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21 min
History of Taiwan
6000 BCE - 2022

History of Taiwan

Words: Something Something

COVER ART: Anonymous



The history of the island of Taiwan dates back tens of thousands of years to the earliest known evidence of human habitation. The sudden appearance of a culture based on agriculture around 3000 BC is believed to reflect the arrival of the ancestors of today's Taiwanese indigenous peoples. From the late 13th to early 17th centuries, Chinese people gradually came into contact with Taiwan and started settling there. Named Formosa by Portuguese explorers, the south of the island was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century whilst the Spanish built a settlement in the north which lasted until 1642. These European settlements were followed by an influx of Hoklo and Hakka people immigrating from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.



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Taiwan's Indigenous Peoples, Briefly Explained | © Asianometry


CHAPTER   1

First human inhabitants of Taiwan

6000 BCE Jan 1

Taiwan



Chipped-pebble tools dating from perhaps as early as 15,000 years ago suggest that the initial human inhabitants of Taiwan were Paleolithic cultures of the Pleistocene era. These people survived by eating marine life. Archeological evidence points to an abrupt change to the Neolithic era around 6,000 years ago, with the advent of agriculture, domestic animals, polished stone adzes and pottery. The stone adzes were mass-produced on Penghu and nearby islands, from the volcanic rock found there. This suggests heavy sea traffic took place between these islands and Taiwan at this time.


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Eastern Wu Expedition
Tang dynasty portrait of Sun Quan by Yan Liben


CHAPTER   2

Eastern Wu Expedition

230 Jan 1

Taiwan



In 230, the island of Taiwan was reached by the Chinese during the Three Kingdoms period under the reign of Sun Quan. Contact with the native population and the dispatch of officials to an island named "Yizhou" (夷州) by the Wu navy might have been to Taiwan, but the location of Yizhou is open to dispute; some historians believe it was Taiwan, while others believe it was the Ryukyu Islands.


Yizhou is the name of an island, commonly identified as Taiwan, described in the account of an expedition undertaken by the Eastern Wu dynasty of China in AD 230. 90 percent of the sailors died on the voyage but the survivors still managed to kidnap "several thousand" natives, probably Taiwanese aborigines.


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Emigration from China: Hoklos
Hoklo architecture styled Lukang Longshan Temple, with its distinguished swallowtail-roof


CHAPTER   3

Emigration from China: Hoklos

600 Jan 1

Fujian Province



Emigration of the Chinese to Taiwan took place as early as in the seventh century during the Sui dynasty. The early immigrants came mostly from Amoy and Chuanchow in Fukien province and were called Hoklo, meaning the "old people from Fukien". 


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Chinese fishermen settle on the Penghu Islands
A portrait of Emperor Gaozong of Song (r. 1127–1162)


CHAPTER   4

Chinese fishermen settle on the Penghu Islands

1171 Jan 1

Penghu, Magong City, Penghu Co



Han Chinese from southern Fujian began to establish fishing communities on the islands in the 9th and 10th centuries, and representatives were intermittently stationed there by the Southern Song and Yuan governments from around 1170. In 1170, the Song dynasty stationed officers at the Penghu Islands. In 1171, Chinese fishermen settled on the Penghu Islands.


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First Europeans on Taiwan


CHAPTER   5

First Europeans on Taiwan

1582 Jan 1

Tainan, Taiwan



Portuguese sailors, passing Taiwan in 1544, first jotted in a ship's log the name of the island Ilha Formosa, meaning "Beautiful Island". In 1582, the survivors of a Portuguese shipwreck spent ten weeks (45 days) battling malaria and aborigines before returning to Macau on a raft.


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Tokugawa Shogunate Invasion
A Japanese Red seal ship


CHAPTER   6

Tokugawa Shogunate Invasion

1616 Jan 1

Nagasaki, Japan



In 1616, Murayama Tōan was directed by the Tokugawa Shogunate to invade Taiwan. This followed a first exploratory mission by Arima Harunobu in 1609. The objective was to establish a base for the direct supply of silk from China, instead of having to supply it from Portuguese-controlled Macao or Spanish-controlled Manila.


