To the World from Taiwan

Taiwan is an island in East Asia. "Taiwan" is also commonly used to refer to the territories administered by the Republic of China (ROC) and to ROC itself, which governs the island of Taiwan, Lanyu (Orchid Island) and Green Island in the Pacific off the Taiwan coast, the Pescadores in the Taiwan Strait, and Kinmen and the Matsu Islands off the coast of mainland Fujian. The island groups of Taiwan and Penghu (except the municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung) are officially administered as Taiwan Province of the Republic of China.

The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese (Ilha) Formosa, meaning "beautiful (island)"), is located in East Asia off the coast of mainland China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation.

36,188 sq km (13,972 sq miles).

22,560,000 (2003).

Population Density
623.6 per sq km.

Taipei. Population: 2,641,856 (2002).

Taiwan is the main island of a group of 86 islands. It is dominated by the Central Mountain Range covering 69 per cent of its land area and running its full length north to south on the eastern seaboard. Over 200 peaks exceed 3000m (9850ft), the highest being Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 3952m (13,042ft), and most are heavily forested. About 31 per cent of the country is alluvial plain, most of it on the coastal strip. The Pescadores (Fisherman's Isles), which the Chinese call Penghu, comprise 64 islands west of Taiwan (China, PR) with a total area of 127 sq km (49 sq miles). The offshore island fortress of Quemoy (Kinmen) and Matsu forms part of the mainland province of Fukien.

The official language is Mandarin. Taiwanese is widely spoken, and English is taught as the first foreign language in schools.