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Table of Táiwān History

Other Táiwān Reference Materials

This reference table is mostly divided by reigns, and the index of "direct links" at the beginning shows the first year of each reign. Because reign years and Western years do not begin at quite the same time, some correspondences can be off slightly (as in other sources). For western dates, the year is in some cases followed by the month or the month and day, given as pseudo-decimal values following the year. For example, 1895.0417 means April 17, 1895. (You know what happened on that day, right? If not, check it out.)

A more detailed table of events involved with collapse of the Míng and the rise of the Qīng covers palace intrigues and other mainland events important to that change, but not directly part of the Táiwān story covered here. (Link)

You may also wish to consult Gregory Adam Scott's "Timeline of Political Events in Late Qing and Early Republican China" (link).

I am most grateful to Gabriela Goff, Eleanor Roosevelt College (UCSD) Class of 2015, for the delightful watercolors that illustrate this page.

Direct Links:

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Pre-Míng Times

10,000± - 500± BC
Various prehistoric sites suggest settlement in many parts of the island, but the relationship between prehistoric inhabitants and the "aborigines" of the historic periods remains quite unclear (and heavily politicized).
7000± - 5000± BC
Possible general southward spread of rice agriculture from the Yangtze basin into Fújiàn 福建 and possible travel of rice farmers to Táiwān by canoe. (Although still widely held, this view has been challenged by recent research.)
7000± - 3000± BC
The sea gradually inundates the Mǐn River Basin (near Fúzhōu 福州 in northerm Fújiàn 福建), according to recent research, and hence probably would have destroyed marshy lands previously assumed to be preadapative to rice agriculture spreading south from the lower Yangtze region. (This would have created small islands from what were previously —and subsequently— hills.)

NOTE: According to studies published in 2011, the principal subsistance activity in coastal Fújiàn would have shifted from largely agricultural to largely maritime. The inundation probably peaked about 3000 BC, when similar, maritime sites appear in Táiwān. By 2000 BC in Fújiàn, rice and other agricultural products seem have become more important than marine resources again.

3000± BC
First known agricultural villages appear on the Táiwān Plains.
1000± BC
Pottery is produced in Táiwān similar to pottery from the lower Yangtze and adjacent coasts dating from about 1500-500 BC.

NOTE: The pottery style distribution roughly covered an area known, according to early writers, as "The Hundred Yuè" 百越 kingdoms, home to the possibly non-Hàn Yuè people. From about 250 BC the First Emperor of Qín 秦始皇帝 and his Hàn Dynasty successors attacked and largely conquered the various Yuè groups, and some scholars speculate that it was fleeing Yuè who became the proto-Austronesians and may have populated Táiwān.

(NB: Yuè is a term still used for the far south of China, and corresponds to the "Việt" in Vietnam (Việt Nam), which in Chinese literally means "Southern Yuè" or "South of Yuè.")

AD 239
The state of Wú 吳國 unsuccessfully attempts to establish a settlement on Táiwān, said to consist of "10,000" ill-fated souls.
First known Hàn Chinese settlement, apparently of Hakka speakers, in the Pescadores Islands, today's Pénghú Xiàn 澎湖縣. (For the word "Hakka," see the note for 1722.)
1300± - 1600±
With the development of improved ships, Táiwān becomes a major off-shore center for pirates and some traders, usually involved in efforts to avoid Chinese coastal defenses or taxes.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1300-1600 Traders, Fishermen, Pirates
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015

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The Míng Dynasty (1368-1644)

1544± (= Míng Jiājìng 明嘉靖 23)
Portuguese ships sail past Táiwān and give the island the Portuguese name Ilha Formosa, meaning “Beautiful Island” (Měilì Dǎo 美麗島).(In Chinese “Formosa” is variously transcribed, for example as Fúmósà 福摩薩 or Fú’érmóshā 福爾摩沙.)
1603 (= Míng Wànlì 明萬曆 31)
Chén Dì 陳第, accompanying an anti-pirate expedition headed by captain Shěn Yǒuróng 沈有容, meets indigenous leader Dàmílè 大彌勒of Xīngǎng Shè 新港社 (“Sinkan”) village. His account of the visit to Táiwān, Account of the Eastern Savages (Dōngfān Jì 東番記) is one of the earliest Chinese mentions of Táiwān.
1604 (= Míng Wànlì 明萬曆 32)
Dutch envoy and naval commander Wijbrand van Waerwijck (Wéi Máláng 韋麻郎) sails to Pénghú 澎湖, hoping to establish Dutch trade relations with Míng dynasty China.
1622(= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟2)
Dutch naval forces are ejected from Macao (Àomén 澳門) and establish a presence in the Pescadores (Pénghú 澎湖) in the hope of controlling the Táiwān Strait and establishing shipping ports on the Chinese coast.
1624 (= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟4)
The Chinese navy manages to drive Dutch forces from Pénghú 澎湖. The Dutch turn to Táiwān, landing in what is modem day Ānpíng 安平, in Táinán 臺南 . (The Dutch will remain in Táiwān until 1662, and will encourage Hàn immigration to provide a stable agricultural economy. One lasting Dutch contribution will be the importation of 100 or so hump-backed cattle from India, the descendants of which, with water buffalos, will be critical draft-animals in Táiwān's agricultural development until the late XXth century.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1624 The Dutch Bring Cattle
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1624 (= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟 5)
The Dutch build Fort Zeelandia (Rèlánzhē Chéng 熱蘭遮城) on Dàyuán 大員 Peninsula guarding the protected bay, the "Táijiāng Inner Sea" 臺江內海, at Táinán 臺南. (Construction on the fort continued until 1634. The peninsula was called Ānpíng 安平 from 1661 on.)

NOTE: The walls of Fort Zeelandia were held together by mortar made from a mixture of sticky rice, ground oyster shells, brown sugar, and lime. Although heavily restored, the structure still stands, including some of the original walls and mortar, a testimony to the stickiness of sticky rice.

1626 (= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟6)
Spaniards occupy Jīlóng 基隆 and establish Fort San Salvador (Shèng Jiàozhǔ Chéng 聖教主城) on what is now called Hépíng Island (Hépíng Dǎo 和平島).
1626 (= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟6)
Catholic Dominican missionaries establish a mission in Táiwān. (They will be ejected in 1643.)
1627 (= Míng Tiānqǐ 明天啟 7)
Dutch missionary Reverend Georgius Candidus (Kāng Dé 康德) arrives at Xīnggǎng Village (Xīnggǎng Shè 新港社) (“Sinkan”).
1628 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 1 )
The Spaniards set up a Catholic mission in Dànshuǐ 淡水.
1628 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 1 )
The Japanese businessman Hamado Yahyoe (Bīn tián mí 濱田彌) captures the Dutch Governor-General Pieter Nuyts (Nú Yìzī 奴易茲).
1628 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎1)
Zhèng Zhīlóng 鄭芝龍 accepts the patronage of the Míng Dynasty.
1630 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 3)
The Dutch sends a military force to put down the revolt at Xīnggǎng Shè 新港社 Village.
1632 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 5)
The Spaniards find their way to the Táiběi Basin (Táiběi péndì 臺北盆地) by following the Dànshuǐ River (Dànshuǐ Hé 淡水河) upstream.
1636 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 9)
Indigenous people in Dànshuǐ 淡水 revolt against the Spaniards
1636 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 9)
Representatives from 28 of southern Táiwān’s plains indigenous villages gather at Xīngǎng Village (Xīngǎng Shè 新港社) to swear an oath of loyalty to the Dutch East India Company (Hélán Liánhé Dōngyìndù Gōngsī 荷蘭聯合東印度公司), although it is unclear how they understood the event.
1636 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 9)
The Dutch put down resistance in Mádòu 麻豆 (“Mattau”) and Xiāolǒng 蕭壟 (“Soulong,” now Jiālǐ 佳里), both in Táinán 臺南).
1636 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 9)
Táiwān's first known school is established, apparently intended by Dutch missionaries for plains aborigines and using materials printed in an aboriginal language represented in Latin letters. (See 1661.0517.)
1642 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 15)
The Dutch expel the Spaniards from northern Táiwān, taking advantage of the reduction in Spanish troops sent to quell rebellion in Spanish-occupied Philippines.
1643 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 16)
Spanish Dominican mission founded in 1626 is closed and the missionaries expelled.
1644 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 17 & Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 1)
Lǐ Zìchéng 李自成 invades Běijīng 北京; the last Míng Emperor Sīzōng 思宗 (he of the Chóngzhēn 崇禎 reign name) hangs himself.
1644 (= Míng Chóngzhēn 明崇禎 17 & Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 1)
Zhèng Zhīlóng 鄭芝龍 supports Prince Fú’s (Fú wáng 福王) hasty organization of the so-called “Southern Míng” (Nánmíng 南明) dynasty to challenge the new (Qīng ) regime. (This dynastic name is not recognized by later historians or used to date events.) (Prince Fú, whose actual name was Zhū Yóusōng 朱由崧, was the son of the Wànlì 萬麗 emperor (reign 20a-14, 1572-1620) by a favorite concubine and had a real but tenuous claim on the Míng throne.)

NOTE: The collapse of the Míng dynasty and its replacement by the Qīng dynasty of the Manchus was a process involving court intrigues and other events that are not directly relevant to Táiwān. A summary chronology of this interesting period from 1573 to 1662 can be found on a separate web page. (Link)

For a note about the terms "Manchu" and "Manchuria," click here).

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The Nánmíng 南明 Dynasty & Zhèng Rule (1645-1683)

1645 (= Nánmíng Hóngguāng 南明弘光 1)
1645 (= Nánmíng Hóngguāng 南明弘光 1 and Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 2)
First and only year of the Hóngguāng 弘光 reign year of King Fú (Fú wáng 福王) of the Nánmíng 南明 dynasty, who hopes to expel the Manchus and reestablish the Míng dynasty.
1645 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 2)
The Dutch first call on plains indigenous elders to form a Consultative Council (Píngyìhuì 評議會).
1646 (= Nángmíng Lóngwǔ 隆武 1)
King Táng (Táng wáng 唐王) becomes emperor of the “Southern Míng” (Nánmíng 南明) dynasty and takes the reign name of Lóngwǔ 隆武, hoping to expel the Manchus and reestablish the Míng dynasty.
The Southern Míng emperor becomes convinced that his fate will depend upon Zhèng Sēn 鄭森, the extremely impressive 21-year-old son of loyalist Zhèng Zhīlóng 鄭芝龍, and changes the personal name Sēn "Forest" to Chénggōng 成功 "Success." As a yet greater mark of his favor, infatuation, or dependency, the "emperor" also confers the Míng royal surname Zhū ( ) on Zhèng Sēn.
Out of respect, Zhèng does not use the name Zhū, being thereafter known as Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功. However, the conferal of the name carries with it the grandiloquent title Guóxìngyé 國姓爺 "Lord with the Royal Name”. (Guóxìngyé is spelled “Koxinga” in English, based on the Hokkien pronunciation Kok-sèng-yâ. The pronunciation Watōnai is standard in Japanese and occurs in some English books.)
1647 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 4)
Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功 (Koxinga), Zhèng Zhīlóng’s 鄭芝龍 son, having abandoned school, leads troops into battle against the Qīng forces.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1647 Koxinga Leaves School to Battle
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1647 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 4)
Zhèng Zhīlóng 鄭芝龍 is forced to surrender to Qīng forces. (Táiwān, under Dutch administration, is not directly affected by this surrender.)
1648 (= Nánmíng Yǒnglì 南明永曆 1)
First and only year of the Yǒnglì 永曆 reign of the Nánmíng 南明 dynasty, which hopes to expel the Manchus and reestablish the Míng dynasty. (No further reign names are recorded for the Nánmíng dynasty. But hopes of Míng revival continued in Táiwān. [See 1661.] Some writers continue to use dates of the Yǒnglì reign through the founding of the Qīng administration of Táiwā in 1683.)
1648 (= Nánmíng Yǒnglì 南明永曆 1 = Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 5)
Laws are changed to permit marriage between Chinese and Manchus.
1652 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 9)
An anti-Dutch rebellion of Chinese immigrants (and some aboriginal allies) is led by Chinese immigrant Guō Huáiyī 郭懷一 but fails. About 3,000 to 4,000 rebels are massacred and more than 1,000 are taken prisoner, a number that strains Dutch capacity to maintain them in prison. (It is celebrated by some people today for being Táiwān's first anti-colonial uprising.)
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1652 An Anti-Dutch Rebellion
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1653 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 10)
The Dutch build Fort Providentia (Pǔluómínzhē chéng 普羅民遮城) [Note 1] on land locally called Sakkam (Chìkǎn 赤崁) [Note 2] purchased from Xīngǎng Shè 新港社 (“New Port Village”) (“Sinkan”), (modern Táinán 臺南).

