Location: 23 30 N, 121 00 E

Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China

Capital: Taipei, 2,706,453

Independence Date: 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)

Population: 21,908,135 (July 1998 est.)

Literacy Rate: 91%

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

History: The Dutch invaded Taiwan in 1624 and remained as colonists for 37 years. The Spanish invaded and occupied northernmost Taiwan in 1626, but were driven out by the Dutch 16 years later in 1642. The Dutch were finally dislodged in 1661 by invading forces from the mainland led by the Ming dynasty loyalist Cheng Cheng-kung, whose latinized name, Koxinga, derives from his ennoblement by the Ming court as Kuo Hsing Yeh, or lord of the Imperial Surname. Koxinga hoped to use Taiwan as his base in the fight to overthrow the Ching dynasty and restore the Ming dynasty.

In 1884 the French occupied northernmost Taiwan following a dispute with China over, the Yunnan-Indochina border. In March 1885 they also occupied the Pescadores, but withdrew from both the Pescadores and Taiwan three months later under the terms of a treaty with China.

The Japanese went to war with China in 1894 following a dispute over Korea. By the treaty of Shimonoseki, concluded in 1895, Taiwan and the Pescadores were ceded to Japan. Under another provision, Korea, over which China had exercised suzerainty, was declared independent and, as expected, was subsequently annexed by Japan. Taiwan and the Pescadores were restored to Chinese rule at the end of World War II in 1945.

The principal city of Taiwan is Taipei, which since December 7,1949, has been the provisional capital of the Republic of China.

Government: : : Taiwan is a multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president. There a

three branches; the executive, legislative and judicial.

The Executive branch is led by President LI Teng-hui the chief of state, the Vice President is LIEN Chan, who is also the head of the government. The cabinet is Executive Yuan appointed by the president. The president and vice president are both elected by the people from popular vote. They both serve for four-year terms.

The Legislative branch is an unicameral Legislative Yuan which has 164 seats, elected by popular vote. It is also an unicameral National Assembly, also elected by popular vote but has 334 seats.

The judicial branch: In Judicial Yuan the justices are elected by the President but not without going through the nation assembly first.

Current Event: Taiwan is planning to send back highly radioactive nuclear waste to

The U.S. in June.

Point of Interest: Bank of Taiwan

Related Essays on History: Asian