Taiwan(traditional Chinese: 臺灣/台灣; simplified Chinese: 台湾; pinyin: Táiwān),[II]officially the Republic of China(ROC),[I][f]is a country in East Asia.Neighbouring countries include the People’s Republic of China(PRC) to the northwest, Japanto the northeast, and the Philippinesto the south. The main island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (13,826 sq mi), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two-thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipeiis the capital as well as the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Other major cities include New Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainanand Taoyuan. With 23.57 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated countries.
Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese indigenous peoplessettled the island of Taiwanaround 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, partial Dutch colonizationopened the island to mass Han Chineseimmigration. After the brief rule of part of southwestern Taiwan by the Kingdom of Tungning, parts of the island were annexed in 1683by the Qing dynastyof China, and cededto the Empire of Japanin 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown and succeeded the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Alliesfollowing the surrender of Japanin 1945. The resumption of the Chinese Civil Warresulted in the ROC’s loss of mainland Chinato the Chinese Communist Partyand retreat to Taiwanin 1949. Although the ROC government continued to claim to be the legitimate representative of China, since 1950 its effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and numerous smaller islands.
In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialisation called the “Taiwan Miracle“. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ROC transitioned from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system. Taiwan’s export-oriented industrial economy is the 21st-largestin the world by nominal GDP, and 20th-largestby PPP measures, with major contributions from steel, machinery, electronics and chemicals manufacturing. Taiwan is a developed country,ranking 15th in GDP per capita. It is ranked highly in terms of political and civil liberties,education, health careand human development.[g]
The political status of Taiwanremains uncertain. The ROC is no longer a member of the UN, having been replaced by the PRC in 1971. Taiwan is claimed by the PRC, which refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the ROC. Taiwan maintains official diplomatic tieswith 14 out of 193 UN member states and the Holy See.International organisations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only on a non-state basis. Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperationand Asian Development Bankunder various names. Many countries maintain unofficial diplomatic ties with Taiwan through representative officesand institutions that function as de factoembassies and consulates. Domestically, the major political contention is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unificationand promoting a Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring to independenceand promoting Taiwanese identity, although both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.