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Throughout World War II, Taiwan was subject to heavy bombings, and at wars end the country was reverted back to Chinese control.

On China's mainland the Communist Revolution took hold in the mid-1940s, and after the Communist victory in 1949 over General Chiang Kai-shek and his forces, the losers sought refuge on Taiwan, and quickly established their strict military control.

Over the next few years an additional two million Chinese Nationalists fled to Taiwan, but they remained in the minority as they collectively made up only 15% of the overall population.

Over the next five decades, the Taiwanese majority gradually democratized by installing much needed economic and social reforms; policies that subsequently changed the island forever.

During this period of change Taiwan prospered, and transformed itself into one of Asia's modern economic powerhouses, along with South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Highly ranked in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education and economic freedom, Taiwan's advanced technoligical industry plays a major role in the global economy.

Today, Taiwan is the 19th largest economy in the world, and its immediate and long term futures are certainly bright.

The major front-burner issue for all Taiwanese is their relationship with China, and the possibility of eventual unification; it's a complicated, controversial and contentious question.

Note: Many countries around the world recognize and maintain formal diplomatic relations with the ROC, Republic of China (Taiwan)

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.