NOTE 1: Fort Providentia is called “Fort Provintia” in some sources. As far as I know, this is the widespread propagation of an early proofing error. Providentia means “precaution” or “providence” or “foresight” in Latin. “Provintia” is not a Latin word.) The structure was lost to an earthquake in the 1800s and later rebuilt.

NOTE 2 : Chìkǎn 赤崁 (also written 赤嵌), or “Red Ridge,” is a district of Zhànjiāng 湛江市 City in Guǎngdōng 廣東 Province. However, its use here is usually understood to be merely a sound transcription into characters of a pre-Chinese name “Sakkam.” Alternatively, the name “Sakkam” (in various spellings) may be a clumsy transcription of the Chinese name intended to refer to the slight ridge on which the fort was built.

1659.07 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 16)
Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功 having allied himself with Zhāng Huángyán 張煌言 in a Yangtze delta (Cháng Jiāng liúyù 長江流域) campaign, is defeated the the attempt to defend the Míng capital of Nánjīng 南京.
1660 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 17)
On the death of a favorite concubine, the young Qīng Shùnzhì emperor, now only 22 years old, proposes to commit suicide in remorse, causing courtiers to worry that he is coming unhinged.
1661 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
The Shùnzhì emperor dies of smallpox at the age of 23 and his third son is enthroned as the Kāngxī emperor at the age of 7, under the tutelage of four regents, dominated by the Manchu warlord Áobài 鼇拜 (better known in English by his Manchu name, Oboi).
1661.03 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功 (Koxinga) sets out with a force of 25,000 from Xiàmén 廈門 to cross the strait to Táiwān. En route he siezes the Pescadores archipelago (Pénghú 澎湖) in the eastern Táiwān Strait.

NOTE: Táng and Wáng give the date of 1661.0421 for Zhèng's departure from Xiàmén, which would move the chronology of subsequent events slightly later.

1661.0331 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Using shallow-draft vessels and taking advantage of high tides, Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功 (Koxinga) lands in Lù’ěrmén 鹿耳門 (in modern Táinán 臺南 City), enabling him to launch a surprise attack on the less fortified inland side of the Dutch fortifications. Although Zhèng's foothold on Táiwān will be permanent, the siege of Dutch installations will last nearly a year.

NOTE: The west coast of Táiwān has moved a great deal over the centuries due both to coastal erosion and to widespread silting due to run-off from the mountains into the plains, building river deltas. Reconstructing the exact coast line at various periods is therefore challenging. For this reason, Lù’ěrmén 鹿耳門 at that time was probably not quite where the town of the same name is today. The rival hamlet of Māzǔgōng 媽祖宮 persuasively claims that modern Lù’ěrmén was under water in the XVIIth century, and that Zhèng’s landing point was more likely located in modern Māzǔgōng.

Koxinga's attack surprised the Dutch, whose deeper-draft ships led them to believe that no serious sea attack would be possible except through the well fortified main harbor.

Note that the collapse of Dutch fortifications did not necessarily mean the surrender of the many Dutch allies, including some aboriginal groups.

1661.0502 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Zhèng declares Táiwān the Eastern Capital (Dōngdū 東都) of the Southern Míng Government and establishes three administrative districts: 承天府 (modern Táinán City 臺南市) and two xiàn (“counties”): Tiānxīng Xiàn 天興>縣 (modern Jiāyì 嘉義縣) and Wànnián Xiàn 萬年縣 (modern Fèngshān City鳳山市, now part of Gāoxióng Xiàn 高雄縣). He establishes an administrative office, apparently also called the Chéngtiān Fǔ, in the old Fort Providentia. (The building, located in downtown Táinán 臺南, is today referred to as the Chìkǎn Lóu 赤崁樓. The peninsular region extending out to old Fort Zeelandia, formerly named Dàyuán 大員, is renamed Ānpíng 安平.)
1661.0517(= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Aboriginal tribes allied with the Dutch surrender to Koxinga, apparently partly in rebellion against compulsory instruction in Dutch. (See 1636.)
1661 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Zhèng forces institute a "military camp farming system" (túntián 屯田).

Hsieh writes (1964:152):
"The farms were of three kinds: the official farm, the semi-official farm, and the military farm. The official farms were located on land confiscated from the Dutch. The semi-official farms were owned by … [Zhèng's] military and civilian officials and other loyal supporters. The owner paid the tax and the farming was done by tenants. … [Zhèng Chénggōng] designed a military camp farming system under which soldiers participated in farm work during their spare time in order to support themselves. Such military farms were established in about forty locations. The land tax system was adapted from that used by the Míng Dynasty. The three kinds of farms paid different taxes. …"

1661 (= Qīng Shùnzhì 清順治 18)
Angered by coastal activities by Japanese, Dutch, and Chinese pirates, the imperial regent Oboi decrees (on behalf of the emperor) an evacuation of the southeaster coast of Fújiàn 福建 and especially Guǎngdōng 廣東 provinces to a distance of 20 Chinese miles inland, referred to as the Coastal Evacuation Order (Qiānhǎi Lìng 遷海令). [Note] The decree will be lifted in 1669, when Oboi is overthrown.

This assumed that the Manchu government actually controlled the coast, which seems to have been only partially true. The Zhèng family, with other loyalists, exercised surprisingly enduring control over many parts of Fújiàn. However, one result of the decree was probably to inspire widespread, if illegal, migration to Táiwān and southeast Asia.

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1662.0201 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 1)
Frederik Coyett, the Dutch governor, formally surrenders Táiwān to Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功, ending 38 years of occupation that began in 1624.
1662.0508 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 1)
Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功 dies of illness.
1662.06 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 1)
Zhèng Chénggōng's 鄭成功 son Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 conducts a funeral for him in Xiàmén, assumes his father's position, and appoints Zhōu Quánbīn 周全斌 as supreme military commander (dōudū 都督), Chén Yǒnghuá 陳永華 as chief counselor for military affairs (zīyí 諮議), and Féng Yīfàn 馮鍚範 as bodyguard (shìwèi 仕衛). Chén in particular will be an influential policymaker thereafter.
1662.11 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 1)
Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 arrives in Táiwān from Xiàmén 廈門 to assume the position formerly held by his father, Zhèng Chénggōng 鄭成功.
1663 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 2)
The Dutch, no longer occupying Táiwān, ally with Qīng forces to attack Jīnmén 金門 and Xiàmén 廈門. Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 retreats "temporarily" inland to Tóngshān 銅山 in Ānhuī 安徽 Province.
1664 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 3)
Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 abandons Jīnmén 金門 and Xiàmén 廈門.
1664 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 3)
The Zhèng clan changes the name of the Eastern Capital Dōngdū 東都) to Dōngníng 東寧, discarding the implication that it is the capital of a restorable Southern Míng dynasty and considering it a kingdom instead. Tiānxīng 天興 and Wànnián 萬年 counties (xiàn ) are reclassified as subprefectures (zhōu )
1665 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 4)
Chén Yǒnghuá 陳永華 instructs the people on salt production and institutes the so-called bǎo-jiā 保甲 system for low-budget, “neighborhood-watch”-style local-level control.
1666 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 5)
Chén Yǒnghuá 陳永華 advocates establishment of a Confucian temple and school.
1669 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 8)
The emperor, now 14, overthrows his warlord regents (with the help of his grandmother and the palace guard) and takes command. He lifts the Coastal Evacuation Decree (Qiānhǎilìng 遷海令) of 1661. (Oboi is executed the following year.)
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1669 The Young Kāngxī Emperor Sentences Oboi
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1670 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 9)
the Zhèng faction’s General Liú Guóxuān 劉國軒 massacres several hundred indigenous people at Shālù 沙轆 (modern Shālù 沙鹿 district in Táizhōng 臺中 City); only six survivors escape to the coast.
1673 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 12)
The Three Feudatories Rebellion (Sānfān zhī Luàn 三藩之亂) breaks out in China; Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 joins the forces of the rebellion. The rebellion will continue until 1681. (Details on the Míng-Qīng Transition page. Link)
1681 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 20)
Zhèng Jīng 鄭經 dies. His son, Zhèng Kèshuǎng 鄭克塽, assumes the throne in Táiwān.
1683 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 22)
General Shī Láng 施琅, taking advantage of a famine on Táiwān, leads Qīng troops in assault on Pénghú 澎湖 and Táiwān 臺灣; Zhèng forces are no match.
1683 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 22)
Zhèng Kèshuǎng 鄭克塽 surrenders. Having successfully vanquished the Táiwān rebel regime, General Shī Láng 施琅 proposes to sell the useless and annoying island back to the Dutch. The emperor overrules him.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Kāngxī 康熙 Reign (1662-1722)

(To convert Kāngxī reign years to the Western calendar, add 1661.)
1684 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 23)
Táiwān is included in the Qīng administrative system; establishing “Táiwān Prefecture” (Táiwān Fǔ 臺灣府) as a part of Fújiàn 福建 Province.
1684 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 23)
Táiwān Prefecture School ( 臺灣府學), Táiwān County School (Táiwān Xiàn Xué 臺灣縣學), and Fongshan County School (Fèngshān Xiàn Xué 鳳山縣學) are established.
1686 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 25)
Hakkas (Kèjiā 客家) settle Lower Dànshuǐ Plain (Xià Dànshuǐ Píngyuán 下淡水平原). (For the word "Hakka," see the note for 1722.)

The port town of Dànshuǐ 淡水, or “Sweet Water,” is at the north end of Táiwān, astride the river of the same name. The unrelated “Lower Dànshuǐ Plain” is at the south end of Táiwān, in modern Píngdōng 屏東 county.

1694 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 35)
Prefect (zhīfǔ 知府) Gao Gongcian 高拱乾 edits “Táiwān Prefecture Gazetteer” (Táiwān Fǔ Zhì 臺灣府志).
1697 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 36)
Yu Yonghe 郁永河 mines sulfur in the North, recording his experiences in his Adventures in a Small Sea, effectively a history of Táiwān in the 1600s. (Píhǎi Jìyóu 裨海紀遊), printed following year.
1699 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 38)
The plains indigenous people in Tūnxiāo Village (Tūnxiāo Shè 吞霄社) rebel against abuse by Chinese interpreters. Tribes in Dànshuǐ Shè 淡水社 Village and Běitóu Shè 北投社 Village join in the rebellion.
1709 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 48)
Chén-Lài Zhāng 陳賴章 settles Dàjiālà 大佳臘 (present-day Xīyuán 西園 in Táiběi 臺北).
1711 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 50)
The Qīng Government decrees that mainlanders settling in Táiwān must register with authorities in their hometown and return to that location within a prescribed period of time.
1714 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 53)
Qīng Government decrees that residents who wish to travel north of Dàjiǎ River (Dàjiǎ Xī 大甲溪) must obtain a permit from the government. Dànshuǐ 淡水 in the north is considered “beyond the realm of civilization” (huàwài zhi dì 化外之地).
1716 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 55)
Indigenous people in Ānlǐ 岸裡社 (present-day Shéngāng Xiāng 神岡鄉, Táizhōng 臺中 County) settle Māowùsǒng 貓霧揀 (“Babuza”).
1718 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 57)
An imperial decree, widely ignored, orders all overseas Chinese to return to China. (It will be strengthened in 1728, q.v., and lifted in 1893.)
1719 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 58)
Shī Shìbàng 施世榜 builds Dōngluó Bǎo 東螺堡 and Eight Bǎo Canal (Bā Bǎo Zùn 八堡圳). (A bǎo is a kind of fortified settlements.)
1720 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 59)
Two Quánzhōu 泉州 natives, Shī Chánglíng 施張齡 and Wu Luo 吳洛, along with Hakka Zhāng Zhènwàn 張振萬, settle the Táiběi 臺北 Basin. (For the word "Hakka," see the note for 1722.)
1721 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 60)
Indigenous people from Ālǐshān 阿里山 and Shuǐshālián 水沙連 Villages (shè ) rebel against abuse by interpreters. Rebellion lasts until 1722.
1721 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 60)
Zhū Yīguì 朱一貴 and Dù Jūnyīng 杜君英 lead an unsuccessful rebellion against the Qīng government and are executed.
1722 (= Qīng Kāngxī 清康熙 61)
Low-level armed feuding breaks out between Hoklo and Hakka people in southern Táiwān. Serious violence erupts again the following year.

