Timeline of Taiwanese history

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This is a timeline of Taiwanese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Taiwan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Taiwan and History of the Republic of China. See also the list of rulers of Taiwan.


  • 230: The Eastern Wu launch an expedition to Taiwan
  • 607: The Sui Dynasty explore the Taiwan islands group

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1271 Chinese people start visiting Taiwan[1]

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1525 Some merchants from Fujian are able to speak Formosan languages[1]
1544 Portuguese sailors passing Taiwan record in the ship's log the name Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island).[2]
1582 Portuguese shipwreck survivors, the first Europeans known to have landed on Taiwan, build a raft after 45 days and return to Macau[2]
1592 Japan unsuccessfully seeks sovereignty over Taiwan (Takayamakoku 高山国 in Japanese, lit. high mountain country).[3]
1593 Ming officials issue ten licenses each year for Chinese junks to trade in northern Taiwan[4]

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1600 Population of Taiwan is around 100,000[2]
1603 Chinese scholar Chen Di spends some time at the Bay of Tayouan (which Taiwan takes its name from) during a Ming dynasty anti-pirate mission and provides the first significant description of Taiwanese aborigines[2]
1604 Sino-Dutch conflicts: Dutch envoy Wijbrand van Waerwijck and his army are ordered to occupy Penghu in order to open trade with China[3]
1609 The Tokugawa Shogunate sends feudal lord Arima Harunobu on an exploratory mission to Taiwan.[3]
1616 Nagasaki official Murayama Tōan leads troops on an unsuccessful invasion of Taiwan.[3]
1623 Chinese population in southwestern Taiwan reaches 1,500[1]
1624 Sino-Dutch conflicts: Ming forces evict the Dutch from Penghu and they retreat to Taiwan, settling near the Bay of Tayouan next to a pirate village[5]
There are two Chinese villages in Southwestern Taiwan, on a long thing peninsula on the Bay of Tayouan, and on the mainland in what would become Tainan[6]
Chinese laborers start building the Fort Zeelandia at the Bay of Tayouan for the Dutch[6]
1625 The Dutch clash with 170 Chinese pirates in the Madou and are forced to retreat; later the pirates are driven away[7]
1626 July The Dutch force the Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan to obtain a permit of residence[6]
Spanish expedition to Formosa: The Spanish arrive at Santissima Trinidad (Keelung) and build a fort[4]
1627 Chinese trade with Spanish Formosa picks up after the Spanish manage to ingratiate themselves with the governor of Fujian by defending him from attacks by the aborigines[4]
1628 The Dutch sign a trade treaty with Zheng Zhilong[6]
The Spanish establish a settlement at Tamsui and build Fort Santo Domingo in an attempt to attract Chinese merchants.[4]
1629 summer Madou ambushes and kills 35 Dutch soldiers[7]
1630 February Madou signs a nine-month truce with the Dutch[7]
1631 Spanish Formosa uses sulphur in Taiwan to trade for Chinese goods[4]
1633 7 July Battle of Liaoluo Bay: Hans Putmans' fleet sails into the harbor of Xiamen and fire on Zheng Zhilong's fleet without warning[6]
22 October Battle of Liaoluo Bay: Hans Putmans' fleet is defeated by Zheng Zhilong off of Kinmen[6]
1634 5 November Dutch forces rout Taccariang's forces[7]
Liu Xiang attacks Fort Zeelandia in retaliation for their their refusal to aid him against Zheng Zhilong, but fails[6]
Chinese start planting sugarcane near Fort Provintia[1]
1635 winter Dutch pacification campaign on Formosa: The Dutch defeat Madou[7]
1636 The Dutch declare a pax hollandica in the plains around the Bay of Tayouan[7]
1637 The Spanish withdraw half their forces from Taiwan[4]
1641 The Dutch attempt to oust the Spaniards from Keelung but fail[8]
1642 August The Dutch oust the Spaniards in Keelung; so ends Spanish Formosa[8]
1653 Taiwan becomes the second most profitable trading port in Asia, due to its ideal central location between Japan, China and southeast Asia.
1660 Albrecht Herport notes that even in their depleted state, there are an abundance of deer in Taiwan[2]
1662 Koxinga lays siege to Fort Zeelandia with the Dutch surrendering nine months later.
1683 Kingdom of Tungning are defeated by the Qing Empire, which has assumed full control over mainland China.

