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Guide to Taiwan, family history and genealogy parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

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Location of Taiwan in Asia

---LOCATION---

The island of Taiwan lies some 180 kilometers (110 mi) off the southeastern coast of mainland China, which lies across the Taiwan Strait, and has an area of 35,883 km2 (13,855 sq mi). The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait directly to the south, and the South China Sea to the southwest. All are arms of the Pacific Ocean.

The island is characterized by the contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the flat to gently rolling Chianan Plains in the west that are also home to most of Taiwan's population. Taiwan's highest point is Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 3,952 meters (12,966 ft);[83] Taiwan is the world's fourth-highest island.

---HISTORY---

Taiwan was historically called Formosa until recent times.

The island of Taiwan (formerly known as "Formosa") was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines until the Dutch and Spanish settlement during the Age of Discovery in the 17th century, when Han Chinese began immigrating to the island.

The Qing dynasty of China later defeated all the local kingdoms and annexed Taiwan. By the time Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, the majority of Taiwan's inhabitants were Han Chinese either by ancestry or by assimilation.

After Japan's surrender in 1945, the Republic of China (ROC) assumed its control of Taiwan.

Following the defeat of the nationalists on the mainland, the ROC relocated its government to Taiwan, and its jurisdiction became limited to Taiwan and its surrounding islands.

---RELIGION---

The Constitution of the Republic of China protects people's freedom of religion and the practices of belief.

The CIA World Factbook reports that over 93% of Taiwanese are adherents of a combination of the polytheistic ancient Chinese religion, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism; 4.5% are adherents of Christianity, which includes Protestants, Catholics, and other, non-denominational, Christian groups; and less than 2.5% are adherents of other religions.

The Taiwanese aborigines comprise a notable subgroup among professing Christians: "...over 64% identify as Christian... Church buildings are the most obvious markers of Aboriginal villages, distinguishing them from Taiwanese or Hakka villages.

---ECONOMY---

Prior to WWII, Taiwan had a largely agrarian economy. However the war caused major damage to all areas of the country, as far as its ability to sustain itself.

By 1945, hyperinflation was in progress in mainland China and Taiwan as a result of the war with Japan. To isolate Taiwan from it, the Nationalist government created a new currency area for the island, and began a price stabilization program. These efforts significantly slowed inflation.

In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War, the United States began an aid program which resulted in fully stabilized prices by 1952.[180] Economic development was encouraged by American economic aid and programs such as the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction, which turned the agricultural sector into the basis for later growth. Under the combined stimulus of the land reform and the agricultural development programs, agricultural production increased at an average annual rate of 4 per cent from 1952 to 1959, which was greater than the population growth.

In 1962, Taiwan had a (nominal) per-capita gross national product (GNP) of $170, placing its economy on a par with those of Zaire and Congo.

Today Taiwan has a dynamic, capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized.

Taiwan has had a real growth in GDP of about 8% per year over the last 25 years, making it a truly economic miracle and an example of what a democratic, capital driven economy can achieve.

---RESEARCH TOOLS---

Taiwan does not have a central repository for Birth, Marriage, and Death records. Instead everything is recorded with local government offices.

The following list of counties, municipalities, and special administrative regions can be of help:

  • Counties:
    • Changhua
    • Chiayi (county)
    • Hsinchu
    • Hualien
    • Kaohsiung (county)
    • Kinmen
    • Lienchiang
    • Miaoli
    • Nantou
    • Penghu
    • Pingtung
    • Taichung
    • Tainan
    • Taipei (county)
    • Taitung
    • Taoyuan
    • Yilan
    • Yunlin
  • Municipalities:
    • Chiayi (city)
    • Hsinchu
    • Keelung
    • Taichung
    • Tainan
  • Special Municipalities:
    • Kaohsiung (city)
    • Taipei (city)

The following links can be helpful to start research projects:


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  • This page was last modified on 5 July 2015, at 22:44.
  • This page has been accessed 6,617 times.