Taiwan: The Basics


Taiwan is a de facto island nation located at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, 160 kilometers (100 miles) from China. About two-thirds of Taiwan is made up of the Central Mountain Range that dominates the main island. It has over 200 peaks exceeding 3000 meters (9843 feet) in elevation, with the tallest being Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 3952 meters (12,966 feet). The land is covered by rolling hills west of the central mountains that descend gently into a somewhat flat plains region, north to south. The majority of Taiwanese live in the plains.

Official name: Republic of China (Taiwan).
Flag: Nationalist flag (red, blue, white).


National flower: Plum blossom.
Area: 36,197 square km (13,956 sq. mi), including the main island of Taiwan (Formosa) and the outlying islands of Penghu (Pescadores), Kinmen (Quemoy), Matsu, Wuqiu, and Tongsha (Dongsha). Taiwan has approximately the land area of the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.
Climate: Mostly tropical, with mild winters and hot, humid and rainy summers. May-October is the season of the summer typhoons.
Arable land: 24%
Population: 23.6 million (2019).


Government: Multiparty democracy. President and vice-president are elected directly by popular vote.
Capital: Taipei City.
National currency: New Taiwan Dollar (NT$ or TWD). As of early 2022, NT$28 = US$1.
Time zone: UTC + 8 hours. During Standard Time, Taiwan is 13 hours ahead of New York.
Internet TLD: .tw       Calling code: 886
Major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Folk religions, Christianity.
Major languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese (Hokkien), Hakka, indigenous languages.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.taiwan.gov.tw)
“Taiwan Geography,” www.countryreports.org


© 2022 by Nathaniel Altman

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