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1722 Zhu Yigui rebellion suppressed.
1732 Qing forces under the administration of the Yongzheng Emperor suppress Dajiaxi (大甲西) aboriginal rebellion.[9]
1787–1788 Lin Shuangwen rebellion (林爽文事件) suppressed after nine months of constant battling.[10]

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1809 Pirate Cai Qian is surrounded by the Qing navy and commits suicide.[citation needed]
1867 American military expedition sent to Kenting in response to the Rover incident.
1871 54 shipwrecked Ryūkyūan sailors killed by Paiwan aborigines in Mudan Incident.
1874 Japan sends punitive expedition of 3,600 soldiers to Taiwan in retribution for Mudan Incident.
1875 Taiwan is divided into two prefectures, Taipeh Prefecture and a modified Taiwan Prefecture.
1884 Keelung and Tamsui harbor are blockaded by the French Navy during the Sino-French War.
1887 Taiwan is reorganized administratively as a Taiwan Province with Liu Mingchuan as the first governor.
1895 Qing China signs the Treaty of Shimonoseki ceding Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan after being defeated by the Japanese Navy in the First Sino-Japanese War.
Pro-Qing officials declare the Republic of Formosa in an attempt to resist the arrival of the Japanese. Tang Ching-sung (唐景崧) named president.
1899 The Japanese Imperial government suppressed any opposition to its rule and eliminated all anti-Japanese groups on the island.
Bank of Taiwan established to encourage Japanese investment into Taiwan.
Taiwan yen is issued by the Bank of Taiwan with an exchange ratio on par with the Japanese yen.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1901 Railroad between Keelung and Hsinchu rebuilt.
1904 Taiwan bank notes issued.
1905 Earthquake in Chiayi.
First population census. (First Provisional Taiwan Household Registration Survey)
Taiwan becomes financially self-sufficient and is weaned off subsidies from Japan's central government.
1907 Beipu Incident led by Cai Ching-lin (蔡清琳).
1908 North-South (Western Line) Railway completed.
1913 Miaoli Incident.
1915 Tapani Incident, largest revolt in Taiwanese history; over 100 protesters killed by Japanese authorities.
Silai Temple Incident led by Yu Qingfang (zh).
1921 Taiwanese Cultural Association founded.
"Petition to Establish a Taiwan Parliament" movement begins.
1923 Crown Prince Hirohito (Later Emperor) of Japan visits Taiwan.
1924 Yilan Line Railroad completed.
1926 Hwatung Line Railroad completed.
1927 Taiwanese People's Party, Taiwan's first political party, founded.
1928 Taihoku Imperial University (now National Taiwan University) founded.
1930 Jianan (or Chianan) Canal (嘉南大圳) completed.
Wushe Incident; Japan forcefully crushes rebellion by the Atayal aborigine group.
1935 Earthquake in Miaoli.
Exposition to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Beginning of Administration in Taiwan.
1937 Four national parks planned.
Sun Moon Lake Hydroelectric Power Plant completed.
1939 Industrial production surpasses agricultural production.
1941 Taiwan Revolutionary League formed to coordinate anti-Japan resistance.
Segregation of primary schools between Japanese and Taiwanese children ends.
Heitō (Pingtung) Line Railroad completed
1943 Compulsory primary education begins. Enrollment rates reached 71.3% for Taiwanese children (including 86.4% for aborigine children) and 99.6% for Japanese children in Taiwan making Taiwan's enrollment rate the second highest in Asia after Japan.[11]
In the Cairo Declaration, the Allied Powers declared the return of Taiwan (including the Pescadores) to the Republic of China as one of several Allied demands.
Year Date Event
1945 Popular Legislature Election Law enacted.
Japan (then including Taiwan) is defeated in World War II, signs Japanese Instrument of Surrender (September). United States directs Japanese forces to surrender to ROC as per General Order No. 1 (August).
Chen Yi of the Kuomintang is appointed as Chief Executive of Taiwan as the Republic of China proclaims October 25 as Retrocession Day.
1947 February 28 Incident; "White Terror" begins.
US consulate in Taipei proposed "status of Taiwan is undetermined" and "Taiwan Under UN trustee" program in March; proposal was rejected by the United States State Department.