Murayama had a fleet of 13 ships and around 4,000 men, under the command of one of his sons. They left Nagasaki on 15 May 1616. The invasion attempt ended in failure however. A typhoon dispersed the fleet and put an early end to the invasion effort. The king of Ryukyu Sho Nei had warned Ming China of the Japanese intentions to capture the island and to use it as a trading base with China, but in any case only one ship managed to reach the island and it was repelled by local forces. The single ship was ambushed in a Formosan creek, and all her crew committed suicide ("seppuku") to avoid capture. Several ships diverted themselves to plunder the Chinese coast and are reported "to have killed above 1,200 Chinese, and taken all the barkes or junks they met withal, throwing the people overboard".


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The Dutch start building a fort at Penghu


CHAPTER   7

The Dutch start building a fort at Penghu

1622 Jan 1

Penghu, Taiwan



At this time, the Dutch East India Company was trying to force China to open a port in Fujian to Dutch trade and expel the Portuguese from Macau. When the Dutch were defeated by the Portuguese at the Battle of Macau in 1622, they seized Penghu, built a fort there, and threatened raids on Chinese ports and shipping unless the Chinese allowed trading with them on Penghu and that China not trade with Manila. In response, the Chinese governor of Fujian demanded that the Dutch withdraw from Penghu to Taiwan, where the Chinese would permit them to engage in trade. The Dutch continued to raid the Fujian coast between October 1622 and January 1624 to force their demands, but were unsuccessful. In 1624, the new governor of Fujian sent a fleet of 40–50 warships with 5,000 troops to Penghu and expelled the Dutch, who moved to Fort Zeelandia on Taiwan.


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Spanish Formosa
Spanish Formosa


CHAPTER   8

Spanish Formosa

1626 Jan 1 - 1642

Keelung, Taiwan



Spanish Formosa was a small colony of the Spanish Empire established in the northern tip of the island known to Europeans at the time as Formosa (now Taiwan) from 1626 to 1642. It was ceded to the Dutch Republic during the Eighty Years' War. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the island off the southern coast of China in 1544, and named it Formosa (Portuguese for "beautiful") due to the beautiful landscape as seen from the sea.


Northern Taiwan became a Spanish colony in 1626 and part of the Manila-based Spanish East Indies. As a Spanish colony, it was meant to protect the regional trade with the Philippines from interference by the Dutch base in the south of the island. The colony was short-lived due to the loss of its strategic importance and unwillingness by Spanish authorities in Manila to commit more resources to its defence. After seventeen years, the last fortress of the Spanish was besieged by Dutch forces and eventually fell, giving the Dutch control over much of the island.


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Hakkas in Taiwan
Hakka woman in Taiwan


CHAPTER   9

Hakkas in Taiwan

1630 Jan 1

Hainan, China



The Hakkas were living in Honan and Shantung provinces of north central China about the third century B.C. Then they were compelled to move south of the Yangtze river to escape invading hordes of such nomads as the Tatars and Mongols from the north. They finally settled down in Kiangsi, Fukien, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, and Hainan. They were called "strangers" by the native peoples.


The first exodus of Hakkas to Taiwan took place around 1630 when a severe famine afflicted the mainland.


By the time of the Hakkas' arrival, the best land had been taken by the Hoklos and the cities were already established. Additionally, the two peoples spoke different dialects. The "strangers" found it difficult to find a place in the Hoklo communities. Most Hakkas were relegated to rural areas, where they farmed marginal land. The majority of Hakkas still live in such agricultural counties as Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Pingtung. Those in Chiayi, Hualien, and Taitung migrated there from other areas during the Japanese occupation.


The second immigration of Hakkas to Taiwan was in the years just after 1662, when Cheng Cheng-kung, a general of the Ming court and known as Koxinga in the West, expelled the Dutch from the island. Some historians assert that Cheng, a native of Amoy, was a Hakka. Thus the Hakkas once more became "strangers", because most of those who migrated to Taiwan came after the 16th century.


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Battle of Liaoluo Bay


CHAPTER   10

Battle of Liaoluo Bay

1633 Jul 7 - 1633 Oct 19

Fujian, China



The Battle of Liaoluo Bay took place in 1633 off the coast of Fujian, China; involving the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Chinese Ming dynasty's navies. The battle was fought at the crescent-shaped Liaoluo Bay that forms the southern coast of the island of Kinmen. A Dutch fleet under Admiral Hans Putmans was attempting to control shipping in the Taiwan Strait, while the southern Fujian sea traffic and trade was protected by a fleet under Brigadier General Zheng Zhilong. This was the largest naval encounter between Chinese and European forces before the Opium Wars two hundred years later.


