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Taiwan is situated in the Pacific Ocean about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland. Located about midway between Korea and Japan to the north and Hong Kong and Philippines to the south, Taiwan is a natural gateway for travelers to and within Asia.
Shaped roughly like a tobacco leaf, Taiwan is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89.5 miles) wide at its broadest point. The Central Mountain Range bisects Taiwan from north to south and about two-thirds of the island is covered with forested peaks. The rest of the island is made up of foothills, terraced flatlands, and coastal plains and basins. Taiwan includes Taiwan Island, the Penghu Islands --a group of 64 islands, and 80 other smaller neighboring islands and islets.
Taiwan History: Chronology of Important Events
230, King Sun Quan of the Kingdom of Wu dispatched generals Wei Wen and Zhuge Zhi, leading more than 10,000 troops, to "search for Yizhou on the sea." 607 and 608 respectively, general Zhu Kuan of the Sui Dynasty crossed the Taiwan Straits to arrive in Liuqiu (Taiwan).
610, Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty dispatched general Chen Leng and court official Zhang Zhenzhou to Taiwan with 10,000-plus troops.
1171, Wang Daqiu, prefect of Quanzhou, had 200 houses built in Penghu and stationed navy troops to defend it.
1280, Emperor Shizu (Khubla Khan) of the Yuan Dynasty passed Taiwan and Penghu on a punitive expedition to Japan.
1292, Emperor Shizu of the Yuan Dynasty sent goodwill envoys to Taiwan.
1292, the Yuan Dynasty established a military inspectorate in Penghu, which was put under the jurisdiction of Jinjiang County, Fujian Province.
1335, the Yuan government formalized the military inspectorate in Penghu.
From 1403 to 1424 (during Ming emperor Chengzu's reign), Zheng He's fleet stopped over in Taiwan.
1563 (42nd year of Ming emperor Jiajing's reign), Yu Daqiu and Qi Jiguang chased pirate Lin Daoqian to Taiwan.
1592, Japanese pirates invaded Keelung and Danshuei.
1602, a Dutch fleet led by Wybrand van Warwjick attacked Macao and was met with resistance from Chinese troops and civilians.
1604, the Ming government established military organization in Penghu and deployed troops there to counterattack Japanese invasions.
1615, the Tokugawa Bakufu of Japan sent 4,000 troops to invade Taiwan, but the troops were destroyed by typhoon.
1616, the Japanese military government sent ships to invade Taiwan and they were defeated by Ming troops.
1622 Dutch forces capture the Penghu Islands and build a base from which Dutch ships control traffic through the Taiwan Straits.
1624 The Dutch reach an agreement with the Chinese government to evacuate from the Penghu Islands in return for establishing settlement on Taiwan. This marks the beginning of Dutch colonial rule of Taiwan.
1625 The Dutch begin construction of two strong forts, Zelandia (Anping) and Providencia (Sakkam, part of present-day Tainan).
1626 Spanish forces seize Keelung to expand its control over northern Taiwan.
1642 Dutch forces capture major Spanish settlements in northern Taiwan, thereby consolidating control over the island.
1652 Guo Huai-I lead uprising against the Dutch.
1661 Cheng Ch'eng-kung, defeats Dutch forces, marking the end of Dutch colonial rule and the beginning of "Kingdom of Tung-tu" in Taiwan.
1683 Cheng Ch’eng-kung pledges allegiance to the rule of Qing government. Qing government designate Taiwan a dependency of the Fujian provincial administration.
1721 The uprising of Chu I-kuei.
1732 The uprising of Wu Fusheng
1786 The uprising of Lin Song-wen.
1795 The uprising of Chen Zhouquan.
1796 The uprising of Huang Dounai.
1805 The uprising of Lin Ping.
1811 The uprising of Gao Yong.
1823 The uprising of Lin Yongchun.
1854 American fleet led by Commodore Perry anchors at Keelung.
1862 The uprising of Dai Chaochun.
1874 The Japanese invade Taiwan. Japanese and Qing governments sign the Peking Treaty. Shen Pao-cheng, an administrator and reformer, is sent to handle affairs in Taiwan.