The term Hoklo (Fúlǎo 福佬) —or Holo— is a cover term for immigrants from southern Fújiàn 福健 province speaking various, trivially different dialects of Southern Mǐn . The term "Hakka" (Kèjiā 客家) refers to immigrants, primarily from Guǎngdōng 廣東 province, speaking dialects of a distinctive language similar to Cantonese and not mutually intelligible with Southern Mǐn. A trickle of immigrants from other parts of China were not numerous enough to constitute enduring separate language communities. (The word Hoklo/Holo, seemingly a borrowing from Cantonese into English, was never colloquial in Taiwanese Hokkien, where the term Mǐnnánrén 閩南人 [Hokkien: Bân-lâm-lâng] is usual.)

For more on Táiwān immigrant groups, click here. For more on dialects of Chinese, click here. See note at 1809.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Yōngzhèng 雍正 Reign (1723-1735)

(To convert Yōngzhèng reign years to the Western calendar, add 1722.)
1723 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 1)
Lán Dǐngyuán 藍鼎元 writes “A Brief History of Táiwān Pacification” (Píng Tái Jìluè 平臺紀略).
1723 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 1)
Qīng Government establishes Jānghuà Xiàn 彰化縣, and the tíng (sub-prefectures) of Dànshuǐ 淡水 and Pénghú 澎湖.
1724 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 2)
Villagers from Quánshān Zhuāng 拳山莊, in Dànshuǐ 淡水 build the Wù Líxuē 霧里薛 irrigation canal (near modern Jǐngměi 景美 and Xīndiàn 新店).
1727 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 5)
Huáng Shújǐng 黃叔璥 writes “Notes on the Red Ridge” (Chìkǎn Bǐtán 赤崁筆談) and “Six Inquiries Into the Customs of the Savages” (Fānsú Liùkǎo 番俗六考).
1727 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 5)
The Qīng government prohibits bringing families to Táiwān.
1728 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 6)
An imperial decree declares that all overseas who did not return to China as ordered in 1718 are now banished and will be executed if they return to China. (The decree, widely ignored, will be lifted in 1893.)
1730 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 8)
Settlers without families on Táiwān are ordered to return to the mainland.
1732 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 10)
Lín Wǔlì 林武力 organizes tribes in Villages of Shālù Shè 沙轆社 and (Tūnxiāo Shè 吞霄社), laying siege to Zhānghuà Xiàn 彰化縣.
1732 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 10)
The Qīng government authorizes bringing families to Táiwān.
1734 (= Qīng Yōngzhèng 清雍正 12)
Travel to Táiwān is strictly prohibited.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Qiánlóng 乾隆 Reign (1736-1795)

(To convert Qiánlóng reign years to the Western calendar, add 1735.)
1738 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 3)
Lóngshān (“Dragon Mountain”) Temple (Lóngshān Sì 龍山寺) is erected in the riverside district (qū ) of Měngjiǎ 艋胛 (modern Wànhuá 萬華) in Táiběi 臺北 City).
1739 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 4)
Chinese settlers are prohibited from entering “savage lands” (fāndì 番地)
1744 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 9)
Plains indigenous people from four villages in Qiáobānián 瞧吧哖 move to the area between the Rivers Lǎonóng Xī 荖濃溪 and Nánzǐxiān Xī 楠梓仙溪.
Taiwan about 1748
1745 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 10)
Hoklo residents of Fèngshān 鳳山 move north to Táojiàn Bǎo 桃澗堡 (near present-day Táoyuán 桃園 City) in search of more farmland.
1745 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 10)
Quánzhōu 泉州 native Shěn Yòng 沈用 leads a settlement in Xíkǒu 錫口 (today’s Sōngshān 松山 District, Táiběi 臺北 City).
1747 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 12)
Hakka settlers move into Māolǐ 貓裡 “ (Cat Gut,” now renamed Miáolì 苗栗, “Seedlings and Chestnuts”).
1755 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 20)
Lín Chéngzǔ 林成祖, a settler at Bǎijiē Township (Bǎijiē Bǎo 擺接堡) in Dànshuǐ 淡水, begins construction of the Dà’ān 大安 irrigation canal system (irrigating an area encompassing present-day Zhōnghé 中和, Bǎnqiáo 板橋 and Tǔchéng 土城 in Táiběi Xiàn 臺北縣).
1759 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 24)
Special tax levied against Chinese “purchasing savage lands” (fān zū 番租).
1768 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 33)
Huang Jiao 黃教 attacks Qīng garrison at Gangshan 岡山, burning the Dàmùjiàng 大目降 Barracks (present-day Xīnhuà 新化, in Táinán 臺南), and launches assault on Doulioumen 斗六門.
1781 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 46)
Hoklo and plains indigenous people from Xiùláng Shè 秀朗社 (present-day Yǒnghé 永和, Táiběi Xiàn 臺北縣) make agreement to settle Shēnkēng 深坑埔 ("deep pit").
1782 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 47)
A dispute over gambling interests leads to large-scale armed conflict between Quánzhōu 泉州 and Zhāngzhōu 漳州 people in Zhānghuà 彰化. In suppressing the chaos, the Qīng the naval commander executes 200 people.
1786 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 51)
Lóngshān Sì 龍山寺 Temple is founded in Lùgǎng 鹿港.
1787 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 52)
The rebel Lín Shuǎngwén 林爽文 fails in the attempt to take over Táiwān.
1787 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 52)
The Qīng government prohibits people from bringing families to Táiwān.
1788 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 53)
Qīng implements military colony system (túnfān zhì 屯番制) in Táiwān.
1795 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 60)
Chén Zhōuquán 陳周全 rebels against the Qīng .
1795 (= Qīng Qiánlóng 清乾隆 60)
Wú Shāzhàn 吳沙占 leads the settlement of Tóuwéi 頭圍 (modern Tóuchéng 頭城 area in Yílán Xiàn 宜蘭縣) opened to cultivation.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Jiāqìng 嘉慶 Reign (1796-1820)

(To convert Jiāqìng reign years to the Western calendar, add 1795.)
1796 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 1)
Wámg Shìjùn 王士俊 opens private school in Zhúqiàn 竹塹. Zhèng Yòngxī 鄭用錫 and others go on to study there.
1797 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 2)
In Kavalan (Gézǎilán 蛤仔蘭, modern Yílán Xiàn 宜蘭縣), land rights disputes lead to armed conflict between area Hakka and Quánzhōu 泉州 people.
1804 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 9)
Led by Pān Xiánwén 潘賢文, the Plains indigenous people from the Zhānghuà 彰化 region move north to Kavalan (Gézǎilán 蛤仔蘭).
1805 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 10)
The pirate Cài Qiān 蔡牽 attacks Dànshuǐ 淡水, Lù’ěrmén 鹿耳門, and other areas, seizing merchant vessels.
1809 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 14)
Ethnic tension between Zhāngzhōu 漳州 and Quánzhōu 泉州 ethnic groups escalates into armed conflict that spreads to Zhānghuà 彰化 and Jiāyì 嘉義.

NOTE: Low-level armed conflict was common throughout Taiwan until the XXth century and attracted government suppression only if it was seen as dangerous. The disputes tended to involve local communities (or alliances of local communities) often associated with local surname alignments and/or with pseudo-ethnic identies (Hakka [Kèjiā 客家], Zhāngzhōu 漳州, and Quánzhōu 泉州 or occasionally aboriginal).

Precipitating issues in particular conflicts could be quite trivial, although underlying antipathies tended to be relatively long-lasting.

In general, the fighters were local vigilantes, and every village or neighborhood was able to marshal at least a small force of its own roughnecks (liúmáng 流氓) to defend its interests and those of its allies. The more or less constantly bubbling local violence is generally referred to as "local warfare" in English, xièdòu 械鬥 in Chinese. See note at 1722.

1809 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 14)
The Bǎo’ān Gōng 保安宮 Temple in Dàlóngdòng 大龍峒 is founded.
1814 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 19)
Guard-post leaders (àishǒu 隘首) Huáng Línwàng 黃林旺, Chén Dàyòng 陳大用, and Guō Bǎinián 郭百年 seize and occupy the indigenous villages of Shuǐlǐ 水裡 and Pǔlǐ 埔里 until 1817, when government troops drive Chinese tenant farmers out of Pǔlǐ and post “No Entry” signs.
1817 (= Qīng Jiāqìng 清嘉慶 22)
Dànshuǐ Sub-Prefecture Government sets up a Confucian school (rúxué 儒學) in Zhúqiàn 竹塹 (present-day Xīnzhú 新竹).

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Dàoguāng 道光 Reign (1821-1850)

(To convert Dàoguāng reign years to the Western calendar, add 1820.)
1823 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 3)
Lín Yǒngchūn 林詠春, a Kevalan (Gámǎlán 噶瑪蘭) tribal armorer, rebels against the Qīng government, attacking Qīngtán 青潭 and Dapinglin 大坪林.
1825 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 5)
Around 700 plains indigenous people from Dongshihjiao 東勢角 and Huludun 葫蘆墩 flee to Pǔlǐ 埔里.
1830s (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Reign)
Walter Henry Medhurst (1796-1857) (Mài Dūsī 麥都思), an English Congregationalist missionary to China and founder in 1842 of the London Missionary Society Press (Mòhǎi Shūguǎn 墨海書館.In the 1830s, with colleagues, he creates with others a Romanization system for Hokkien in the course of preparing a Bible translation (completed in 1847). Still the most commonly used Hokkien spelling system today, it is often called “Mission Romanization” in English, but some prefer to call it “Vernacular” or “POJ” after one of its modern Hokkien names, Pe̍h-ōe-jī (Mandarin: Báihuàzì 白話字). See 1832.
1831 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 11)
Jiāng Xiùluán 姜秀鑾, a Hakka, and Zhōu Bāngzhèng 周邦正, a Hoklo, jointly found the Jīnguǎngfú 金廣福 Corporation with government assistance and begin cultivating fields around Běipǔ 北埔 (present-day Xīnzhú Xiàn 新竹縣).
1832 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 12)
Publication of Walter Henry Medhurst’s A Dictionary of the Hok-këèn Dialect of the Chinese Language: According to the Reading and Colloquial Idioms: Containing about 12,000 Characters. Macao: Macao: Honorable East India Co.'s Press. See 1830.
1838 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 18)
The British enter Dànshuǐ 淡水 to trade opium for camphor.
The First Opium War. In the end China loses and is forced to open ports to European trade, including trade in opium. Roughly the same issues will be at stake in the Second Opium War (1456-1860), with roughly the same outcome.
1841 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 21)
An English vessel, the Nerbudda (Nà’ěrbùdá 納爾不達), hits a reef in Jīlóng 基隆 harbor. More than 400 people on board are killed or taken hostage.
1847 (= Qīng Dàoguāng 清道光 Year 27)
English Presbyterian Mission in China, destined to become the first Protestant mission in Táiwān, begins with arrival of William C. Burns (1815-1868) (Bīn Huìlián 宾惠廉 in Xiàmén 廈門 in Fújiàn 福建 province. In 1856 he moved to Shàntóu 汕頭 in Guǎngdōng 廣東, establishing an important mission to Hokkien speakers.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1847 William C. Burns Founds the First
Protestant Mission in Táiwān
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Xiánfēng 咸豐 Reign (1851-1861)

