The republic of Taiwan (formerly Formosa) is on an island 80 miles (130 km) off the southeast coast of mainland China, which still considers it to be a renegade province.


Mountain region covers two-thirds of the island. 

Highly fertile lowlands and coastal plains.


Tropical monsoon. 

Hot and humid. 

Typhoons July–September. 

Snow falls in mountains in winter.

People & Society:

Most Taiwanese are Han Chinese, descendants of the 1644 migration of the Ming dynasty from the mainland. 

The modern republic was created in 1949, when the nationalist Kuomintang was expelled from the mainland following Communist victory in the civil war. 

100,000 emigrĂ©s established themselves as a ruling class. 

Initial resentment has subsided as a new Taiwan-born generation has taken over the reins of power. 

The aboriginal minority suffers discrimination.


Successful economy of small, adaptable companies. 

High-tech goods: TVs, computers, and semiconductors. 

Rising trade, investment with China.

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