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Dutch pacification campaign
Robert Junius, one of the leaders of the Mattau expedition


CHAPTER   11

Dutch pacification campaign

1635 Jan 1 - 1632

Tainan, Taiwan



The Dutch pacification campaign on Formosa was a series of military actions and diplomatic moves undertaken in 1635 and 1636 by Dutch East India Company (VOC) in Dutch-era Taiwan (Formosa) aimed at subduing hostile aboriginal villages in the southwestern region of the island. Prior to the campaign the Dutch had been in Formosa for eleven years, but did not control much of the island beyond their principal fortress at Tayouan (present-day Anping, Tainan), and an alliance with the town of Sinkan. The other aboriginal villages in the area conducted numerous attacks on the Dutch and their allies, with the chief belligerents being the village of Mattau, who in 1629 ambushed and slaughtered a group of sixty Dutch soldiers.


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End of Dutch influence: Siege of Fort Zeelandia
Fort Zeelandia


CHAPTER   12

End of Dutch influence: Siege of Fort Zeelandia

1661 Mar 30 - 1662 Feb 1

Fort Zeelandia, Guosheng Road,



The siege of Fort Zeelandia of 1661–1662 ended the Dutch East India Company's rule over Taiwan and began the Kingdom of Tungning's rule over the island.


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Koxinga | © Kings and Generals


CHAPTER   13

Kingdom of Tungning

1661 Jun 14 - 1683

Tainan, Taiwan



The Kingdom of Tungning was a dynastic maritime state that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan) and the Penghu islands between 1661 and 1683. It is the first predominantly Han Chinese state in Taiwanese history. At its zenith, the kingdom's maritime power dominated varying extents of coastal regions of southeastern China and controlled the major sea lanes across both China Seas, and its vast trade network stretched from Japan to Southeast Asia.


The kingdom was founded by Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong) after seizing control of Taiwan, a foreign land at the time outside China's boundaries, from Dutch rule. Zheng hoped to restore the Ming dynasty in Mainland China, when the Ming remnants' rump state in southern China was progressively conquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The Zheng dynasty used the island of Taiwan as a military base for their Ming loyalist movement which aimed to reclaim mainland China from the Qing. Under Zheng rule, Taiwan underwent a process of sinicization in an effort to consolidate the last stronghold of Han Chinese resistance against the invading Manchus. Until its annexation by the Qing dynasty in 1683, the kingdom was ruled by Koxinga's heirs, the House of Koxinga, and the period of rule is sometimes referred to as the Koxinga dynasty or the Zheng dynasty.


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Start of Qing Rule
Qing dynasty Navy


CHAPTER   14

Start of Qing Rule

1683 Jul 1

Penghu, Taiwan



The Battle of Penghu was a naval battle fought in 1683 between the Qing dynasty and the Kingdom of Tungning. The Qing admiral Shi Lang led a fleet to attack the Tungning forces in Penghu. Each side possessed more than 200 warships. The Tungning admiral Liu Guoxuan was outmaneuvered by Shi Lang, whose forces outnumbered him three to one. Liu surrendered when his flagship ran out of ammunition and fled to Taiwan. The loss of Penghu resulted in the surrender of Zheng Keshuang, the last king of Tungning, to the Qing dynasty.


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Lin Shuangwen rebellion
The Qing fleet returning from Taiwan


CHAPTER   15

Lin Shuangwen rebellion

1786 Jan 1 - 1785

Taiwan



The Lin Shuangwen rebellion occurred in 1787–1788 in Taiwan under the rule of the Qing dynasty. The rebellion was started by the rebel Lin Shuangwen and was pacified by the Qianlong Emperor. Lin Shuangwen was then executed.


It started when the Qing Taiwan governor Sun Jingsui outlawed the anti-Qing Tiandihui society and arrested Lin Shuangwen's uncles. Lin then formed an army to resist. Lin's forces attacked several Taiwan sites, including the homes of the Quanzhou and Hakka people. The Qing sent troops to quell the rebellion and execute Lin and the rebels.