1885 Taiwan is made a province of China and Liu Ming-chuan becomes its first governor.
1886 Liu Ming-chuan introduces a series of reform measures.
1894 Sino-Japan War breaks out.
1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki concludes Sino-Japanese War; Taiwan is ceded to Japan "in perpetuity". Japanese forces enter Taipei for rule over Taiwan.
On May 25, Officials and people in Taiwan started to resist impending Japanese rule.
On Oct. 21, Japanese forces occupy Tainan.
1899 Bank of Taiwan begins operation.
1919 Movement breaks out on May 4th.
1920 Taiwanese students at Tokyo formed “Xinmin Association.
1943 Announcement of Cairo Declaration.
1945 Announcement of Potsdam Declaration. World War II ends with Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies.
1946 By April 25, over 90% of the Japanese are expelled from Taiwan.
1947 Conflict between civilians and the Monopoly Bureau agents sparks an island-wide uprising.
On February 28, a major rebellion breaks out against the rule of the KMT authorities. Chiang Kai-shek responds by sending troops from the mainland and conducting bloody suppression. Thousands of Taiwanese, most of them innocent, are massacred.
1948 Under the martial law, the Taiwanese are silenced, cowed by continuing arrests, imprisonments, and executions.
1949 The KMT government flees to Taiwan after defeat on the mainland. Taipei becomes the provisional capital of the KMT authorities. In December, Wu Kuo-chen is named governor of Taiwan.
1950 Taipei severs diplomatic relations with the U.K. after the latter establishes diplomatic ties with Beijing. In June, as a result of the Korean War, U.S. President Truman orders the Seventh Fleet of U.S. Navy sail into the Taiwan Straits, and the Thirteenth Fleet of U.S. Air Force be stationed on the Taiwan Island. This is meant to prevent the Chinese Government from liberating Taiwan by force.
1951 The American M.A.A.G.(Military Assistance and Advisory Group) begin operation in Taiwan. The Legislative Yuan adopts the "Farm Rent Reduction Act", which limits rent on farm land to 37.5 percent of the value of the crops, marking the first stage of Taiwan's land reform program.
1953 In January, Legislative Yuan adopts Land-to-the-Tiller Program--the second phase of land reform. First "Four-year economic plan" is announced.
1954 Chinese leaders in Beijing officially announces its decision to liberate Taiwan, and the PLA forces launch an artillery bombardment of Kinmen, the largest offshore island held by the KMT authorities in September.
In December, the U.S. and Taiwan sign the Defense Treaty in Washington, D.C.
1958 August 23, the PLA forces bombards Kinmen.
1959 August 7, the worst floods in more than half a century hit central and southern Taiwan.
1964 The People's Republic of China and the Republic of France establish diplomatic relations as of January 27, 1964.
1965 The Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone is inaugurated.
1969 The U.S. announces the Guam Doctrine, a new change in Asian policy, and as a result, the Seventh Fleet reduces its scale of patrol on the Taiwan Straits.
1971 On September 15, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger secretly visits China’s mainland.
October 25, the 26th U.N. General Assembly passes the No. 2758 Resolution, which restores to the “People's Republic of China” all its legitimate rights in the U.N. while expelling the "representatives" of the Taiwan authorities.
1972 U.S. President Nixon pays a visit to China in February.
1972 On February. 28, the United States of America and the People's Republic of China issue the Shanghai Communiqué.
1973 Taiwan begins a "Ten Major Construction Plan". On October 30, Tsengwen Dam and Reservoir, the largest in Taiwan, is inaugurated.
1975 On April 5, Chiang Kai-shek dies.
1978 On December 15, U.S. President Carter announces that the U.S. will de-recognize the “Republic of China”and will establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.
1979 N.P.C Standing Committee releases the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan on January 1, 1979, that contains policies for the peaceful liberation of Taiwan.
On Jan. 1, the Peoples Republic of China and the United States of America established formal diplomatic relations.
U.S. President Carter signs into law the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act", which passes through the U.S. Congress in March.
On December 25, the "Hsinchu Scientific Industrial Zone" for developing hi-tech industry is inaugurated.
1981 On September 30, Ye Jianying, Chairman of the N.P.C. Standing Committee, elaborates on the policy concerning the Taiwan’s return to the embrace of the motherland for the realization of peaceful reunification.
