Yangmingshan National Park


About this Website

Although no bigger than the state of Maryland, Taiwan is a place of tremendous cultural diversity, extraordinary landscapes, varied cuisines, as well as Asia’s most vibrant democracy. A self-governing de facto country for more than 70 years, Taiwan is a world leader in semiconductor technology and scientific innovation. Taiwan is regarded by Communist China as a breakaway province to be reclaimed by force if necessary.

Taiwan has been a political pawn in the drama of international politics since the Cold War began. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine beginning in February 2022 - with the support of the government of Communist China - the future of a free, independent and democratic Taiwan has become more threatened than ever before.

This website is intended help interested readers learn more about Taiwan. As we get to know a people and their homeland, we feel a closer connection to them. This may inspire us to care about their lives and be concerned about their future. At this critical time in Taiwan’s history, Westerners especially need to learn more about Taiwan and its people, history and culture. Hopefully this may lead to a greater appreciation of Taiwan and its unique and important position in world affairs.

Based primarily on Nathaniel Altman's acclaimed book Taiwan: Fifty Things You Didn't Know, the goal of this website is to offer a unique, comprehensive and intimate portrait of Taiwan, with information about Taiwan's history, politics, cultural traditions, institutions and things uniquely Taiwanese. Based on more than fifteen extended visits to Taiwan over a 25-year period, this blog reveals little-known facts about one of the most fascinating – yet least understood - countries in the world.



Online chapters (click button to view)

Taiwan: The Basics Historical Timeline 1600s-1945 Historical Timeline 1945-2020s Taiwan's First Peoples

What Languages do Taiwanese Speak? Why Taiwan Matters Do Taiwanese View Themselves as Chinese?

Taiwan: Vegetarian Paradise Religion in Taiwan LGBTQ+ Taiwan Military Convenience Stores

Taiwan Railways


News Links (click button to view)

Focus Taiwan (CNA English News) Taipei Times Taiwan News TaiwanPlus

Taiwan Government Portal Taiwan English News


Tourism and Cultural Links (click button to view)

Taiwan Tourism Bureau Taiwanese Secrets Taiwan Everything / Travel in Taiwan Spiritual Travels



How We Would Know When China is Preparing to Invade Taiwan. By John Culver. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 3, 2022)

Taiwan Rated Freest Country in Asia in 2022 Human Freedom Index (CNA English News, February 1, 2023)

10 Reasons Why Xi Won't Attack Taiwan Anytime Soon (The Diplomat, January 20, 2023)

Combat Boogie: British Pianist Takes a Stand for Taiwan (CNA English News, February 8, 2024)

Taiwan produces 'aircraft carrier killer' vessels ahead of schedule (NHK News, March 26, 2024)

Drag queen’s RuPaul victory wins praise from Taiwan’s president (CNN World, April 22, 2024)

How to Start a War Over Taiwan by Ian Buruma (The New Yorker, June 24, 2024)

How Taiwan Conquered U.S. Politics - And Showed Europe How It's Done (Politico, July 6, 2024)


Video links

Invisible Nation - Official Trailer

BBC World Service video


"A clear and comprehensive guide to a complex locale."

- Kirkus Reviews

Click the book cover for more information.

Now in a third edition!


© 2024 by Nathaniel Altman

Last updated July 6, 2024