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Formosa Expedition
Attack of United States Marines and Sailors on the pirates of the island of Formosa, East Indies, Harper's Weekly


CHAPTER   16

Formosa Expedition

1867 Jun 1

Hengchun, Hengchun Township, P



The Formosa Expedition was a punitive expedition launched by the United States against the Paiwan, an indigenous Taiwanese tribe. The expedition was undertaken in retaliation for the Rover incident, in which the Rover, an American bark, was wrecked and its crew massacred by Paiwan warriors in March 1867. A United States Navy and Marine company landed in southern Taiwan and attempted to advance into the Paiwan village. The Paiwan responded with guerrilla warfare, repeatedly ambushing, skirmishing, disengaging and retreating. Eventually, the Marines' commander was killed and they retreated to their ship due to fatigue and heat exhaustion, and the Paiwan dispersed and retreated into the jungle. The action is regarded as an American failure.


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Keelung campaign
La Galissonnière bombards the Chinese defences at Keelung, 5 August 1884


CHAPTER   17

Keelung campaign

1884 Aug 1 - 1885 Mar

Taiwan, Northern Taiwan



The Keelung campaign (August 1884–April 1885) was a controversial military campaign undertaken by the French in northern Formosa (Taiwan) during the Sino-French War. After making a botched attack on Keelung in August 1884, the French landed an expeditionary corps of 2,000 men and captured the port in October 1884. Unable to advance beyond their bridgehead, they were invested inside Keelung by superior Chinese forces under the command of the imperial commissioner Liu Mingchuan. In November and December 1884 cholera and typhoid drained the strength of the French expeditionary corps, while reinforcements for the Chinese army flowed into Formosa via the Pescadores Islands, raising its strength to 35,000 men by the end of the war. Reinforced in January 1885 to a strength of 4,500 men, the French won two impressive tactical victories against the besieging Chinese in late January and early March 1885, but were not strong enough to exploit these victories. The Keelung campaign ended in April 1885 in a strategic and tactical stalemate. The campaign was criticised at the time by Admiral Amédée Courbet, the commander of the French Far East Squadron, as strategically irrelevant and a wasteful diversion of the French navy.


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Battle of Tamsui
French warships bombard Tamsui, 2 October 1884


CHAPTER   18

Battle of Tamsui

1884 Aug 2 - 1884 Aug 8

Tamsui, New Taipei City, Taiwa



The Battle of Tamsui, Danshui, or Hobe (2–8 October 1884) was a significant French defeat by the Qing dynasty at Tamsui on Taiwan during the Keelung Campaign of the Sino-French War.


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CHAPTER   19

Taiwan Province

1887 Jan 1

Taiwan



In 1683, Zheng Keshuang (third ruler of the Kingdom of Tungning and a grandson of Koxinga), surrendered to the Qing Empire following a naval engagement with Admiral Shi Lang. The Qing then ruled the Taiwanese archipelago (including Penghu) as Taiwan Prefecture of Fujian Province. In 1875, Taipeh Prefecture was separated from Taiwan Prefecture. In 1885, work commenced under the auspices of Liu Ming-chuan to develop Taiwan into a province. In 1887, the island was designated as a province, with Liu as the first governor. The province was also reorganized into four prefectures, eleven districts, and three sub-prefectures. The provincial capital, or "Taiwan-fu", was intended to be moved from the south (modern-day Tainan) to the more central area of Toatun (modern-day Taichung) in the revamped Taiwan Prefecture. As the new central Taiwan-fu was still under construction, the capital was temporarily moved north to Taipeh (modern-day Taipei), which eventually was designated the provincial capital.


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Taiwan under Japanese rule
An elementary school during the Japanese period


CHAPTER   20

Taiwan under Japanese rule

1895 Apr 17 - 1940

Taiwan



The island of Taiwan, together with the Penghu Islands, became a dependency of Japan in 1895, when the Qing dynasty ceded Taiwan Prefecture in the Treaty of Shimonoseki after the Japanese victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. The short-lived Republic of Formosa resistance movement was suppressed by Japanese troops and quickly defeated in the Capitulation of Tainan, ending organized resistance to Japanese occupation and inaugurating five decades of Japanese rule over Taiwan. Its administrative capital was in Taihoku (Taipei) led by the Governor-General of Taiwan.


Taiwan was Japan's first colony and can be viewed as the first step in implementing their "Southern Expansion Doctrine" of the late 19th century. Japanese intentions were to turn Taiwan into a showpiece "model colony" with much effort made to improve the island's economy, public works, industry, cultural Japanization, and to support the necessities of Japanese military aggression in the Asia-Pacific.