1982 Deng Xiaoping puts forward the concept of “one country, two systems" for the first time on January 11.
The Chinese and U.S governments issue the China-U.S. August 17 Joint Communiqué, in which the U.S. Government reiterates that it has no intention to pursue a policy of "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan", and it "does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, and it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution".
1986 In September, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), made up of opposition politicians, announces its formation.
In December, Taiwan holds its first two-party election, with the KMT competing against the DPP. The KMT wins.
1987 On June 23, the Legislative Yuan passes the National Security Law that will replace Martial Law.
On July 15, the Emergency Decree, generally called martial law, is terminated. The National Security Law goes into effect.
In October, minister of interior Wu Boxiong announces that residents of Taiwan may apply for permits to travel to the mainland.
1988 In January, new regulations go into effect allowing new newspapers to publish and all papers to increase the number of pages printed.
On January 13, Chiang Ching-kuo dies. Lee Teng-hui is sworn in as "president".
On January 27, Lee Teng-hui is elected chairman of the KMT central committee.
On July 7, the KMT opens its 13th congress. The ruling party democratizes many of its rules and procedures and elects a majority of Taiwanese to its standing committee.
1989 On January 18, the Taiwan Affair Office is formed in China's State Department.
Population of Taiwan exceeds 20 million.
1990 In April, the Taiwan authorities announce the termination of the "Period of Mobilization".
1991 In January, the Executive Yuan approves a Six-Year Development Plan aimed at improving the nation's economic infrastructure. Plan will cost over US$300 billion.
On November 21, SEF is formed in Taiwan.
On December 16, ARATS is founded in China’s Mainland.
1992 On August 22, the Republic of Korea breaks diplomatic relations with Taipei and establishes ties with the People’s Republic of China.
1993 On February 27, Lien Chan is sworn in as premier of the Executive Yuan in Taiwan.
On April 9, Lee announces that Taiwan will actively seek participation in the United Nations while calling for international support for this effort.
On April 27, two days of talks between representative of the mainland and Taiwan begin in Singapore. The so-called Koo Wang Talks are considered a historical breakthrough.
In August, ex-KMT politicians form the "New Party".
1995 On January 30, on the eve of the Chinese New Year's Day, President Jiang Zemin announces "8-point Proposal " for the peaceful reunification.
On April 8, Lee Teng-hui announces his Six Principles" in response to President Jiang's "8-point Proposal".
On May 22, U.S. State Department spokesman announces formally that U.S. President Clinton has decided to allow Lee Teng-hui "to pay a private visit to the United States in the capacity of an alumnus of Carneil University".
On June 8, Lee visits the U.S. university.
In July, China’s mainland launches test missiles at the East China Sea.
1996 On March 23, for the first time in Taiwan history, an election for Taiwan president and vice president takes place. Lee Teng-hui and Lien Chan win the election with 54 percent of popular votes.
In March, the U.S. sends a task fleet composed of two aircraft carriers toward areas close to the Taiwan Straits, in an attempt to show off its military muscles, while the PLA conducts a military exercise in the Straits.
1997 On July 1, Hong Kong returns to the motherland.
1998 U.S. President Bill Clinton publicly reiterates during his visit to China’s mainland that the U.S. adheres to the "one China" policy and abides by the principles of the three China-U.S. Joint Communiqués, and that the U.S. Government does not support the positions of "Taiwan independence", "one China, one Taiwan" or "two Chinas" and Taiwan's joining any international organizations of sovereign nations (“Three No” policy).
1999 On January 21, 1999, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman express grave concern over the U.S. announcement of the plan to develop National Missile Defense(NMD) and Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) systems.
On July 9, Li Teng-hui has taken a dangerous step on the road to separating the nation by openly defines the cross-Straits relations as "state to state" relations, flagrantly declaring his "two states theory", which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland.
On December 20, Macao return to the embrace of the motherland.
2000 Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office of the State Council release the white paper titled The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue in February.
On March 18, Chen Shui-bian is elected the new leader of Taiwan.
On October 16, the Information Office of the State Council releases the white paper titled China’s National Defence 2000.
On October 26, the Committee on International Relations of the U.S. House of Representatives passes the revised Taiwan Security Enhancement Act.
On November 17, Wu Boxiong, vice chairman of the KMT central committee, visited the China’s mainland.