The first settlers were believed to be indigenous people since prehistoric
times. In 1517, Portuguese sailors discovered this place and named
it Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island).
Later in 1624, the Dutch were the first to invade this island and
remained as colonists. Only in the 15th century did a steady stream
of migrants came from Fujian province, triggered by the victory
of the Manchus over the Ming dynasty and the Dutch.
Japan took Taiwan from China in 1895 following a dispute over Korea.
It was not until the end of WWII in 1945, that it was handed back
Communist forces took control of China in 1949, and the leaders
of both Communist mainland China and the Republic of China (Taiwan)
claim to be the voice of all China, but had lost the Chinese United
Nations seat in 1971.
Taiwanese culture is very similar to that of China. Taiwanese opera
are seen to be the half-sibling of Chinese opera. Health and longevity
is also very important for Taiwanese. Many practise taijiquan, slow
motion shadow boxing for exercise and as an art form.
However the Taiwanese are very superstitious about death, and they
avoid its symbols (white and the number four), and never talk about
dying or accidents.