Japanese administrative rule of Taiwan ended after the end of hostilities with Japan in August 1945 during the World War II period, and the territory was placed under the control of the Republic of China (ROC) with the issuing of General Order No. 1. Japan formally renounced its sovereignty over Taiwan in the Treaty of San Francisco effective April 28, 1952. The experience of Japanese rule, ROC rule, and the February 28 massacre of 1947 continue to affect issues such as Taiwan Retrocession Day, national identity, ethnic identity, and the formal Taiwan independence movement.


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Japanese invasion of Taiwan
Japanese troops occupy Taipei, 7 June 1895


CHAPTER   21

Japanese invasion of Taiwan

1895 May 29 - 1895 Oct 18

Tainan, Taiwan



The Japanese invasion of Taiwan was a conflict between the Empire of Japan and the armed forces of the short-lived Republic of Formosa following the Qing dynasty's cession of Taiwan to Japan in April 1895 at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese sought to take control of their new possession, while the Republican forces fought to resist Japanese occupation. The Japanese landed near Keelung on the northern coast of Taiwan on 29 May 1895, and in a five-month campaign swept southwards to Tainan. Although their advance was slowed by guerrilla activity, the Japanese defeated the Formosan forces (a mixture of regular Chinese units and local Hakka militias) whenever they attempted to make a stand. The Japanese victory at Baguashan on 27 August, the largest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil, doomed the Formosan resistance to an early defeat. The fall of Tainan on 21 October ended organised resistance to Japanese occupation, and inaugurated five decades of Japanese rule in Taiwan.


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Chinese Civil War | © Feature History


CHAPTER   22

Chinese Civil War

1927 Aug 1 - 1949 Dec 7

China



The Chinese Civil War was fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), lasting intermittently after 1927.


The war is generally divided into two phases with an interlude: from August 1927 to 1937, the KMT-CCP Alliance collapsed during the Northern Expedition, and the Nationalists controlled most of China. From 1937 to 1945, hostilities were mostly put on hold as the Second United Front fought the Japanese invasion of China with eventual help from the Allies of World War II, but even then co-operation between the KMT and CCP was minimal and armed clashes between them were common. Exacerbating the divisions within China further was that a puppet government, sponsored by Japan and nominally led by Wang Jingwei, was set up to nominally govern the parts of China under Japanese occupation.


The civil war resumed as soon as it became apparent that the Japanese defeat was imminent, and the CCP gained the upper hand in the second phase of the war from 1945 to 1949, generally referred to as the Chinese Communist Revolution.


The Communists gained control of mainland China and established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the leadership of the Republic of China to retreat to the island of Taiwan. Starting in the 1950s, a lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait has ensued, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China. After the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, both tacitly ceased fire in 1979; however, no armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed.


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Economic Development
Grocery store in Taiwan 1950s


CHAPTER   23

Economic Development

1946 Jan 1

Taiwan



In the immediate aftermath of World War II, post-war economic conditions compounded with the then-ongoing Chinese Civil War caused severe inflation across mainland China and in Taiwan, made worse by disastrous currency reforms and corruption. This gave way to the reconstruction process and new reforms.


The KMT took control of Taiwan's monopolies that had been owned by the Japanese prior to World War II. They nationalized approximately 17% of Taiwan's GNP and voided Japanese bond certificates held by Taiwanese investors. These real estate holdings as well as American aid such as the China Aid Act and the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction helped to ensure that Taiwan would recover quickly from war. The Kuomintang government also moved the entire gold reserve from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan, and used this reserve to back the newly issued New Taiwan dollar to stabilize the new currency and put a stop to hyperinflation.


The KMT authorities implemented a far-reaching and highly successful land reform program on Taiwan during the 1950s. The 375 Rent Reduction Act alleviated tax burden on peasants and another act redistributed land among small farmers and compensated large landowners with commodities certificates and stock in state-owned industries. Although this left some large landowners impoverished, others turned their compensation into capital and started commercial and industrial enterprises. These entrepreneurs were to become Taiwan's first industrial capitalists. Together with businessmen who fled from mainland China, they once again revived Taiwan's prosperity previously ceased along with Japanese withdrawal and managed Taiwan's transition from an agricultural to a commercial, industrial economy.


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February 28 incident
On February 28, 1947, the masses went to the Monopoly Bureau Taipei Branch to protest, and the inventories of matches, cigarettes and other items in the Monopoly Bureau Taipei Branch were piled up and burned.