(To convert Xiánfēng reign years to the Western calendar, add 1850.)
1853 (= Qīng Xiánfēng 清咸豐 3 )
In Dànshuǐ 淡水 the Zhāngzhōu 漳州 and Quánzhōu 泉州 people engage in armed feuding. People from the Tóng’ān 同安 faction of the Quánzhōu 泉州 group retreat to Dàdàochéng 大稻埕.
The Second Opium War, essentially a continuation of the First Opium War (1839-1842).
1858 (= Qīng Xiánfēng 清咸豐 8)
“Treaty of Tientsin” (Tiānjīn Tiáoyuē 天津條約) is signed by the central government, ending the first period of the Second Opium War by opening additional trading ports and permitting travel by foreigners, including missionaries, throughout China. As a result, Táiwān will be forced to open some of its ports to international trade.
1859 (= Qīng Xiánfēng 清咸豐 9)
Armed conflict between Zhāngzhōu 漳州 and Quánzhōu 泉州 settlers erupts in areas throughout the north (including Dànshuǐ Gǎngzǎizuǐ 淡水港仔嘴 (modern Jiāngzicuì 江子翠, now part of Bāngqiáo 枋橋), Jiānàzǎi 加鈉仔 (modern Shuāngyuán 雙園), Bāngqiáo 枋橋, Zhīlán Zhuāng 芝蘭莊 (modern Shílín 士林), and Táozǎi Yuán 桃仔園 (modern Táoyuán 桃園). The violence continues into the following year.
1859 (= Qīng Xiánfēng 清咸豐 9)
Catholic Dominican missionaries, expelled in 1643, reestablish a mission in Gāoxióng 高雄, but a century later, in 1945, the number of Catholics in Táiwān was only about 8,000. Far more rapid Catholic expansion occurred after that, as foreign missionaries expelled from the mainland flocked to Táiwān. Because their language competence tended to be in Mandarin, Catholic mission progress was greatest among immigrant Mandarin speakers.
1860 (= Qīng Xiánfēng 清咸豐 10)
“Convention of Peking” (Běijīng Tiáoyuē 北京條約) is signed, opening the ports of Dànshuǐ 淡水 and Ānpíng 安平 for international trade.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Tóngzhì 同治 Reign (1862-1874)

(To convert Tóngzhì reign years to the Western calendar, add 1861.)
1860s (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治)
John Dodd, a Scottish merchant, propotes tea production in northern Táiwān and works to popularize "Formosa Oolong Tea" in Britain and America. (This site contains a separate web page on tea. Link)
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1860s John Dodd Popularizes "Formosa Oolong Tea" Overseas
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1862 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 1)
Dài Cháochūn 戴潮春 leads a rebellion against the Qīng government.
1865 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 4 )
Dài Cháochūn 戴潮春 is captured; leadership of his rebel movement is transferred to Yan Ban 嚴辦, who is killed in battle later in the year; Dài’s forces begin to decline.
1865 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 4 )
James Laidlaw Maxwell (1836-1921) (Mǎ Yǎgè 馬雅各) arrives in Táiwān, and founds the first Presbyterian mission. A medical missionary of the English Presbyterian Mission, he seeks to establish himself in Táinán 臺南. (He is driven out and spends the next three years in Qíjīn 旗津, a coastal island district, now part of Gāoxióng 高雄 City, before managing to return to Táinán.)
1867 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 6)
The American ship Rover (Luófā 羅發) is involved in an “incident” that people don’t talk about today.
1867 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 6)
Reverend Hugh Ritchie of the English Presbyterian Mission, Táiwān's first ordained Protestant missionary, arrives in Táiwān.
George Leslie Mackay
1871 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 10)
Reverand William Campbell (1841-1921) (Gān Wéilín 甘為霖) of the English Presbyterian Mission arrives in Táiwān. Campbell, who will write extensively about Táiwān, rapidly comes to be known as the most informed of all the foreign missionaries working there during his tenure (1871-1917).
1872 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 11)
Dr. George Leslie Mackay (1844-1901) (Mǎ Xié 馬偕 or 馬偕 or Xié Ruìlǐ 偕叡理) of the Canadian Presbyterian Mission, arrives in Táiwān. He establishes a medical mission in Dànshuǐ 淡水, where he also establishes several local churches.
1873 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 12)
The Mǔdan Shè 牡丹社 Village Incident occurs (not resolved until 1874).
1874 (= Qīng Tóngzhì 清同治 13)
Chén Bǎozhēn 沈葆禎, Imperial Commissioner for Formosa, sets up sea defenses for the island after Japanese attack southern Táiwān to avenge the killing of shipwrecked Japanese soldiers.

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The Qīng Dynasty (1644-1911), Guāngxù 光緒 Reign< (1875-1908)

(To convert Guāngxù reign years to the Western calendar, add 1874.)
1875 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 1)
Táiběi Fǔ 臺北府 (“prefecture”) is established, with jurisdiction over Dànshuǐ 淡水, Xīnzhú 新竹, and Yílán 宜蘭 Xiàn as well as the three Tíng (“sub-prefectures”) of Jīlóng 基隆, Bēinán 卑南, and Pǔlǐ Shè 埔里社 Village.
1875 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 1)
Reverend Thomas Barclay (1849-1935) (Bā Kèlǐ 巴克禮) of the English Presbyterian Mission arrives in Táiwān.
1876 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 2)
Government begins two-year suppression campaign against indigenous peoples in several eastern areas.
1876 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 2)
Tainan Theological College (Táinán Shénxué Yuàn 臺南神學院) is founded by English Presbyterian missionary Thomas Barclay for the training of native missionaries, the first institution of higher education in Táiwān, and the oldest of all Táiwān schools still in operation.
1876 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 2)
The British begin mining coal in Bādǒuzi 八斗子.
1877 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 3)
Telegraph cables are laid from Táinán 臺南 to Qíhòu 旗後.
1878 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 4)
The Qīng government encourages settlers to settle “savage land” (fān dì 番地).
1879 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 5)
Canadian Missionary George Leslie Mackay founds Mackay Hospital (Mǎ Jiē Yīguǎn 馬偕醫館) in Hùwěi 滬尾 (present-day Dànshuǐ 淡水).
1882 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 8)
Mackay (Mǎ Jiē 馬偕) founds Oxford College (Niújīn Xuétáng 牛津學堂), the first school of Western studies in northern Táiwān.
1882 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 8)
U.S. Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act barring Chinese (including Taiwanese) from migrating to the United States.
1883 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒9)
Sino-French War erupts in Vietnam.
1884 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒10)
As part of a wider Sino-French war, French forces blockade northern Táiwān around the port at Dànshuǐ 淡水, occupy Pénghú 澎湖, and successfully land briefly in Jālóng 基隆.
Governor Liú Míngchuán
1885 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 11)
Táiwān Province (Táiwān Shěng 臺灣省) is established. The energetic modernizer Liú Míngchuán 劉銘傳 is appointed governor.
1886 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 12)
Tax bureaus are set up in the north and south. The Telegraph Bureau (Diànbào Jú 電報局), Tea Bureau (Chá Xiá 茶匣), Tax Bureau (Shuì Xiá 稅匣), and Bureau of Mines (Kuàngwù Zǒngjú 礦務總局) are set up in Táiběi 臺北.
1887 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 13)
The government begins to build railways. Undersea telegraph cables are laid between Táiwān and Fúzhōu 福州 in Fújian 福建 Province.
1888 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 14)
Postal system is established. Small-rent direct tax remittance system is implemented.
1894.0801 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 20 )
First Sino-Japanese war breaks out (to continue until April 17, 1895). China will lose.
1894.11 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 20 )
Sun Yat-sen (Sūn Zhūngshān 孫中山) and associates, meeting in Honolulu, found the "Society for Regenerating China" (Xīng Zhōng Huì 興中會), which unites with other rebel groups to found the "Chinese United League" or Tóngméng Huì 同盟會, which will overthrow the Chinese empire in 1911 and found the Republic of China (Zhōnghuá Mínguó 中華民國). The Tóngméng Huì was the the forerunner of the Guómíndǎng 國民黨 or Nationalist Party.

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The Japanese Period, Meiji (Míngzhì) 明治 Reign

(To convert Meiji reign years to the Western calendar, add 1867.)
1895.0320 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 20 )
Japanese forces seize control of the Pescadores archipelago (Pénghú 澎湖).
Governor then President Táng Jǐngsōng
National Taiwan Museum
1895.0417 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 21 and Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 of Japan)
Treaty of Mǎguān (Mǎguān Tiáoyuē 馬關條約) (Treaty of Shimonoseki 下関条約 in Japanese) is signed, by which the Chinese Government recognizes Korea as an independent nation rather than vassel of China (which it became in 1635) and cedes Táiwān and the Liáodōng 遼東 Peninsula (part of Liáoníng 遼寧 province) to Japan. By November European powers will force Japan to return Liáoníng to Chinese control. (The full English text of this document is available elsewhere on this web site. Link)
1895.0516 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 21 and Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 of Japan)
Shocked at the cession of Táiwān to Japan, Táng Jǐngsōng 唐景崧, Qiū Féngjiǎ 丘逢甲 and others cable a declaration of independence to Běijīng 北京, threatening/claiming to establish the Republic of Táiwān (Táiwān Mínzhǔguó 臺灣民主國).
1895.0523 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 21 and Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 of Japan)
Former Táiwān governor Táng Jǐngsōng 唐景崧, urged on by gentry firebrand Qiū Féngjiǎ 丘逢甲 and others, publicly announces the establishment of the Republic of Táiwān. (Táiwān Mínzhǔguó 臺灣民主國), with Táng as president, to be inaugurated on May 25.
Flag of the Republic of Taiwan, 1895
1895.0525 (= Qīng Guāngxù 清光緒 21 and Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 of Japan)
Táng Jǐngsōng 唐景崧 is inaugurated as President of the Republic of Táiwān. At his inauguration he announces an [extremely cool] official flag, the "Yellow Tiger Flag" (Huánghǔ Qí 黄虎旗) showing a yellow tiger on a blue ground.
1895.0528 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 )
Japanese forces under Viscount Kawamura Kageaki 川村 景明 land in Táiwān at Yánliáo 鹽寮 in Aòdǐ 澳底 (near present-day Gòngliáo Xiāng 貢寮鄉 in Táiběi Xiàn 臺北縣). (Wikipedia lists the names of no fewer than 19 Japanese governors-general of Táiwān, and average tenure of only about two and a half years. Link)
1895.0605 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 )
President Táng Jǐngsōng 唐景崧 flees to China with his family; Qiū Féngjiǎ 丘逢甲 flees to China at about the same time, ostensibly to recruit resources and reinforcements.
1895.0717 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 29 )
Having entered Táiběi 臺北 virtually unopposed on June 7, the Japanese authorities officially establish their administration
1895.09 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 )
Liú Yǒngfú 劉永福, chief military officer of the Republican forces, agrees to assume political command of what is left of the Republic of Táiwān (and issues postage stamps) but declines the title of president.
1895.1019 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 )
Liú Yǒngfú 劉永福, chief military officer of the Republican forces, having offered to surrender but being rebuffed, flees Táiwān.

NOTE: U.S. Consul James Davidson's fascinating contemporary account of the fall of the brief Republic of Taiwan in southern Taiwan is available on this web site here. Liú Yǒngfú ("Black Flag Liu") was, as they say, "a piece of work." Click here for more about him.

