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Taiwan: the ancient island of Formosa

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Taiwan (Ta-Chunghwa Min-Kuo, Nationalist Republic of China) is an island (also known as Formosa) in the Far East, in the Chinese Sea, separated from the Chinese coasts by the Formosa strait. Taiwan is claimed by the People’s Republic of China.


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.


Taiwan’s economy 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. While the contribution of breeding (pigs and birds) is modest for the economy. The rich forests produce precious essences (bamboo, camphor, sandalwood, cedar and rattan). Fishing is very developed and organized (tuna, swordfish, sharks, and mackerel). The main fishing ports are those of Keelung and Kaohsiung.

Among the resources of the subsoil mainly coal is extracted, then silver, sulfur and gold, the extraction of oil and natural gas is modest. Industry is the backbone of Taiwan’s economy. The manufacturing sector is highly developed, in particular electronics, IT, shipbuilding, textiles, food (sugar factories, canneries, breweries, tobacconists), chemistry, petrochemistry 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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