Nancy Pelosi Visits Taiwan Amid Tensions Between US and China: Live Updates

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, indigenous peoples in Taiwan trace their history on the island some 10,000 years back.

However, since the 17th century, the island has been colonized by a range of powers – including the Dutch and Japanese – and indigenous groups now make up only about 2% of the population.

Dutch traders maintained a colony on the island for several decades and used it as a base for trade with both China and Japan, but were driven out in the 17th century when Taiwan became part of the Chinese Empire. Imperial China then ceded the island to Japan in 1895 after losing the First Sino-Japanese War.

The island remained a Japanese colony for half a century until the end of World War II, when it was returned to Chinese hands after the Allied defeat of Japan. By this time, however, Imperial China had long since fallen and mainland China was ruled by a nationalist government, led by the Kuomintang, or KMT, under the banner of the Republic of China.

The Chinese Civil War: Not long after, the Nationalists were again attacked by a rebellious Chinese Communist Party.

The two sides entered into a bloody civil war that resulted in the eventual defeat of the Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan and moved the seat of the Nationalist government from Nanjing to Taipei.

In mainland China, the Communist Party took power and established the People’s Republic of China.

Both the Nationalists and the Communists then proclaimed the sole legitimate government of the entire Chinese territory, which covered both mainland and Taiwan.

In Taipei, nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek dreamed of one day retaking the mainland; In Beijing, Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong regarded Taiwan as the last piece of a united ‘new China’.

Taiwan today: In recent years, Taiwan has downplayed its territorial claims to mainland China and is today a vibrant democracy, with its own army, currency, constitution and elected government.

Few governments in the world recognize it as an independent country and Taipei has become increasingly isolated diplomatically.

Over the years, more and more governments have shifted their diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, leaving Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies by the end of 2021.

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