1895.1021 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 28 )
Táinán 臺南 is fully occupied by the Japanese and the Republic of Táiwān ceases to exist, although anti-Japanese rebellions continue for many years.
1896 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 29 )
Japanese archaeologists discover the archaeological site of Zhīshānyán 芝山岩, the beginning of scientific archaeology in Táiwān.
1896.0330 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 29)
The Japanese Government promulgates “the 63rd Law” (liù-sān fǎ 六三法).
1898.0812 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 31)
Hawaii officially becomes a territory of the United States, thus subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and associated laws denying citizenship eligibility to immigrants from China. (It is unclear whether it applied to Táiwān, now part of Japan.)
1899 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 32)
Construction begins on the North-South Railroad from Jīlóng 基隆 to Gāoxióng 高雄.
1899 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 32)
Táiběi 臺北 tap water and sewerage systems completed.
1899 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 32)
The Bank of Táiwān opens.
1899 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 32)
The Japanese colonial government executes 1,023 people in accordance with the “Statute for the Punishment of Bandits” (Fěitú Xíngfá Lìng 匪徒刑罰令)
1899 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 32)
The Táiběi Normal (Teachers’) College (Shīfàn Dàxué 師範大學) is established.
1900 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 33)
Public telephones set up in Táiběi 臺北 and Táinán 臺南.
1901 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 34)
The Táiwān Governor-General’s Office (Táiwān Zǒngdū Fǔ 臺灣總督府) establishes a Colonial Monopoly Bureau (Zǒngdūfǔ Zhuānmàijú 總督府專賣局), to engage in all trade in camphor, opium, and salt and consolidating the trade under one bureau. Other monopoly bureaux (Chinese: gōngmàijú 公賣局) will be established (such as one for tobacco and alcoholic beverages in 1922), in some cases continuing in various forms to the present. In some cases the intention was to control dangerous substances (such as opium) or profitable ones (such as salt). In other cases the intention was to promote infrastructure development. (See 1953, 2002.)
1903 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 36)
The “Táiwān Provisional Savages’ Land Investigative Commission” (Línshí Táiwān Fāndì Diàochá Shìwù Wěiyuánhuì 臨時臺灣番地調查事務委員會) is established.
1903 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 36)
The first hydroelectric power station is established at Guīshān 龜山, in Táoyuán 桃園. (This is not the same as the tiny island of Guīshān off the east coast.)
1905.1001 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 38)
The first general population census (hùkǒu pǔchá 戶口普查) of Táiwān is undertaken, intended as a small-scale experiment or "dry run" for a continuing household registration census throught Japan. The registration system continues in both Japan and Táiwān to the present.
1906 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 39)
Weights and measures are standardized.
1907.0427 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 40)
“Běipǔ 北埔 Incident” and Japanese suppression.
1908 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 41)
Construction of Gāoxióng 高雄 Harbor formally begins (1908-1912).
1908.0229 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 41)
Regulations Governing Government Irrigation Works promulgated.
1908.0420 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 41)
Completion of the North-South Railway.
1909 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 42)
Rebellion of 26 Villages of the Atayal (Tàiyǎ 泰雅) people near the subprefecture (zhītīng 支廳) of Pǔlǐ Shè 埔里社.
1910 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 43)
Establishment of five-year “Plan for Dealing With Savages” (Lǐfān Jìhuà 理番計畫 begins.
1911 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 44)
Ālǐshān 阿里山 mountain railway completed.
1911 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 44)
Táiwān’s currency unified.
1911.03 (= Qīng Xuāntǒng 清宣統 3
The incipient Republic of China, still a revolutionary movement, issues a draft constitution, modeled on the 1890 Meiji constitution in Japan.
Sun Yat-sen’s Oath as Provisional President of the ROC
1911.1026 (= Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 44)
Taiwanese are given positions as patrol officials (xúnchá 巡查) (lowest-level police officers).
1912.0101 (= Qīng Xuāntǒng 清宣統 4 = Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 44)
Sūn Zhōngshān 孫中山 ("Sun Yat-sen") takes the oath of office and is installed as Provisional President of the Republic of China, although the emperor remains on the throne. (Táiwān is unaffected by the Change.)
1912.0212 (= Qīng Xuāntǒng 清宣統 4 = Meiji [Míngzhì] 明治 44)
The last Manchu emperor, six-year-old Aisin-Gioro Puyi, Àixīnjuéluó Pǔyí 愛新覺羅·溥儀, on the throne from 1909-1911 under the reign name Xuāntǒng 宣統, finally abdicates as China becomes a republic. (But see 1932.0301.) (Táiwān is unaffected by the Change.)

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The Japanese Period, Taishō (Dàzhèng) 大正 Reign

(To convert Taishō reign years to the Western calendar, add 1911.)
1913 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 2)
William Campbell, under his Romanized Chinese name Kam Uî-lîm (Gān Wéilín 甘為霖), publishes the first all-romanized monolingual dictionary of the Hokkien under the title Ē-mn̂g īm sīn jī-tián 廈門音新字典 (A Dictionary of the Amoy Vernacular), a work that remains critical in Táiwān studies even today.
Irish writer, Arthur Ward, under the pen-name Sax Rohmer, publishes the first of his series of novels featuring the villanous Dr Fù Mǎnchū 傅满初, thus exploiting and amplifying fears of a “yellow peril” (Huánghuò 黃禍) threatening Europe and America. Fù Mǎnchū will later become a popular movie villain in the United States.
1914 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 3)
Annihilation campaign against the Truku (Tàilǔgé 太魯閣) people begins in the area around present-day Taroko National Park.
1914 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 3)
World War I (1914-1918) breaks out in Europe.
1915 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 4)
Religious rebel Yú Qīngfāng 余清芳, after developing plans at Xīlái Ān 西來庵 Temple in Táinán 臺南, leads his followers in an uprising at a police station in the tiny mountain town of Jiàobānián 噍叭哖, pronounced Tä-pa-nî in Taiwanese. (The town is now named 玉井.) In response, Japanese troops massacre about 1,000. The incident is now known as the “Tä-pa-nî Incident,” “Yùjǐng 玉井 Incident,” or the “Xīlái Ān 西來庵 Temple Incident.” Some estimates put the total death toll at about 10,000. This is both the largest and the last major anti-Japanese uprising by Chinese in Táiwān. (The last major uprising by aborines will be in 1930.)
1915 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 4)
Táiwān Governor-General’s Office begins exploitation of ancient forests around Bāxiān Shān 八仙山 Mountain and Tàipíng Shān 太平山 Mountain in today’s Yílán Xiàn 宜蘭縣.
Taiwan’s First Museum
1915.03 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 4)
The Viceroy Kodama & Governor Gotō Memorial Museum (Kodama Sōtoku oyobi Gotō Minseichōkan Kinen Hakubutsukan 児玉総督および後藤民政長官記念博物館) is dedicated beside New Park in central Táiběi. Begun two years earlier, the building is designed to house various exhibits and commemorates KODAMA Gentarō (児玉源太郎, 1852-1906) the forth Japanese viceroy to Taiwan, and GOTŌ Shinpei (後藤新平, 1857-1929), its first Japanese governor, both of whom left Taiwan when assigned other posts but were widely admired for enlightened administration. (In 1945 the building will be renamed “Taiwan Provincial Museum” [Táiwān Shěnglì Bówùguǎn臺灣省立博物館] and in 1999 to “National Taiwan Museum” [Guólì Táiwān Bówùguǎn 國立臺灣博物館].)
1917 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 6)
U.S. Congress extends the Chinese Exlclusion Act of 1882 to the "Asiatic Barred Zone," incluiding peoples of the Middle East and Melanesia, and continuing to bar Chinese (including Taiwanese) from migrating to the United States.
1919 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 8)
Public buses begin operation in Táiběi 臺北 City.
1921 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 10)
Petitions begin for the establishment of a Táiwān Representative Assembly (Táiwān Yìhuì 臺灣議會).
1921.0117 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 10)
The Táiwān Culture Association (Táiwān Wénhuà Xiéhuì 臺灣文化協會) is established.
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
On the mainland Communist rebels and the KMT government agree to cooperation against northern warlords and foreign “imperialists,” including especially Japan. (The cooperation will end in April, 1927.)
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
The vernacular writing movement (Báihuàwén Yùndòng 白話文運動) in Táiwān begins but is of little interest, since people using Chinese are accustomed to Literary Chinese, the official language is Japanese, and it is not obvious how to render many spoken Hokkien expressions in characters.
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
Cài Péihuǒ 蔡培火 publishes “The Roman Alphabet and the New Taiwanese Literary Movement” (Táiwān Xīnwénxué Yùndòng yǔ Luómǎzì 臺灣新文學運動與羅馬字).
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
Huáng Cháoqín 黃朝琴 publishes “The Revolution in Chinese Language” (Hànwén Gǎigé Lùn 漢文改革論).
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
Huáng Chéngcōng 黃呈聰 publishes “The New Mission for the Vernacular Language” (Lùn Pǔjí Báihuàwén de Xīn Shǐmìng 論普及白話文的新使命).
1923 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
U.S. Supreme Court declares that all "Asiatics" are covered by exclusionary imigration legislation, establishing a precedent to consider geography as a definitional trait of "race."
1923.0901 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 12)
A massive earthquake devastates Japan's Kantō 関東 region, the largest natural disaster in Japanese history up to that time. It measures 7.9 on modern scales and lasted between for five to ten minutes.) Resident Koreans are accused of looting, sparking anti-Korean riots. The subsequent years of rebuilding will extend modernized architectural styles, including seismic security measures like re-bar, over much of Japan and its colonies. (Today Japan commemorates the event with "Disaster Prevention Day" every September 1st.)
1924 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 13)
The “Seven Stars” Art Forum (Qīxīng Huàtán 七星畫壇) is established. Most of the seven are named Chén : Chén Chéngbō 陳澄波, Chén Yīngshēng 陳英聲, Chén Chéngfān 陳承藩, Chén Zhíqí 陳植棋 and Chén Yínyòng 陳銀用, Lán Yìndǐng 藍蔭鼎, Ní Jiǎnghuái 倪蔣懷).
1924.0524 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 13)
U.S. President Coolidge signs the Immigration Act aimed at reducing the number of southern European immigrants and denying citizenship to permanent residents or immigrants of "Asiatic" origin.
1925.0310 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 14)
Sūn Zhōngshān 孫中山 ("Sun Yat-sen"), President of the Republic of China, dies in Běijīng 北京 and is succeeded as president by Yuán Shìkǎi 袁世凱. (Yuán will attempt to restore the monarchy with himself as emperor, but that will have nothing to do with Táiwān.)
1925 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 14)
The Kānō 嘉農 high school baseball team, made up of Aboriginal boys under the leadership of Huālián 花蓮 native Lín Guìxīng 林桂興, wins 5 out of 6 games against Japanese teams in Japan, launching “Táiwān baseball” as a major source of Táiwān pride clear down to the present.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1925 Kānō High School Team Joyously Beats Japanese Teams
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1925.1022 (= Taishō [Dàzhèng] 大正 14)
Èrlín 二林 Incident occurs when sugarcane farmers clash with police over rights. (Èrlín is in Zhānghuà Xiàn彰化縣.)

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The Japanese Period, Shōwa (Zhāohé) 昭和 Reign

