中華民國 - Zhōnghuá Mínguó - Republic of China

The island Formosa or Taiwan is located southeast of China in the western Pacific. It is surrounded by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main island was originally inhabited by Taiwanese indigenous peoples which settled the island around 6,000 years ago. It was discovered by the Portuguese in 1542 and called Ilha Formosa ("beautiful island"), probably more a description than an actual name. The island had numerous names in different languages but for some reason Formosa stuck. Later it became a Dutch colony, until it was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China. It became Japanese in 1895, but after World War II it was returned to the Republic of China. When mainland China became communist under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during Chinese Civil War it was "forgotten". And so today it is the last remnant of the Republic of China, probably because China was first not interested in the rather poor island. The government of the Republic of China fled to the island and became a sort of Government in exile. They stated that they were the rest of China while China was occupied by communists.

Not being communist and with lots of cheap labour the country became a famous producer of cheap goods in the 70s and 80s. It seems with the increasing industrialization it became more interesting for China, who state that Taiwan is a province of China, while the local government originally claimed to be the legitimate representative of China and its territory. Obviously it makes no sense any more, to interpret the small island as the "official" government of China. And it makes not much sense to think the capitalistic and democratic Taiwan was part of China. Nevertheless, China claims Taiwan and the PRC refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the ROC. As a result Taiwan maintains official diplomatic relations with only 14 out of 193 UN member states. So it is actually a country which is not recognized by the rest of the world, and we did not know how to list it at all. We do actually not care about political details and have no opinion about the political situation. We decided to list it as a part of China, which is obviously as wrong as listing it as an independent country. However, if you travel there you should be careful because of the strange situation.

The island lies between the Yangtze Plate to the west and north, the Okinawa Plate on the north-east, and the Philippine Mobile Belt on the east and south. The rocks are primarily old island arcs which have been forced together by the collision of the plates. There are volcanic rocks, but also patches of sedimentary rocks including limestones. The island has show caves and show mines.