Archaeological finds prove that migrants from Austronesia settled on the island of Taiwan nearly 12,000 years ago. The descendants of these Aboriginal people have been divided into ten different peoples to this day, but other aboriginal groups are trying to assert themselves to be recognized by the government as members of autonomous tribes.
Taiwan was also the destination of Chinese merchants and pirates from an early age, but it was not until the 17th century that the Chinese settled there in greater numbers. These immigrants came mainly from Fujian Province and settled in the Western Plain. Most of their descendants are now ” Taiwanese “. Their language, the Hokkien or Fujian dialect, is regarded on the island as “Taiwanese”, although the official language is Mandarin Chinese. However, the messages are now conveyed in several languages on public transport and children learn at school at least one dialect or one of the languages of the Aborigines.
The first contact with Europeans, specifically with Portuguese sailors, dates back to the 16th century. Legend has it that when they saw Taiwan, they shouted ” Ilha Formosa “, the wonderful island. This is why Taiwan was known in the West as Formosa until the end of the 20th century. General Koxinga, who drove out the Dutch in 1661/62, made Tainan the first capital. Taiwan proliferated, and nearly a million Chinese settled there in the next century, despite the emperor’s ban on leaving the country.
But it was only between 1885 and 1895 that Taiwan had the status of a Chinese province with Taipei as its capital. After the Sino-Japanese war of 1894/95, China was forced to cede Taiwan to Japan. The 10/10/1911 took place in China an event which later also proved very significant for the island :
A military revolt in Wuchang, Hubei province, led to the fall of the Manchu dynasty and the final collapse of the Chinese Empire. Dr. Sun Yat-sen was appointed the first president of the New Republic of China on 1 January 1912.
Constitutionally, Taiwan is the legal successor of the First Republic of China, the National Day of the “Double-ten” (10.10.) is therefore always celebrated there. The Kuomintang (KMT) was created in 1912. From 1923 it became the most powerful political force ever to exist on the island. In 1927, General Chiang Kai-shek imposed himself against the “Warlords” of the dissolved Chinese Republic. But Japan then occupied parts of China from 1931 and war was declared between the two countries in 1937.
After Japan capitulated in World War II, The Republic of China administered Taiwan with the agreement of the Allies. The first KMT troops were transferred to Taiwan. Victory over the enemy from outside reinforced the long-disputed power struggle between the Kuomintang and the communists, triggering an open civil war in mainland China.
When the Chinese communists founded the People’s Republic of China on the mainland of China in 1949, the government led by the Kuomintang (KMT) of the Republic of China withdrew to Taiwan, where it retained control over Taiwan, the Pescadores archipelago (Penghu), Kinmen, Matsu, and many other small islands. The territories to the West and east of the Taiwan Strait have since been ruled separately and have developed different identities.
In terms of political development, Taiwan has become a free and vibrant democracy. The government repealed the right of war in 1987 and embarked on a series of political reforms to broaden the democratic process. In 1996, the president was first elected directly by the people. The result of the 2000 presidential elections put an end to half a century of KMT domination, which allowed for a peaceful change of power and gave way to the winning progressive Democratic Party (DPP).