(To convert Shōwa reign years to the Western calendar, add 1925.)
1926.0327 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 1)
Táidōng 臺東 to Huālián 花蓮 railroad opens through the eastern rift valley.
1926.0628 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 1)
Táiwān Farmers Association (Táiwān Nóngmín Zǔhé 臺灣農民組合) is established.
1927.04 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 2)
On the mainland, General Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 ("Chiang Kai-shek") turns on his communist allies, arresting and killing many of them, breaking an alliance established in 1923, and driving the Communist Party of China underground. His son, Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) , studying in the Soviet Union, will remain there for twelve more years, a critic of his father's move.
1929 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 4)
The Bamboo Forest (Zhúlín 竹林) Incident, a dispute that had been ongoing for more than 20 years, finally ends. The Japanese colonial government requires all the villagers concerned to buy back the Bamboo Forest. Dissatisfied farmers continue opposition and are suppressed by police.
1930.0410 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 5)
Jiā-Nán Irrigation Canal (Jiā Nán Dà Zhèn 嘉南大圳) begins operation in the fertile agricultural plain of today’s Jiāyì Xiàn 嘉義縣 and Táinán Xiàn 臺南縣, an area known as the Jiānán 嘉南 Plain or simply the Jiā-Nán.
1930.0922 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 5)
In southern Táiwān, farmers surround township offices in Xuéjiǎ 學甲, Xiàyíng 下營, Jiālǐ 佳里, Mádòu 麻豆 and other areas of northern Táinán 臺南 demanding a reduction in water rates.
1930.1027 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 5 )
27 October: Wùshè 霧社 Incident of the Sedeq (Sàidékè 賽德克) subgroup of the Atayal (Tàiyǎ 泰雅) People of north-central Táiwān. This is the last major uprising against the Japanese administration by aboriginal peoples in Táiwān. (The group is sometimes also called Taroko. A separate page of this web site includes brief summary information on Táiwān's indigenous peoples. Link)
1931.0918 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 6)
Japan invades Manchuria (the northeastern provinces of today's China), homeland of the Manchus, following an event known to history as "the Mukden Incident" or "the Manchurian Incident" in which Japanese agents blew up part of a railway north of the city, blamed Chinese agents for it, and used it as a pretext for subsequent military action. ("Mukden" is an older name of modern Shěnyáng 沈阳, the capital of Liáoníng 遼寧 Province.) The Mukden incident is known in China today as the "918 Incident" (Jiǔ-Yībā Shìbiàn 九一八事变.
1932 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 7)
A Taiwanese youth baseball team triumphs over as Japanese counterpart for the first time, which is widely understood as suggesting that Taiwanese are just as competent as their Japanese overlords. (Baseball was introduced into Táiwān as a popular Japanese recreation early in the 1900s.) Baseball will become an important political symbol of Taiwanese competence until it becomes internationalized in the 1990s.
1932 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 7)
Government ends prohibition on marriage between Japanese and Taiwanese.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1932 End of Prohibition on Marriage
Between Japanese and Taiwanese
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1932.0301 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 7)
In occupied Manchuria, Japan creates the client state of Manchuko (Japanese: Manshū-koku 满洲国, Chinese: Mǎnzhōu-guó 滿洲國). To reduce local resistance, the Japanese authorities 溥儀 draft the former Xuāntǒng 宣統 emperor of the Qīng dynasty (who abdicated in 1912, q.v.) as the "administrator" (zhízhèng 執政) of the new entity. (The country name will be changed on 1934.0301, q.v.)
1934.0301 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 9)
Imperial Edict
Imperial Educt Establishing the Great Empire of Manchuria, March 1st, in the First Year of the Kāngdé Emperor
The name "Manchuko" (Mǎnzhōu-guó 滿洲國) is changed to "Great Empire of Manchuria" (Dai Manshū Teikoku 大满洲帝国 or Dà Mǎnzhōu Dìguó 大滿洲帝國. Former emperor Pǔ Yí 溥儀, appointed as Manchuko "administrator" in 1932, is now given the title "emperor" (huángdì 皇帝) and the reign name Kāngdé 康德, under which he will reign from 1934 until the Japanese surrender in 1945.
1934.0511 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 9)
Japan’s four major financial groups agree to jointly invest in the Táiwān Aluminum Corporation.
1935 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 10)
The government establishes the expression Gāoshā zú (takasago zoku) 高砂族 as a cover term for all highland tribal peoples. The term gāoshā refers to beautiful beautiful scenery, so this was a polite term implying that these were the tribes from scenic regions.
1935 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 10)
The "Táiwān Exposition" (Táiwān Bólán Huì 臺灣博覽會) highlights Táiwān's development and productivity under Japanese governance, especially railways and transportation, but also public education, agricultural expansion, and industrial development. Overseas, the event is misconstrued as a mere propaganda effort to promote Japanese imperialism, overlooking the genuine pride of the local people seeing their own efforts celebrated.
1935 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 10)
The government founds an aboriginal military corps (called the Gāoshā Yìyǒng Duì 高砂義勇隊 or “Highland Heroes Corps”) to conduct south seas military reconnaissance and other operations. (It is estimated that of about 12,000 youths who left Táiwān, only about 2,500 returned.)
1935.1122 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 10)
Táiwān’s first elections are held for local assemblies.
1936.0330 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 11)
Construction completed on Sōngshān 松山 Airport near Táiběi 臺北 (today within the city).
1937.0601 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 12)
Táiwān Shipyard Corporation (Táiwān Chuánwù Gōngsī 臺灣船塢公司) is established.
1937.0707 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 12)
Japan attacks mainland China, launching the Sino-Japanese War. Japan thereafter appoints military personnel as Governors General of Táiwān (as it did in the earliest days of its occupation).
1937.0731 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 12)
The construction of the second phase of Sun Moon Lake (Rìyuè Tán 日月潭) power plant is completed.
1940 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 15)
Campaign begins promoting the use of Japanese family and given names for Taiwanese. (But see 1942.)
1941.0208 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 16)
Táiwān Governor-General’s Office announces prohibition of the use of traditional lunar calendars.
1941.0419 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 16)
Imperial Citizen Associations (Huángmín Fènggōng Huì 皇民奉公會) formed.
1941.1208 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 16)
Japan stages a surprise attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. U.S. declares war on Japan. (This is dated one day later than in the United States because of the international date line.)
1942 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 17)
Japanese recruit Taiwanese for “volunteer army brigades” (lùjūn zhìyuànbīng 陸軍志願兵)
1942 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 17)
Taiwanese first permitted to take Japanese names.
1943 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 18)
Farmers are forced to hand over rice harvests. Food rationing is implemented.
1943 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 18)
Taiwanese and Korean students are forced to join the military at the front.
1943.1126 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 18)
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 ("Chiang Kai-shek"), after meeting in Cairo from November 22 to 26, release the "Cairo Declaration," proclaiming that after her defeat, Japan will "be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the First World War in 1914" and that "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China."
1945 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 20)
American air force bombs Táiwān.
1945.0806 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 20 and Mínguó 民國 34)
United States forces drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima-shi 広島市, Japan.
1945.0809 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 20 and Mínguó 民國 34)
United States forces drop an atomic bomb on Nagasaki-shi 長崎市, Japan.
1945.0815 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 20 and Mínguó 民國 34)
The Japanese emperor, in a public radio broadcast known as the “Jade Voice Broadcast” (Gyokuon Hōsō 玉音放送), accepts the Potsdam Declaration and offers unconditional surrender.
1945.0902 (= Shōwa [Zhāohé] 昭和 20)
Japan formally surrenders to the allied forces.

NOTE: With Japan's surrender, Táiwān is retroceded to China. Some people point out that Táiwān was technically ceded to Japan in 1895 by the Qīng dynasty —albeit under duress— but it is nevertheless included as "stolen" for purposes of the Cairo Declaration and postwar shifts of administration. In 1945 "China" means the Republic of China (ROC) (Zhōnghuá Mínguó 中華民國), governed by the Nationalist Party (Guómín Dǎng 國民黨), usually abbreviated “KMT” in English following now obsolete spelling conventions.

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1940s)

(To convert Mínguó reign years to the Western calendar, add 1911.)
1945.10 (= Mínguó 民國 34)
After a month of confusion in which the Japanese administration in Taiwan continues because there was no replacement, the KMT Army and New Governor Chén Yí 陳儀 finally arrive in Táiwān. Chén had been governor of Fújiàn 福建 Province from 1934 to 1941, and had apparently been heartily hated by the populace.
1945.12 (= Mínguó 民國 34)
The price of rice skyrockets and the price of goods increases by as much as ten times compared to levels just at the end of the Japanese period.
1946 (= Mínguó 民國 35)
Inflation hits 350%.
A cholera epidemic, the first in 27 years, kills nearly 1500 people, but is dismissed by the Director of Public Health because it affects only poor people.
1947.0228 (= Mínguó 民國 36)
The Feburary 28 Incident (Èr’èrbā Shìjiàn 二二八事件) occurs, eventually usually called simply “223.”

The violent arrest of a vendor of illegal cigarettes (a middle-aged woman named Lín Jiāngmài 林江邁) leads to riots, which in turn produce a violent government reaction. This in turn leads to consolidation of broader resentment against the government, more troops being called in from the mainland, and the eventual widespread killing of civilians across Táiwān. The number is usually estimated to be between 10,000 and 20,000 deaths.

This date is a convenient, if overly simple, starting point in discussing the hostile relations between “mainlanders” or wàishěng rén 外省人 (literally: people from other provinces) and “Taiwanese” or běnshěng rén 本省人 (literally people from this province) as reciprocally hostile pseudo-ethnic groups.

In the 1960s and 1970s many American scholars of Taiwan tended to put exaggerated stress on Mainlander-Taiwanese “ethnic” conflict in Taiwan, probably partly in response to academic interest in “ethnic” tension in the United States.

By the 1990s the English term “Taiwanese” comes to include both Hakka and Hokkien speakers as well as aboriginal groups. Formerly it had tended to refer only to Hokkien speakers. By the time you are reading this, it refers to everyone living in Taiwan without other nationality.)

1948 (= Mínguó 民國 37)
Judged to have mishandled the "228" situation, Governor Chén Yí 陳儀 is replaced by Chén Chéng 陳誠. (The following year Chén Yí will be accused of communist associations, for which he will be executed in 1950.)
1948 (= Mínguó 民國 37)
Public elementary school education is made both available and compulsory for girls as well as boys.
1948 (= Mínguó 民國 37)
The “Mandarin Promotion Commission” (Guóyǔ Tuīxíng Wěiyuánhuì 國語推行委員會) is established; its policies will eventually include prohibition of speaking Hakka or Hokkien in school.
1949 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
Soaring inflation results in currency reform (huòbì gǎigé 貨幣改革 creating the New Táiwān Dollar, which replaces the older Táiwān dollar at a rate of 40,000 to 1. (Subsequent fiscal policy was a resounding success. In 1965 NT$40 was worth US$1. In 2015 —50 years later— it took only about NT$30 to be worth US$1. In other words, the NT$ held its value better than the US$.)
1949 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
Táiwān governor Chén Chéng 陳誠 issues a draft of the Private Farmlands for Tenants Act (Yǒugēngdì Zūyòng Bàn Fǎ 有耕地租用辦法) limiting rents on farm land to 37.5%. (Formerly rents varied, but probably averaged about 50% of the crop.) The colloquial name is simply “land reform” (Tǔdì Gǎigé 土地改革) The policy will be finalized by the Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) only in 1951. See 1951, 1953.
1949 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
The land reform begins with the “37.5%” rent reduction.
1949.0519 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
Taiwan Martial Law (Táiwān Shěng Jièyán Lìng 臺灣省戒嚴令) is imposed. It will not be lifted until 1987.0715.

The period of martial law is often referred to today as the "White Terror" (báisè kǒngbù 白色恐怖). Although capitalized in English, the Chinese term is broadly applied to political repression in many countries.

For Táiwān, the term is usually also extended to the preceding two years so as to incorporate the 1947 incident and its aftermath. In Táiwān, widespread abridgement of human rights occurred in the name of national security in the face of possible communist subversion and takeover, particularly in the first two or three years of this period. Estimates vary of the number of people imprisoned during the martial law period. (Wikipedia authors suggest 140,000 imprisoned and perhaps 3,000-4,000 executed. Link)

After the first few years, the term "terror" becomes somewhat less appropriate, but the situation remained tense as civil rights remained curtailed and were ever less defensible as a response to an increasingly hypothetical communist threat. By the 1960s foreign observers tended to see Táiwān's martial law arrangements as ignorant bigotry and sanctimonious arrogance by ROC officialdom more than than as either the intentional persecution of longer-term residents of the island (as claimed by some) or as a realistic response to a military threat (as claimed by others).

1949.1001 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
Máo Zédōng 毛澤東 declares the founding of the People's Republic of China (Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó 中華人民共和國) from atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiān'ān Mén 天安門) at the entry to the Forbidden City in Běijīng 北京. (His gigantic portrait hangs there to this day.)
Presidential Office Building
With the movement of the national government to Taiwan, the old Japanese administrative headquarters (background) is now known as the "Presidential Office Building (Zǒngtǒngfǔ 總統府, but the nearby "New Park," from the same era, now has emphatically Chinese style pavilions.
(by Fāng Zhāorán 方昭然, "Fan Chao Lan," Japan Branch of the Taiwan Visitors Association)
1949.1210 (= Mínguó 民國 38)
Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”) and what remains of the KMT Government, defeated by the Communist forces on the mainland, evacuate from their last stronghold in Yúnnán 雲南 Province to Táiwān, making Táiběi 臺北 the “temporary capital” of the republic. The euphonious term “Commie Bandits” (Gòngfěi 共匪) becomes standard in referring to the triumphant Communist government, implying that the Communist Party took the country from its legitimate “owners” by illegal force. Individual Communists, especially Máo, were referred to by surname and the suffix fěi: Máofěi, “Bandit Máo.” (The Communists occasionally reciprocated by referring to the KMT forces as “Jiǎng’s Bandits” —Jiǎngfěi 蔣匪, which could equally mean “Bandit Jiǎng”).

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1950s)

1950.0301 (= Mínguó 民國 39)
Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”) resumes office as the President. Chén Chéng 陳誠 is named Premier. (He had been made Director of the State Council in 1928, an equivalent position. In 1948 he was formally elected president, but resigned in January of 1949 out of shame over KMT military defeats.)
1950 (= Mínguó 民國 39)
National lottery is established under the name “Patriotism Lottery” (Àiguó Jiǎngquàn 愛國獎券) to provide extra government income without increasing taxes and to provide jobs for disabled veterans and other unemployed people as lottery ticket sellers. (It continues through 1987, when private betting on lottery numbers results in it being judged more harmful than benevolent. See 1987.)
1950 (= Mínguó 民國 39)
An underground movement favoring independence of Táiwān from the Republic of China begins to use the term Zhōnghuá Táiwān Guó 中華臺灣國, "the Chinese Republic of Táiwān." (This deliberately contrasts with the ill-fated Republic of Táiwān [Táiwān Mínzhǔguó 臺灣民主國] declared in 1895, q.v.)
1950.0625 (= Mínguó 民國 39)
Communist North Korea, supported by the U.S.S.R., suddenly invades South Korea, supported by the United States, and the Korean War breaks out. (China will send troops to assist North Korea. The United States will defend South Korea in the name of the United Nations, claiming that it is officially a police action, not a war, and does not require a congressional declaration of war.)
1950.0625 (= Mínguó 民國 39)
Almost immediately, the U.S. 7th Fleet enters the Táiwān Strait to prevent a mainland attack on Táiwān or vice versa.

