Green, Green Grass Of Home'' (在那河畔青草青)
** ''A Summer At Grandpa's'' (冬冬的假期)
** ''A Time To Live, A Time To Die'' (童年往事)
** ''Dust In The Wind'' (戀戀風塵)
** ''Daughter Of The Nile'' (尼羅河女兒)
** ''City Of Sadness'' (悲情城市)
** ''The Puppetmaster'' (戲夢人生)
** ''Good Men, Good Women'' (好男好女)
** ''Goodbye South, Goodbye'' (南國再見,南國)
** ''Millennium Mambo'' (千禧曼波)
* ''Strawman'' (稻草人), set during the Japanese occupation.
* The critically acclaimed ''Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale'', based on the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musha_incident Musha Incident]], where the Seediq indigenous group retaliated against the Japanese occupation.
* Thunderlord, aka Liang Xih-K'ai, is the {{Superhero}} from ''ComicBook/GlobalGuardians'' and he is the Buddhist monk from Taiwan.
* DarkActionGirl and martial-arts assassin Shenhua of ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' is Taiwanese.
* ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'' has a MoeAnthropomorphism of Taiwan, represented as [[{{Moe}} a cute]] PluckyGirl. In her two sort-of canon appearances, she first tells China to stay aside and not harass Japan, and later she endlessly teases China over his TotallyRadical way to think.
** She recently [[ADayInTheLimelight got a full strip in the fourth manga volume]]. In it she tries to read Japan's fortune, makes bets with UsefulNotes/HongKong and UsefulNotes/{{Macau}} about China (and loses), has LesYay with Vietnam as they take some photos, and tries to get Italy to buy souvenirs. She also gets to doll up as an internet idol (namedly, ''Silverlight'') in ''Manga/{{Hetaween 2011}}'', interacting quite a bit with the other Asians.
* ''ColoursByNumbers'' has Chinese Taipei as having the only competitor that did worse than two of the Australians in the World Sudoku Championships.
* ''VideoGame/{{Cytus}}'' features the special Timeline chapter, a telling of Taiwanese history through music, visual art, and an EasterEgg webpage, starting at 6 million BC and going into the present, and then continuing into predictions of the future to tell a GreenAesop.
* ''Manga/{{Nobunagun}}'' starts with a Japanese school trip to Taiwan, specifically to the southern city of Kaohsiung and the very colorful temples near [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Pond,_Kaohsiung Lotus Pond]]. The main character encounters a food stall owner who learned Japanese from his grandfather. And then the monsters attack.

!! See also:
* TaiwaneseMedia

[[folder: The Taiwanese flag ]]

->The red field symbolizes livelihood and fraternity, as well as the blood of those who fell in the uprisings against the Qing Dynasty; at the canton is the ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Sky_with_a_White_Sun Blue Sky with a White Sun]]'', the symbol of the Kuomintang, whose blue field symbolizes nationalism and liberty; at its center is the Sun with twelve rays, each signifying the months of the year and the twelve Chinese hours (2 modern hours) in a day, symbolizing progress, colored white to symbolize democracy and equality.