Chen Yi recalled and Taiwan Provincial Government established.
1948 National Assembly of the Republic of China passes Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. P. C. Chang is among its authors.
1949 April 6 Incident.
The New Taiwan dollar is issued, exchanged at 1:40,000 old Taiwan dollars.
Kuomintang army defeated in the Chinese Civil War, flees in exile to Taiwan with 2 million refugees.
The capital of the Republic of China (ROC) relocated from Nanjing to Taipei on 10 December 1949.
Martial law and the White Terror period. (to 1987)
1950 In late June, President Truman proclaims: "The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations."[citation needed]
1951 Treaty of San Francisco officially signed by 49 nations; Japan officially renounced claims to Taiwan, but without designating a recipient.
1952 Treaty of San Francisco comes into force. Japan renounces all right, title, and claim to Taiwan, but no "receiving country" is designated. However, Japan and the Republic of China then sign Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei).
1958 823 Artillery War.
1959 August 7 Flood: serious flooding in central Taiwan.
1960 Free China Incident.
1964 Shihmen Reservoir completed.
Peng Ming-min arrested for the draft of A Declaration of Formosan Self-salvation.
1966 Chinese Cultural Renaissance
1971 The seat for "China" at the United Nations Security Council is assumed by the People's Republic of China, in place of the ROC.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758
1972 The United States establishes diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, and acknowledges the One China Policy in the Shanghai Communique.
1975 President Chiang Kai-shek dies. Yen Chia-kan assumes the presidency until 20 May 1978.
1978 Chiang Ching-kuo elected President.
1979 The United States passes the Taiwan Relations Act, which affirms US commitment to defend Taiwan militarily and to treat Taiwan as a state for most purposes of U.S. law.
Kaohsiung Incident.
Western Line Railroad fully electrified; North-Link Line completed.
1980 Lin Family Murders on the anniversary of the February 28 Incident.
Hsinchu Science Park founded.
1981 Chen Wun-cheng (陳文成) Incident.
1984 Labor Standards Law enacted.
1986 Typhoon Wayne makes landfall in the west coast of central Taiwan.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the first oppositional political party after World War II, formed illegally from the Tangwai movement.
Yuan T. Lee wins the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
1987 1987 Lieyu massacre (March 7 Incident); followed by the Martial law lifted on July 15.
1988 President Chiang Ching-kuo dies; Lee Teng-hui assumes the presidency.
Bans on publishing newspapers lifted.
1989 January 18 Bans on establishing new political parties lifted
Bans on establishing new commercial banks lifted.
Cheng Nan-jung Self-immolation.
1990 Wild Lily student movement in Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
1991 Legislative Yuan and National Assembly elected in 1947 were forced to resign.
The first democratic election of National Assembly.
South-Link Line Railroad completed.
1992 Fair Trade Law enacted.
The first democratic election of the Legislative Yuan.
1992 Consensus
1994 National Health Insurance begins.
1995 US government reverses policy and allows President Lee Teng-hui to visit the US. The People's Republic of China responds with the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis by launching a series of missiles into the waters off Taiwan. The Taiwan stock market loses one-third of its value.
February 28 Incident monument erected; President Lee Teng-hui publicly apologizes on behalf of the KMT.
1996 President Bill Clinton dispatches the USS Nimitz supercarrier to patrol the Taiwan Strait.
The first direct presidential election; Lee Teng-hui elected.
Muzha Line of the Taipei Metro completed.
1997 Tamsui Line of the Taipei Metro completed.
Private cellular phone companies begin services.
1999 Resolution on Taiwan's Future
Chi-Chi earthquake.
2000 Chen Shui-bian, the opposition candidate from the DPP, elected president by a lead of 2.5% of votes marking the end of the KMT status as the ruling party. Voter turnout was 82.69%; first peaceful transfer of power.
Four Noes and One Without
Yilan Line railroad electrified.