Most people argue that neither the PRC nor the ROC possessed the naval or air power to cross the strait at that time with large numbers of troops, so for the PRC to take Táiwān and for the ROC to retake the mainland were both unrealistic.

Jiǎng’s overly hopeful expectation was that, if only he could cross the strait, the Communists were in sufficient disarray that he would be able to retake the mainland in very short order with relatively few troops because the mainland populace would happily rise up and support him as a liberator from Communist oppression.

In 1950 he propagated the slogan: “Year 1: prepare. Year 2: attack. Year 3: sweep the enemy. Year 5: success.” (Yīnián zhǔnbèi. Liǎng nián fǎngōng. Sān nián sǎodàng. Wǔ nián chénggōng. 一年準備,兩年反攻,三年掃蕩,五年成功。)

President Truman’s deployment of the 7th Fleet was intended to avoid having the United States dragged into (the losing side of) a Chinese civil war while it was already entangled with the war in Korea, where China was allied with the communist North Korean side. For many years the KMT government could argue that the only condition that delayed or prevented the retaking of the mainland was the American lack of cooperation, and even into the 1960s conservative Americans displayed automobile bumper stickers with the slogan, "Unleash Chiang Kai-shek."

The fleet presence was more diplomatic than military. Particularly in later years, its presence in these waters consisted of very few vessels.

1951 (= Mínguó 民國 40)
Following on its surrender in 1945, Japan finalizes its departure from Táiwān in a formal peace treaty signed in San Francisco.
1951 (= Mínguó 民國 40)
U.S. aid program officially begins (continuing until 1965).
1951.0525 (= Mínguó 民國 40)
The Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) officially approves the Private Farmlands for Tenants Act issued in 1949, now called the "375 Rent Reduction Act" (Sān-Qī-Wǔ Jiǎnzū Tiáolì 三七五減租條例), overcoming resistance by omitting the legislative readings. (See 1949, 1953.)
1952 (= Mínguó 民國 41)
Hairstyle restrictions are implemented in middle schools. (Boys’ hair could not exceed 3 cm in length, and girls’ hair could not extend beyond their ears.)
1952 (= Mínguó 民國 41)
The China Youth Corps (Zhōngguó Qīngnián Fǎngòng Jiùguó Tuán 中國青年反共救國團, literally the “China Youth Corps to Fight Communism and Save the Nation”) is organized with Jiǎng Jièshí’s 蔣介石 son Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) serving as Director.
1952 (= Mínguó 民國 41)
The words “Never Forget Jǔ” (Wú Wàng Zài Jǔ 毋忘在莒), in the calligraphy of President Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”), are inscribed in huge characters on a boulder on KMT-controlled Jīnmén 金門 (“Quemoy”) island in Fújiàn 福建 where generations of Táiwān soldiers will be trained.

Perhaps the most prominent political slogan of its era, “Never Forget Jǔ” referred to a captive VIIth century BC leader whose determination even while in an enemy prison eventually allowed him to retake his homeland (Jǔ). Unfortunately the story was not widely known in Táiwān, and the character for Jǔ , where the story takes place, looks a lot like yíng , the character for “military camp,” so the slogan was easily misinterpreted by semiliterate draftees as meaning, “Don’t forget your camp buddies.” That wasn't a bad sentiment, but it was shy of the level of patriotic arousal that Jiǎng presumably had in mind.

1953 (= Mínguó 民國 42)
All middle schools include military training.
1953 (= Mínguó 民國 42)
The Four Year Economic Plan begins. The “Land-to-the-Tiller” (Gēngzhě Yǒu Qí Tián 耕者有其田) program is implemented, limiting the amount of agricultural land a farmer can own and allowing tenant farmers to buy the land they actually farm through a government mortgage system paid in agricultural produce.

The government compensated former landowners with bonds to be paid in future commodities, but salable on the open market. This forced people to invest savings in industry rather than land, providing capital for Táiwān’s rapid economic expansion. To promote industrial investiment, shares of some of the government monopolies inherited from Japanese times —see 1901— were made available for sale as the industries were converted to private or semi-private corporations owned by stockholders.

However in some cases, the division of agricultural holdings among children on the death of a registered landholder resulted in fields too small for mechanized farming, requiring a (largely successful) “land consolidation” campaign in the 1970s, reshuffling some titles and creating larger fields for collective farming.)

1953.0727 (= Mínguó 民國 42)
Active fighting in the Korean war ends as all parties agree to an armistice, but no peace treaty is signed. American troops remain stationed in South Korea.
1954 (= Mínguó 民國 43)
14,209 Chinese “anti-communist patriots” stranded in South Korea are brought to Táiwān.
1954 (= Mínguó 民國 43)
Mutual Defense Treaty signed with the United States.
1954 (= Mínguó 民國 43)
Publication of Shěn Fùjìn’s 沈富進 Precious Mirror Arranged by Sound (Huìyīn Bǎojiàn 彙音寶鑑) the most important Taiwanese Hokkien monolingual dictionary arranged by sound, using Chinese characters as “letters.”
Shěn Fùjìn Frontispiece
Shěn Fùjìn

For modern users, the work is almost unusably awkward. For example, the character (Mandarin: lèi, Hokkien lūi), an old word for rolling rocks down hillsides at enemies, is classed in this dictionary as follows.
  1. First, by its rhyme class, namely UI Mandarin :guī, Hokkien: kui, understood as excluding tone.
  2. Then, by its tone class, in this case xiàqùshēng 下去聲 or “lower exiting tone” (cognate with Mandarin 4th tone), which we are told is also called the 7th tone.
    (For users confused by traditional tone categories —and it turns out that many Hokkien speakers do find intellectualizing about tones to be confusing— a separate rhyme character is provided that exhibits both the rhyme and the tone, in this case —Mandarin guì, Hokkien kūi.)
  3. Third, by its “initial” class, in this case characters beginning with the sound that begins like (Mandarin liǔ, Hokkien liú ), “willow,” i.e., characters whose pronunciation begins with L.
The definition itself says simply: “To push a stone from a high place down to a low place is called kūi.”

In principle, the dictionary is intended to provide definitions for terms looked up by sound. But for users who know a character but don’t know its pronunciation, a character index to the volume is organized first by total number of strokes, and then by the traditional 214 “radicals” of older Chinese dictionaries (the reverse of most other dictionaries). Our example character can be located by counting the strokes (18) and then seeking the radical (), where we are told to look on page 79 but are also given a short-cut to the pronunciation in case that is all we need: The rhyme UI , the number 7, and the initial L , adding up to LŪI.

It is hard to imagine a clumsier scheme, but all of these techniques had been used in China for centuries and would presumably have been familiar to Shěn Fùjìn’s readers.
1956 (= Mínguó 民國 45)
Military regulations are changed to allow military personnel to get married. (Previously, only officers above the age of 28 were permitted to have wives. Many young men recruited in the last days of the ROC on the mainland are passing marriageable age. About a third will never be married.)
1958.0923 (= Mínguó 民國 47)
The “August 23 attack” sets off the second major crisis in the Táiwān Strait. Thenceforward for twenty years China shells Jīnmén 金門 (“Quemoy”) every other day, technically keeping open a state of war as well as providing live-ammunition training for both armies. (See 1960.)
1959 (= Mínguó 民國 48)
Population density in Táiwān is widely believed to have become the highest in the world. Authorities reject recommendation from Jiǎng Mènglín 蔣夢麟 to curb population growth.
1959.0807 (= Mínguó 民國 48)
Three hundred thousand people are left homeless from flooding on August 7th.

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1960s)

1960 (= Mínguó 民國 49)
Authorities arrest Léi Zhèn 雷震, editor of “Free China” (Zìyóu Zhōngguó 自由中國) on charges of sedition.
1960 (= Mínguó 民國 49)
Xiàndài Wénxué 現代文學 (“Modern Literature”) is founded by students at National Táiwān University. Until its demise in 1973, it will serve as a major force in Táiwān’s modern-style literature.
1960 (= Mínguó 民國 49)
The famous “Kennedy-Nixon” debates elevevate the status of the KMT-controlled but essentially indefensible islands of Mǎzǔ 馬祖 (“Matsu”) and Jīnmén 金門 (“Quemoy ”) in coastal Fújiàn 福建 to a point of American foreign policy. Nixon favors going to war with China to defend KMT control of them if necessary. Kennedy disagrees. (See 1958.)
1960 (= Mínguó 民國 49)
The first Central Cross-island road is completed (through Taroko Gorge).
1960 (= Mínguó 民國 49)
The National Assembly adopts an amendment to its earlier war powers act discontinuing restrictions on how many times the president may be reelected. This will allow Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”) to serve to the end of his life.
1962 (= Mínguó 民國 51)
Táiwān’s first television station TTV (Táiwān Television) begins broadcasting.
1963 (= Mínguó 民國 52)
Jì Zhèng 紀政 (“Chi Cheng”) breaks the world record for the women’s 100-meter sprint.
1964 (= Mínguó 民國 53)
Major damage results from an earthquake in the Jiā-Nán 嘉南 area, that is, the agricultural plain stretching across the counties of Jiāyì 嘉義 and Táinán 臺南.
1964 (= Mínguó 民國 53)
Prof. Péng Míngmǐn 彭明敏, Xiè Cōngmǐn 謝聰敏, Wèi Tíngzhāo 魏廷朝, and several other professors are arrested for their “Táiwān Self Preservation Declaration” (Táiwān Rénmín Zìjiù Xuānyán 臺灣人民自救宣言)
1965 (= Mínguó 民國 54)
National Palace Museum (Guólì Gùgōng Bówùyuàn 國立故宮博物院) opens outside Táiběi 臺北 for the curation and display of a collection originating in the imperial collections in Běijīng 北京. Immediately hailed as the greatest collection of Chinese art in the world, the museum attracts enormous international attention, and Táiwān is praised for excellent curatorship of it.
1965 (= Mínguó 民國 54)
Vietnam conflict escalates. The United States declines Táiwān’s offer of military assistance, but American bases in Táiwān will serve as supply stations and as a relaxation destination for U.S. military.Bars and prostitutes servicing these installations will eventually produce two to three thousand “Amerasian babies” in Táiwān.
illustration by Gabriela Goff
1965 American Troops on R&R Produce "Amerasian Babies"
Painted for this Web Site by Gabriela Goff,
Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, Class of 2015
1966 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
Bernard Gallin’s Hsin Hsing, Táiwān: A Chinese Village in Change becomes the first post-war anthropological study of a Táiwān village. David Jordan (Jiāo Dàwèi 焦大衛) and other American graduate students arrive in Táiwān to begin several additional studies of Táiwān villages. (The full text of Jordan’s village study is available on this web site. Link)
1966 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
First Export Processing Zone opens in Gāoxióng 高雄, allowing the importation of raw materials without import tax when used to produce new products for export. (The project was so successful that the scheme was eventually extended throughout Táiwān.)
1966 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
In order to ensure a proper “social morality,” Táiwān police are given responsibility for cracking down on the “improper appearance” of extravagantly dressed or deliberately disheveled youth.
The 63rd Celestial Master (“The Daoist Pope”)
1966.0213 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
“The Republic of China Taoist Association” (Zhōnghuá Mínguó Dàojiào Huì 中華民國道教會) founded by Daoism’s 63rd Celestial Master (Tiānshī 天師) Zhāng Ēnpǔ 張恩溥 (1904-1969), who left mainland China in 1949.(On the mainland, a “Chinese Taoist Association” [Zhōngguó Dàojiào Xiéhuì 中国道教协会] had been founded in April 1957 under Communist Party control.) His son having predeceased him, Zhāng Ēnpǔ’s death in 1969 will spark a succession crisis.
1966.05 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
Chinese Communist Party Chairman Máo Zédōng 毛澤東, troubled that the Communist movement is becoming gentrified, launches mainland China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Wénhuà Dà Gémìng 文化大革命, or Wéngé 文革 for short), destined to continue to October, 1976. The widespread destruction on the mainland of people and property, including valued cultural traditions, sites, and relics, provides support for the claim of the government in Táiwān to be the only legitimate government of China and to proclaim a part of its mission in Táiwān to be safeguarding Chinese civilization.
1966.1112 (= Mínguó 民國 55)
In a largely knee-jerk response to mainland China’s Great Cultural Revolution, the ROC government founds a Chinese Cultural Renaissance Movement (Zhōnghuá Wénhuà Fùxīng Yùndòng 中華文化復興運動).

