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Friday, December 26, 2008

The History of Taiwan

Have you ever heard of the Island of Formosa? How about the Republic of China? Both of these names refer to the same place...Taiwan. The name "Island of Formosa" actually means "Beautiful Island" and was given to Taiwan in the late 1500's by a Dutch explorer, who was the first Westerner to view the beauty of this country. Since then, for the last 400 years, Taiwan has been occupied by a variety of nations, including various European countries, Japan, and China. Currently, advocates for "One China" call Taiwan the "Republic of China" (ROC) and claim her as part of China, but many Taiwanese call their country the "Republic of Taiwan" and claim independence from China. Needless to say, this has led to a variety of political issues on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, which links the South China Sea with the East China Sea, and separates the Mainland from Taiwan. According to Wikipedia, "following World War II, the Republic of China, under the Kuomintang (KMT) became the governing polity on Taiwan. In 1949, after losing control of mainland China following the Chinese civil war, the ROC government under the KMT withdrew to Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek declared martial law. Japan formally renounced all territorial rights to Taiwan in 1952 in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The KMT ruled Taiwan as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms were mandated during the final year of authoritarian rule under Chiang Ching-kuo. The reforms were promulgated under Chiang's successor, Lee Teng-hui, which culminated in the first ever direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, Chen Shui-bian was elected the president, becoming the first non-KMT president on Taiwan. The 2008 election of President Ma Ying-jeou marked the second peaceful transfer of power, this time back to the KMT." For a great analysis of this year's historic election and how it affects US foreign policy read this article. For a nationalist Taiwanese perspective on this and other current events in Taiwan, visit http://www.taiwandc.org/. We look forward to sharing with our daughter Sophia the interesting history of her birth country, and how her people have faced many challenges over the years, yet have always moved forward for the betterment of their society.

Hope you enjoyed the history lesson!

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1 comment:

stephanie garcia said...

I did! Over vacation, I took a history lesson of my own by reading Michener's book The Caribbean and learning a lot about the troubled history of Haiti and the other Caribbean islands. Very interesting. I'm staying tuned for details on Sophia's quilt - sounds like fun!!