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2001 Three mini-links between Kinmen, Matsu and the mainland of Fujian begins.
Private fixed-line telephone companies begin services.
Serious flooding caused by Typhoon Nari.
2002 Entry into the World Trade Organization.
Penetration rate of cellular phones exceeds 100%.
2003 SARS outbreaks.
North-Link Line railroad electrified.
2004 Second north-south freeway completed.
228 Hand-in-Hand Rally.
President Chen Shui-bian is re-elected by a margin of 0.22% votes after being shot the day before.
Taipei 101 becomes World's Tallest Building.
2005 The first direct commercial airplane flights from Beijing to Taipei for the Chinese New Year.
The PRC passes an "anti-secession law" authorizing the use of force against Taiwan and the ROC government should it formally declare independence. In response, 1.6 million people marched in Taipei against China's "anti-secession law". Similar marches occur across the world by Taiwanese nationalists. Protests against the PRC were held worldwide, including, but not limited to: Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Paris, and Sydney.
Pan-Blue leaders visit to mainland China
President Chen is invited and attends the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He is the first ROC president to visit the Vatican.
The National Assembly of the Republic of China convenes for the last time to implement several constitutional reforms, including single-member two-vote districts, and votes to transfer the power of constitutional reform to the popular ballot, essentially abolishing itself.
2006 Taiwan's first high-speed rail line, Taiwan High Speed Rail, begins operation.
Rename "Chiang Kai-shek International Airport" to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
2007 Rename Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall.
Taiwan applies for membership in the United Nations under the name "Taiwan", and is rejected by the General Assembly.
2008 1025 demonstration
Chen Yunlin visit
Wild Strawberry student movement
Lien Chen represents Ma Ying-jeou meets Hu Jintao at APEC Peru 2008
March 9 Red Line of the Kaohsiung MRT completed.
March 22 presidential election; with 58.48% of the vote, KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou defeats DPP candidate Frank Hsieh. Many voters boycott the referendum on whether and how to join UN so the level of voter participation required for referendum to be considered valid is not achieved.
May 20 Ma Ying-jeou sworn into office as the 12th President of ROC. Second peaceful transfer of power. Tsai Ing-wen inaugurate as the Chairperson of DPP.
July the first direct China-Taiwan flights begin in nearly 6 decades.[12][13][14]
2009 World Games 2009
Typhoon Morakot
October 17 Ma Ying-jeou inaugurates as Chairperson of Kuomintang.
2012 January 14 presidential election; with 51.6% of the vote, KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou defeats DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen.
2013 Ma Ying-jeou meets Pope Francis, the first ROC president to meet with the pope.
2014 March 18 Sunflower Student Movement, students occupy the Legislative Yuan force to halt the enforcement of Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement.
November 29 Regional election; DPP elects 13 mayor and magistrates.
2015 Ma Ying-jeou meets with Xi Jinping, the first Cross-Strait leader meeting.
2016 January 16 presidential election; with 56.3% of the vote, DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen defeats KMT candidate Eric Chu.
May 20 Tsai Ing-wen sworn into office as the 14th and current President of ROC. Third peaceful transfer of power.


  1. ^ a b c d Andrade 2008f.
  2. ^ a b c d e Andrade 2008a.
  3. ^ a b c d Huang (2005), Chapter 3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Andrade 2008d.
  5. ^ Twitchett 1998, p. 603.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Andrade 2008b.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Andrade 2008c.
  8. ^ a b Andrade 2008e.
  9. ^ Shepherd, John R. (2015). "The Island Frontier of the Ch'ing, 1684-1780". In Rubinstein, Murray A. Taiwan: A New History. Routledge. 
  10. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 80-1.
  11. ^ Huang (2005), Chapter 6.
  12. ^ Historic China-Taiwan flights begin – CNN.com
  13. ^ BBC NEWS |World |Asia-Pacific |Direct China-Taiwan flights begin
  14. ^ China resumes direct flights to Taiwan after 60 years |World news |The Guardian


External links[edit]