Taiwan is one of the richest countries in Asia. It has a strong and active economy. More than twenty million people live on the island that sits off the shore of China. To really understand Taiwan though, you need to know about the history of the island.
1. Koxinga kicks out the Dutch
In the year 1661A.D., after the Dutch had ruled Taiwan for 37 years, a group of southern Ming soldiers lost a war against the Qing and started to flee China. They knew Taiwan was a strategic point to fight back against the Qing Empire, so they planned to conquer the island.
In march,1661, Koxinga (one of the Ming generals) attacked the Dutch at Anping and besieged the city of Tainan. After several months the Dutch finally surrendered. This began the age of Chinese rule in Taiwan.
2. Qing Taiwan
Long after the Koxinga and Dutch war, Taiwan became a part of Qing China. The Qing lost many battles against the West, and the Sino-French war saw a battle on Taiwan.
After this bloody war that ended with Qing victory, the emperor sent Liu Mingchuan to Taiwan as the island’s first governor due to the strategic importance of Taiwan. Liu came and built the first railways, set up electricity lines in Taipei (the largest town on the island) and built cannon defenses at Keelung. The island became the most modern place in all of China at the time.
3. Japanese Rule
In 1894, the Qing lost the Sino-Japanese war, and the fate of the island changed once more. One year after the war, the Japanese invaded Taiwan and fought against many Taiwanese that didn’t want to be a part of Japan.
After the conflict over Taiwan, the Japanese began once more making Taiwan modernize. Japanese control made major impacts on the people living on the island.
4. The Nationalist Period and the 2/28 Massacre
At the end of World War 2, the ROC took back the land Japan had invaded, including Taiwan. Everything seemed to be back on track until the Communists started a civil war against the government of China.
The effects of the war made Taiwanese live in pain, and added to the corruption of the government. People finally protested the new ROC government in Taiwan after a cigarette seller was shot in Taipei.
On February 28th, 1947 people protested in front of government buildings and many unarmed protesters were shot by government forces. This event and the aftermath of it caused deep wounds in Taiwan, the consequences of which are still seen today.
After the 228 Massacre, the government of China fled to Taiwan and started martial law on the island. This caused the people to live in a world that had little freedom and much fear. After nearly 40 years, Taiwan demanded freedom.
A force behind the Democratic movement, Chiung-Ching-Kuo saw the people’s wish for freedom, so he stopped martial law and began allowing people to have rights in the constitution, which helped make Taiwan the way it is right now.
With the people living in peace and democracy, the island of Taiwan is one of the places in the world that people should know about.