Slightly bigger than Japan’s Kyushu and Canada’s Vancouver Island, Taiwan—also known as Formosa—is home to over 23 million people and is situated upon crossroads and frontiers.

Located on a blurry division between East and Southeast Asia, the island has been a crucial trade link between various regions since the 17th century. It is an ideal setting for the mixing of diverse languages, cultures and ethnicities.

Photo: Taiwanese night market
Taiwanese night market

Taiwan’s Names, Cultures, Languages and Timeline


The island has had many names over the centuries. What do they mean? Where do they come from?


Taiwanese society encompasses 16 Formosan nations and three distinct Han communities.


Taiwan has over 20 languages and dialects belonging to two entirely different families!


Major events in Taiwanese history from 10,000 BC right down to the 21st century.

Antique map of Taiwan
Antique map of Taiwan (Formosa)