About Taiwan

The main island of Taiwan, sometimes also referred to as Formosa (from Portuguese, meaning "graceful"), is located off the coast of the territories administered by the People's Republic of China, south of Japan and north of the Philippines. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation. The island lies on the western edge of the Pacific "rim of fire," and continuous tectonic movements have created majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other wonders. Taiwan sees climates of many types: tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate, providing clear differentiation between the different seasons. There are about 18,400 species of wildlife on the island, with more than 20% belonging to rare or endangered species; among these are the land-locked salmon, Taiwan mountain goat, and Formosan black bear. The unique diversity that Taiwan enjoys today is a direct result of the country’s history. Along with the aborigines that settled the island 4000-7000 years ago, various other ethnic groups have had a profound impact on Taiwan, the main one being the Han Chinese. The majority of the Taiwanese population today are descendants of Han immigrants and as a result, many traditional Chinese values like Confucianism are preserved. Taiwan also boasts traditional Fujian architecture and priceless Chinese artifacts recovered from China in turmoil.