CHAPTER   24

February 28 incident

1947 Feb 27 - 1947 May 16

Taiwan



The February 28 incident was an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang (KMT)–led nationalist government of the Republic of China (ROC). Directed by provincial governor Chen Yi and president Chiang Kai-shek, thousands of civilians were killed beginning on February 28, 1947. The number of deaths from the incident and massacre was estimated to be between 18,000 and 28,000. The incident is one of the most important events in Taiwan's modern history and was a critical impetus for the Taiwan independence movement.


During the White Terror, the KMT persecuted perceived political dissidents, and the incident was considered too taboo to be discussed. President Lee Teng-hui became the first president to discuss the incident publicly on its anniversary in 1995. The event is now openly discussed and details of the event have become the subject of government and academic investigation. February 28 is now an official public holiday called Peace Memorial Day, on which the president of Taiwan gathers with other officials to ring a commemorative bell in memory of the victims.


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White Terror
The Horrifying Inspection by Taiwanese printmaker Li Jun. It describes the hostile environment in Taiwan shortly after the February 28 incident, which marked the start of the White Terror period


CHAPTER   25

White Terror

1949 May 19 - 1990

Taiwan



In Taiwan, the White Terror is used to describe the political repression on civilians living on the island and the surrounding areas under its control by the government under the rule of the Kuomintang (KMT, i.e. Chinese Nationalist Party). The period of White Terror is generally considered to have begun when martial law was declared in Taiwan on 19 May 1949, which were enabled by the 1948 Temporary Provisions against the Communist Rebellion, and ended on 21 September 1992 with the repeal of Article 100 of the Criminal Code, which allowed for the prosecution of people for "anti-state" activities; the Temporary Provisions were repealed a year earlier on 22 April 1991 and martial law was lifted on 15 July 1987.


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CHAPTER   26

Martial law in Taiwan

1949 May 20 - 1987 Jul 15

Taiwan



Martial law in Taiwan refers to the periods in the history of Taiwan after World War II during control by the Republic of China Armed Forces of the Kuomintang-led Government of the Republic of China regime. The term is specifically used to refer to the over 38-year-long consecutive martial law period between 20 May 1949 and 14 July 1987, which was qualified as "the longest imposition of martial law by a regime anywhere in the world" at that time (having since been surpassed by Syria.).


With the outbreak of Chinese Civil War, the Declaration of Martial Law in Taiwan Province was enacted by Chen Cheng, who served as the chairman of Taiwan Provincial Government and commander of Taiwan Garrison Command, on 19 May 1949. This order was effective within the territory of Taiwan Province (including Island of Taiwan and Penghu). The provincial martial law order was then superseded by an amendment of the Declaration of Nationwide Martial Law which was enacted by the central Government of the Republic of China after the amendment received a retroactive consent by the Legislative Yuan on 14 March 1950. Martial law in Taiwan Area (including Island of Taiwan, Penghu) was lifted by a Presidential order promulgated by President Chiang Ching-kuo on 15 July 1987.


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Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan
Chiang Kai-shek, The Man who Lost China (1952)


CHAPTER   27

Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan

1949 Dec 7

Taiwan



The retreat of the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan, also known as the Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan or the Great Retreat in Taiwan, refers to the exodus of the remnants of the internationally recognized Kuomintang-ruled government of the Republic of China (ROC) to the island of Taiwan (Formosa) on 7 December 1949 after losing the Chinese Civil War in the mainland. The Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party), its officers, and approximately 2 million ROC troops took part in the retreat, in addition to many civilians and refugees, fleeing the advance of the People's Liberation Army of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).


After the retreat, the leadership of the ROC, particularly Generalissimo and President Chiang Kai-shek, planned to make the retreat only temporary, hoping to regroup, fortify, and reconquer the mainland. This plan, which never came into fruition, was known as "Project National Glory", and made the national priority of the ROC on Taiwan. Once it became apparent that such a plan could not be realized, the ROC's national focus shifted to the modernization and economic development of Taiwan. The ROC, however, continues to officially claim exclusive sovereignty over the now-CCP governed mainland China.


