Sparsely inhabited by Tayal and Paiwan peoples, the island began to have commercial relations with China starting from the 10th century. VI-VII, but only in the century. XII became the destination of consistent Chinese migratory currents. In the first half of the century. XVII Europeans arrived there and used it as a base for their trade routes. To the Portuguese we owe the name of Formosa with which the island has since been known in the West. When the Manchu Ch’ing dynasty was established in China, numerous supporters of the extinct Ming dynasty (1644) took refuge in Taiwan who, under the leadership of Cheng-Cheng-hung (called Kossinga), gave rise to a fearful piracy. But in 1683 the pirates were defeated and the emperor K’ang-hsi was able to annex the island. Taiwan has remained united with China ever since. In 1894-95, following the First Sino-Japanese War, it was ceded (Treaty of Shimonoseki) to Japan which made it, during the Second World War, a powerful air-naval base. With the Cairo Declaration (1 December 1943), signed by FD Roosevelt, W. Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek, the great powers assigned Taiwan to China and Chinese sovereignty on the island was confirmed at the Potsdam Conference (1945). Defeated by the Communists (December 1949), the Kuomintang government and army took refuge in Taiwan, giving birth to the National Republic of China which soon (1950) had the support of the United States; obtained the Chinese seat at the UN and was recognized by almost all Western powers as the sole representative of the Chinese people.
At the outbreak of the Korean War, the President of the USA, Truman, gave orders to the 7th Fleet to protect the island against possible Communist attacks. The bombings of the Quemoy and Matsu islands (1954) and again of Quemoy in 1958 by the People’s Republic of China brought the question of Taiwan to the fore but only confirmed the differences in principle between the Chinese and Western positions. A turning point came only in 1971 with the resounding Sino-American rapprochement and with the UN vote that took away the seat in favor of the People’s Republic of China from Taiwan. After the death of Chiang Kai-shek (1975) the presidency of the state was assumed by the vice president Yen Chia-kan and, in 1978, by the dictator’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, reconfirmed in 1984. The resumption of normal diplomatic relations and important economic agreements between China and the USA (1978) intensified Taiwan’s international isolation. In August 1982, an agreement was signed between China and the US in which the United States pledged to reduce arms supplies to Taiwan and China was bound to a peaceful and long-term reunification with Taiwan. As a consequence of this act, in the second half of the 1980s there was a significant acceleration of the process of internal political liberalization: of particular importance in 1987, after thirty-eight years, the abolition of martial law and the recognition of the right to strike. Chiang Ching-kuo died in January 1988, succeeded by Lee Teng-hui, the first native of Taiwan to rise to the head of both the state (re-elected in 1990) and the party. He gave new impetus to the détente process by declaring the phase of “national mobilization for the suppression of communist subversion” (1991) closed, thus also formally ending the civil war that had opposed Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China. After the state of military mobilization, the elections for the renewal of the National Assembly in December 1991 confirmed the dominance of the Kuomintang which, despite the growth of social unrest and the greater liveliness of the opposition that was pressing for the independence of the nation, was affirming itself again, although registering a loss of consensus, in the elections of December 1993. In this evolutionary framework, in the April 1993 Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China signed an important economic and trade cooperation agreement in Singapore, reopening a relationship between the island and the mainland after the over forty-year state of profound tension. Between the summer and autumn of 1995, relations between the two states began to tighten again, mainly due to the visit of President Lee Teng-hui to the USA and the military maneuvers carried out by Beijing’s ships off the Taiwanese coast.
In December of the same year, according to aceinland, elections were held for the renewal of the mainly due to the visit of President Lee Teng-hui to the USA and the military maneuvers carried out by the ships of Beijing off the Taiwanese coast. In December of the same year, elections were held for the renewal of the mainly due to the visit of President Lee Teng-hui to the USA and the military maneuvers carried out by the ships of Beijing off the Taiwanese coast. In December of the same year, elections were held for the renewal of thelegislative yuan, which ended with a sharp downsizing of the Kuomintang, which managed to keep an absolute majority of seats only by a narrow margin. In the first direct presidential consultations in 1996, the Kuomintang managed to get Lee Teng-hui to be reconfirmed. Relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, meanwhile, remained unchanged, so much so that in November 1996 Beijing prevented Taiwan from participating in the APEC summit. The municipal and legislative elections of December 1998 reconfirmed the victory of the Kuomintang which, re-proposing a political structure favorable to maintaining the status quo, favored the reduction of political tensions with China. Tensions that returned, however, to become stronger in July 1999 with the blocking of contacts “between the two shores” due to the decidedly separatist line adopted by President Teng-hui, who defined relations with People’s China as “relations between states”. The citizens of Taiwan, in March 2000, were called to the polls for the presidential elections, which recorded the surprising victory of Chen Shui-bian, candidate of the Progressive Democratic Party, not liked by the Beijing authorities for his markedly independence positions. A similar outcome characterized the legislative elections of December 2001, in which the president’s party clearly surpassed the Kuomintang in terms of the number of seats won. In January 2005, the government reached an agreement with the Chinese authorities for the establishment of direct flights between the two countries. In March 2006, President Chen Shui-bian dissolved the National Unification Council, an advisory body created in 1990 to promote reunification with China, causing a harsh Chinese reaction. The legislative elections won by the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) took place in January 2008, while the presidential elections won by Ma Ying-Jeou, a candidate of the Kuomintang himself, took place in March. In 2009, former president Chen Shui-bian and his wife were sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption and embezzlement of public funds. candidate of the Kuomintang itself. In 2009, former president Chen Shui-bian and his wife were sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption and embezzlement of public funds. candidate of the Kuomintang itself. In 2009, former president Chen Shui-bian and his wife were sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption and embezzlement of public funds.