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Taiwan: the island of Formosa

Taiwan (Ta-Chunghwa Min-Kuo, Nationalist Republic of China) is an island in East Asia (also known under the name Formosa), off the coast of mainland China, west of the Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea.

The island, since 1949, is the seat of the Government of the Republic of Nationalist China, a presidential republic with capital Taipei, which includes over to the island of Formosa, the Pescadores, Quemoy, Matsu, Wuchiu Hsu islands and the island of Itu Aba (0.46 sq km) in the Spratly islands archipelago.

The island is crossed from north to south by a high mountain range that reaches a maximum altitude with Mount Yu Shan (3,952 metres), along the east coast the mountains, that reach the coast, are high and rocky, instead the west coast, densely inhabited, is low and flat. The economy of Taiwan is one of the most developed in Asia, agriculture produces rice, sugar cane, tobacco, spices, citrus fruits, tea, coffee, tomatoes, fruit (peaches, pears), sweet potatoes, corn and soybeans; modest farming (pigs and poultry).

Taiwan Map

Taiwan Map

The rich forests produce valuable essences (bamboo, camphor, sandalwood, cedar and rattan), fishery is well developed and organized (tuna, sword fish, sharks, and mackerel) main fishing ports are those of Keelung and Kaohsiung. Among the resources of the subsoil are extracted mainly coal, then silver, gold and sulphur, low extraction of oil and natural gas.

The industry is the backbone of the economy of Taiwan, the manufacturing sector is highly developed, particularly electronics, information technology, shipbuilding, textiles, food (sugar, canning, breweries, tobacco), chemical, petrochemical and metallurgy.

  • Area: 36,188 sqkm. (Arable 24%, Pastures 0%, Forests and Woodlands 52%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 24%)
  • Population: 22,911,000 (2007 data) (Chinese Han 98%, Taiwanese aborigines 2%).
  • State Capital: Taipei.
  • Languages: The official language is Mandarin Chinese. Spoken also Taiwanese and Hakka.
  • Religion: Buddhist 35%, Taoist 33%, Christian 4% (Protestant 2,6%, Catholic 1,3%), I-Kuan Tao 3,5%.
  • Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
  • Time: UTC +8 hours.

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