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Land reform in Taiwan


CHAPTER   28

Land reform in Taiwan

1950 Jan 1

Taiwan



Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, land reform in Taiwan capped farm rents and redistributed farmland to Taiwanese tenant farmers. The reforms occurred in three main stages. First, in 1949, farm rents were capped at 37.5% of yields. Second, starting in 1951, public land was sold to tenant farmers. Finally, starting in 1953, large landholdings were broken up and redistributed to tenant farmers--a "land-to-the-tiller" reform.In the 1950s, after the Nationalist government fled to Taiwan, land reform and community development were carried out by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction. The course of action was made attractive, in part, by the fact that many of the large landowners were Japanese who had fled, and the other large landowners were compensated with Japanese commercial and industrial properties seized after Taiwan had reverted from Japanese rule in 1945. The land program succeeded also because the Kuomintang were mostly from Mainland China and so had few ties to the remaining indigenous landowners.


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CHAPTER   29

First Taiwan Strait Crisis

1954 Sep 3 - 1955 May 1

Penghu County, Taiwan



The First Taiwan Strait Crisis was a brief armed conflict between the Communist People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Nationalist Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan. The conflict focused on several groups of islands in the Taiwan Strait that were held by the ROC but were located only a few miles from mainland China. The crisis began when the PRC shelled the ROC-held island of Kinmen (Quemoy). Later, the PRC seized the Yijiangshan Islands from the ROC. Under pressure by the PRC, the ROC then abandoned the Tachen Islands (Dachen Islands), which were evacuated by the navies of the ROC and the US.


In 1949, the Chinese Civil War ended with the victory of the Communist People's Republic of China (PRC). The government of the Republic of China (ROC), controlled by Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang (KMT), and 1.3 million anti-Communist Chinese supporters fled from mainland China. The ROC government relocated to the island of Taiwan. The territory under ROC control was reduced to Taiwan, Hainan, the Pescadores Islands (Penghu), and several island groups along the south-east coast of China. In April 1950, the PRC captured Hainan. ROC forces there evacuated to Taiwan in May 1950.



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Battle of Yijiangshan Islands
PLA troops assaulting Nationalist positions


CHAPTER   30

Battle of Yijiangshan Islands

1955 Jan 18 - 1955 Jan 16

Yi Jiang Shan Dao, Jiaojiang D



The Battle of Yijiangshan Islands (simplified Chinese: 一江山岛战役; traditional Chinese: 一江山島戰役) was a conflict between forces of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Republic of China and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the People's Republic of China, over one of the last strongholds of Nationalist (ROC) forces near mainland China on the Yijiangshan Islands. The conflict occurred from January 18 to January 20, 1955, during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, and resulted in a PLA victory and the complete destruction of the ROC garrison.


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Second Taiwan Strait Crisis
The U.S. carrier USS Lexington (top) with a supply ship and USS Marshall (bottom) off Taiwan during the crisis.


CHAPTER   31

Second Taiwan Strait Crisis

1958 Aug 23 - 1958 Dec 1

Penghu, Magong City, Penghu Co



The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict that took place between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). In this conflict, the PRC shelled the islands of Kinmen (Quemoy) and the Matsu Islands along the east coast of mainland China (in the Taiwan Strait) to "liberate" Taiwan from the Chinese Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT); and to probe the extent of the United States defense of Taiwan's territory. A naval battle also took place around Dongding Island when the ROC Navy repelled an attempted amphibious landing by the PRC Navy. U.S. Secretary of State Christian Herter (1959-1961) is said to have later referred to the conflict as "the first serious nuclear crisis."


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CHAPTER   32

Taiwan's rise in the key semiconductor industry

1987 Feb 1

Hsinchu, Hsinchu City, Taiwan



Founded in Taiwan in 1987 by Morris Chang, TSMC was the world's first dedicated semiconductor foundry and has long been the leading company in its field. It is the world's most valuable semiconductor company, the world's largest dedicated independent (pure-play) semiconductor foundry, and one of Taiwan's largest companies, with its headquarters and main operations located in the Hsinchu Science Park in Hsinchu.


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End of the Kuomintang (KMT) rule
Chen Shui-bian, President 2000 to 2008


CHAPTER   33

End of the Kuomintang (KMT) rule

2000 Jan 1

Taiwan



The 2000 presidential election marked the end of the Kuomintang (KMT) rule. DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian won a three-way race that saw the Pan-Blue vote split by independent James Soong (formerly of the Kuomintang) and Kuomintang candidate Lien Chan. Chen garnered 39% of the vote.


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References



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