Taiwan History

Taiwan History


The island of Taiwan was first mentioned in writing in Chinese documents dating from the 3rd century AD. come. Probably from the 6th century the first Chinese settlers came to the island from the mainland and gave it the name “Taiwan”, which means “terrace rising from the sea”. The new settlers drove the resident Malay Polynesian population into the mountainous interior.

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Changing domination

From the 13th century, the various Chinese ruling dynasties had bases for their fleet on the island, which were abandoned in the 16th century. In 1590, Portuguese seafarers were the first Europeans to discover the island and gave it the name “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island). Around 30 years later, the Dutch and the Spaniards also founded their first settlements in Taiwan, and from 1642 the Netherlands were able to secure dominance. When the Qing Dynasty (Manchu Dynasty, 1644-1912) was able to establish itself on the Chinese mainland, the followers of the defeated Ming Dynasty fled to the island of Taiwan and expelled the Dutch there in 1661. Just 20 years later, the island was no longer able to defend itself from the attacking Manchu troops and was annexed to the southern Chinese province of Fujian.By that time, the island ‘ s population had already risen sharply; by 1885, the population was around 2.5 million people.

In 1885, Taiwan was given the status of an independent Chinese province. After the defeat of China in the first Sino-Japanese war (1894/95), the island came under Japanese rule for 50 years. The wealthy island became a valuable supplier for Japan, which is poor in raw materials. Chinese was banned as the national language and Chinese culture was suppressed. The uprisings that broke out at the beginning of the occupation and the call for independence were fought massively.

The Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek

After Japan’s defeat in World War II, Taiwan returned to China in accordance with international agreements. Shortly after the end of the war, the alliance between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang (KMT) under President Chiang Kai-shek, who had formed in the fight against the Japanese threat in 1937, broke up there.

At first only the north of China was under the control of the Communist Party led by Mao Tse-tung, but in the fall of 1949 Chiang Kai-shek and around 1.2 million Kuomintang followers had to flee from the mainland to the island of Taiwan. In March 1950, Chiang Kai-shek proclaimed the National Republic of China with the capital Taipei. According to AbbreviationFinder, the Kuomintang became a state party. The government in Taipei saw itself as the only legitimate representation for all of China. Most other countries initially felt the same way: The National Republic of China was recognized and took the place of China in the UN. The United States sent military associations to Taiwan and helped build the Taiwanese military to protect against communist attacks. The People’s Republic of China, for its part, described Taiwan as a renegade province from this point in time.

With the help of the Western countries, among other things, Taiwan quickly developed into a modern industrialized country. When the People’s Republic of China increasingly emerged from political isolation in the early 1970s and opened up towards the west, the Chiang Kai-shek government lost the status of the only legitimate government in China at international level. In 1971 the People’s Republic of China was admitted to the UN, Taiwan was excluded. As a result, many states cut off their official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, trade relations with the island nation were maintained. However, it was not until 1995 that a Taiwanese statesman was allowed to enter the United States for the first time.

The Republic of China after Kai-shek’s death

In 1975, Chiang Kai-shek, who had ruled authoritarianly, who in 1975. His son Chiang Tsching-kuo, head of government for three years, became his successor as party leader of the KMT. Yen-Chia became president. In 1978 the country signed a friendship treaty with Japan and a process of cautious rapprochement with the PRC began. In the same year, the United States officially broke off diplomatic relations with Taipei, but economic and cultural contacts continued. At the same time, Chiang Tsching-kuo, now President of Taiwan, began a gradual process of democratization. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) was founded in Taiwan in 1986. A year later, the martial law that had been imposed in 1949 and has been in force since then.

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In 1988 there was another change of government: Lee Teng-hui, who was born in Taiwan, became the new chairman of the Kuomintang and the country’s president. A change in the party law a year later introduced the multi-party system. At that time, Taiwan had become the second largest industrialized country in Asia after Japan. Unofficial economic relations with the People’s Republic of China were established for the first time in the early 1990s, and the offers to reintegrate Taiwan as an independent province into the People’s Republic of China were still firmly rejected.

Again and again there were threatening gestures from the PRC off the coast of Taiwan in the form of large-scale maneuvers by the naval and air forces. In the first free presidential election in the Republic of China in March 1996, Lee Teng-hui was confirmed as head of state. The Kuomintang Party, whose declared goal was peaceful reunification with the Chinese motherland (on a democratic basis), won the National Assembly elections with a clear lead over the opposition DDP, which advocated independent Taiwan.

In 1998, only 28 states had diplomatic relations with Taiwan, thereby recognizing the country as a sovereign state, while the others viewed it as part of the whole of China. The Communist leadership of the People’s Republic of China continued to offer Taiwan the reintegration according to the “one country, two systems” model, as was first practiced with Hong Kong from 1997 and then also with the former Portuguese colony of Macao from 1999, while maintaining social and economic conditions systems (initially for a certain period of time). In contrast, the Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui turned his back on the so-called “One China Policy” in July 1999 and called for political equality in Taiwan (according to the principle “one people, two states”), which led to a massive deterioration in Sino-Taiwanese relations.

In the presidential elections in March 2000, the DDP representative Chen Shui-bian won for the first time in front of the Kuomintang candidate (the current incumbent president Lee Teng-hui was not allowed to run after two terms in office). Military and verbal threats from the PRC had once again preceded the elections. The new head of state, Chen Shui-bian, firmly opposed Taiwan’s reintegration. In the parliamentary elections at the beginning of December 2001, the DDP won the majority of seats in the parliament that the Kuomintang had previously held. However, after seven years in power, the DPP suffered a severe defeat in January 2008 due to President Chen Shui-bian’s confrontational and risky course for independence, which was accused of corruption. The Kuomintang candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, won the presidential election two months later. The new head of state is striving for a peace agreement and full economic and trade relations with China. In June 2008, direct political talks between Taiwan and China resumed for the first time in ten years, and relations have improved since then. President Ma Ying-jeou was confirmed in office in January 2012 and the Kuomintang was also able to win a majority in parliament.the Kuomintang was also able to get its majority in parliament.the Kuomintang was also able to get its majority in parliament.

Taiwan President