As a government program, the Chinese Cultural Renaissance Movement had little salience for most people in Táiwān, and most of what was carried out in its name tended to be seen as merely a slight amplification of the continuing policy of mainlanders to promote mainland customs over local ones. For example, Běijīng 北京 Opera (jīngjù 京劇) was declared the official “national drama” (and duly subsidized), while local opera styles were officially ignored. In response to the Communists’ “Little Red Book” of Máo’s quotations, the KMT issued each party member a “Little Golden Book” of quotations from Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石. (It was destined to be a little-read historical curiosity.) However the intent was to stress that, while the mainland Communists were destroying Chinese culture, the ROC was doing all in its power to preserve it. For all the missteps and local suspicions, this was probably largely true.

1967 (= Mínguó 民國 56)
By presidential decree, the cumbersomely named “National Security Council During the Period of National Mobilization for the Suppression of the [Communist] Rebellion” (Dòngyuán Kānluàn Shíqī Guójiā Ānquán Huìyì 動員戡亂時期國家安全會議) is established, replacing the old Ministry of Defense (Guófáng Huìyì 國防會議). The new name never really catches on.
1968 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
Archaeologists discover earliest archaeological remains yet known in Táiwān at the cave site of Bāxiān Dòng 八仙洞 in Chángbīn Xiāng 長濱鄉 of Táidōng Xiàn 台東縣. The site includes the remains of Paleolithic foragers, the so-called “Chángbīn Culture” dating to between 5,000 and 15,000 years ago.
1968 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
Compulsory education is extended from six years to nine years.
1968 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
In an effort to ensure security of buildings, all structures of three floors or more are required to use reinforced concrete.
1968 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
The Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) announces a (weak) national birth control policy.
1968.0216 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
A passenger flight of “The Mandarin Jet” of Civil Air Transport or CAT (Mín Hángkōngyùn Gōngsī 民航空運公司), Táiwān’s “flagship airline” (with shadowy origins during the Second World War), crashes on a flight from Hong Kong to Táiběi 臺北. It develops that there is in fact only one “Mandarin Jet” making up the entire passenger “fleet,” and the airline ceases operations. The status of “flagship airline” is immediately transferred to China Airlines (Zhōnghuá Hángkōng Gōngsī 中華航空公司) (founded, 1959) as conspiracy theories abound.
1968.08 (= Mínguó 民國 57)
A baseball team made up of Bunun-tribe boys from the Maple Leaf (Hóngyè 紅葉) Elementary School in Táidōng 臺東 Xiàn brilliantly wins against a visiting Japanese team. This is followed by a stunning series of successes, launching an era of Táiwān domination of international Little League competitions.
1969 (= Mínguó 民國 58)
Golden Dragon (Jīnlóng 金龍) baseball team from Táiwān wins the Little League World Series, setting off a nation-wide baseball craze. Táiwān will go on to win a total of 17 Little League World Series championships.
1969 (= Mínguó 民國 58)
Number of households with televisions increases dramatically.

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1970s)

1970 (= Mínguó 民國 59)
Four hundred Taiwanese fishing vessels encounter harassment from a Japanese patrol boat near the unoccupied Pinnacle Islands (Diàoyútái Dǎo 釣魚臺島 in Chinese, Senkaku Shotō 尖閣諸島 in Japanese), disputed specks of land claimed by the ROC, the PRC, and Japan as a basis for fishing and prospecting rights.

Diàoyútái 釣魚臺 means “fishing tower.” It is also the name of the top-level official guest house in Běijīng 北京. When Presidents Nixon and Carter visited China, they were accommodated in the building, which some commentors interpreted as intended to suggest that non-Chinese can never be more than guests in the Diàoyútái.

1970 (= Mínguó 民國 59)
Over 46,000 people are afflicted in a tuberculosis outbreak; 20,000 undergo treatment.
1971 (= Mínguó 民國 60)
Embassador of the ROC stalks out of the United Nations prior to the vote on whether the People’s Republic of China (Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó 中華人民共和國) or the Republic of China (Zhōnghuá Mínguó 中華民國) (the KMT government on Táiwān) should occupy “the China” seat. >

The seat was awarded to the PRC and as a result all UN-associated Chinese embassy properties were declared to belong to the PRC. A cascade of additional shifts of diplomatic recognition occured around the world, and millions of dollars worth of diplomatic properties were shifted from ROC to PRC ownership in capital after capital.

1971 (= Mínguó 民國 60)
Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”) coins the slogan “In adversity be self-reliant and do not panic.” (Zhuāng jìng zìqiáng, Chù biàn bù jīng. 莊敬自強。處變不驚。) in response to Táiwān’s deteriorating international status. The year 1971 is proclaimed “Self Reliance Year” (zìqiáng nián 自強年)

The term “self reliance” (zìqiáng 自強) became temporarily fashionable for brand names, patriotic banners, &c. The term can also be translated “self-strengthening” or “self-improvement.” The ROC’s reuse of the term “self-strengthening” implicitly harkens back to the similarly named anti-foreign movement of the 1860s.)

1971 (= Mínguó 民國 60)
The Nixon administration decouples the price of gold from the dollar, leaving it free to increase above $35 per ounce. (By 1981 the price of gold stood at $825 per ounce. Since Táiwān temples often received contributions in gold, those with large stores of gold were presumably important beneficiaries.)
1971 (= Mínguó 民國 60)
The U.S. plans to “return” the Diàoyútái 釣魚臺 Islands to Japan. Student demonstrations protest the government’s inaction, students arguing that the government fears upsetting the U.S. and Japan.
1972 (= Mínguó 民國 61)
Táiwān’s population passes 15 million.
1972.02 (= Mínguó 民國 61)
U.S. President Richard Nixon visits Beijing after a career of conspicuous anti-communism. His visit, prepared in secret and startling when announced, will begin a process of normalization of ties between the United States and the PRC and American de-recognition of the Republic of China as the legitimate government of China. (See 1979.0101.)

NOTE: Nixon argued that the world's "five great powers" were the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan, and China, and that none of them could afford serious conflict with any of the others. The phrasing was not well received in Britain or France, but reflected a realistic perspective readily acknowledged in the United States.

1972 (= Mínguó 民國 61)
Japan breaks diplomatic ties with Táiwān, resulting in boycotts of Japanese products throughout the island.
1973 (= Mínguó 民國 62)
First world oil crisis.
1973 (= Mínguó 民國 62)
Premier Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) announces the “Ten Major Constructions” plan, including the proposal for the Táiwān’s first nuclear power plant following a year later.
1974 (= Mínguó 民國 63)
Baseball teams representing Táiwān take first place at the Little League, Junior League, and Senior League World Series. (Táiwān is later ejected from international baseball competitions because China is represented by the PRC.)
1974 (= Mínguó 民國 63)
Táiwān Provincial Governor Xiè Dōngmǐn 謝東閔 (“Hsieh Tong-min”) promotes “the living room as a factory” by exempting household factories from business income tax. Tens of thousands of households around the country participate by taking in piece work.
1974 (= Mínguó 民國 63)
World oil prices result in substantial increases (some people say doubling) in the price of consumer goods in Táiwān.
1975 (= Mínguó 民國 64)
Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 (“Chiang Kai-shek”) dies. Vice-President Yán Jiāgàn 嚴家淦 (“Yen Chia-kan”), a professional economist, succeeds to the presidency. Jiǎng Jièshí’s son Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) takes over as head of the KMT party.

By the way: Jiǎng Jièshí was not buried in Taiwan. His body remains in an above-ground sepulcre awaiting burial in his native Zhejiang. It is located on the grounds of his estate in Táoyuán 桃園 and is called the "Mausoleum of Late President Lord Chiang" (Xiān Zǒngtǒng Jiǎnggōng Língqǐn 先總統 蔣公陵寢).

1975 (= Mínguó 民國 64)
A new banking law permits various small mutual financing banks (essentially overgrown rotating credit associations) to be reorganized as banks, but very small formal and informal rotating credit associations continue to be created.
1976 (= Mínguó 民國 65)
Ministry of Education announces the dismissal of all school principals who allow teachers to engage in exploitative tutoring practices (such as requiring that students be tutored in for-profit cram schools run by the principals).
1976 (= Mínguó 民國 65)
The Broadcasting and Television Law stipulates that the majority of programs should be broadcast in Mandarin and that programs in Hakka and Hokkien should be gradually reduced.
1976.09.09 (= Mínguó 民國 65)
On the mainland, dictator Máo Zédōng 毛澤東 dies.
1976.10 (= Mínguó 民國 65)
On the mainland, the Cultural Revolution, begun in 1966, finally ends.
1977 (= Mínguó 民國 66)
Ministry of Education forbids public school teachers from moonlighting in cram schools (bǔxíbān 補習班) and prohibits students from attending cram schools, which are universal and are popularly considered necessary to pass the school entry exams for the next level.
1977 (= Mínguó 民國 66)
Native literature (xiāngtǔ wénxué 鄉土文學) debate begins. (Should writers focus on universal themes or on “homey” ones?)
1977 (= Mínguó 民國 66)
Rioting in Zhōnglì 中壢 erupts after vote rigging is discovered in elections for the Táoyuán Xiàn 桃園縣 county governor (xiànzhǎng 縣長).
1978 (= Mínguó 民國 67)
Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) is elected as the sixth President of the R.O.C.
1978 (= Mínguó 民國 67)
Dèng Xiǎopíng 鄧小平 seizes control of mainland China under the unofficial title “paramount leader” (zuìgāo lǐngdǎorén最高領導人). He will continue until 1992 and will move the country from the ruins of the "Cultural Revolution" to a firmly capitalist future under the face-saving slogan, “Socialism With Chinese Characteristics” (Zhōngguó Tèsè Shèhuìzhǔyì中國特色社會主義).
1978 (= Mínguó 民國 67)
The North-South Expressway is opened to traffic.
1978 (= Mínguó 民國 67)
U.S. announces it will establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China and terminate both diplomatic ties and the Mutual Defense Treaty with Táiwān.
1979.0101 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
U.S. President Jimmy Carter officially establishes diplomatic relations with the PRC and severs relations with the R.O.C. All American government personnel are forbidden to utter the phrase “Republic of China.”
Congress hastily enacts the “Táiwān Relations Act” (Táiwān Guānxì Fǎ 臺灣關係法), pointedly pledging US defense of Táiwān in event of an armed attack on it.
The "American Institute in Taiwan" (Měiguó Zài Tái Xiéhuì 美國在台協會), staffed largely by the Department of State, is established to perform the functions normally performed by an embassy.
Reciprocally, the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" (TECRO) Táiběi Jīngjì Wénhùa Bànshìchù 臺北經濟文化辦事處 (sometimes under slighly variant names) is established to serve as an informal embassy of Táiwān in countries shifting diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC.
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
President Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) articulates the “Three Noes Policy” (Sān Bù Zhèngcè 三不政策) after the United States shifts its diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC as the single government of all of China. (They were: “no contact, no compromise, and no negotiation [with the PRC]” —bù jiēchù,bù tánpàn,bù tuǒxié 不接觸,不談判,不妥協.) (The hijacking of a Táiwān airliner in 1986 will later require compromise on this policy in order to have the hostages returned, leading to the policy's abandonment by the turn of the century.)
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
C.K.S. International Airport (Zhōngzhèng Jīchǎng 中正機場) opens in Táoyuán 桃園, about an hour south of Táiběi 臺北, almost entirely displacing Táiběi’s Japanese-era Sōngshān 松山 airport (which opened in 1936), and enormously increasing Táiwān’s capacity as a stop for international air travel. (“CKS” of course stands for “Chiang Kai-shek.” The name will later by changed to remove the CKS designation.)
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
Gāoxióng 高雄 Riot takes place in that city. (It is today called the “Formosa Magazine Incident” [Měilìdǎo Shìjiàn 美麗島事件] in Táiwān.) The much dreaded Táiwān Garrison Command (Jǐngbèi Zǒngbù 警備總部), the domestic security force, arrests the editors of “Formosa Magazine” (Měilì Dǎo 美麗島) and locks down the magazine’s facilities. A serious riot pits police against “peaceful and unarmed” protesters carrying concealed chains and other “pseudo-weapons.”
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
The first nuclear power plant is completed.
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
The PRC National People’s Congress (Quánguó Rénmín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì 全國人民代表大會, literally “Nationwide Congress of People's Representatives”, abbreviated Réndà 人大), proposes “three links” (sān tōng 三通) between the PRC and Táiwān, namely postal links (tōng yóu 通郵), airline links (tōng háng 通航), and commercial trade links (tōng shāng 通商). The proposal is immediately rebuffed. (All three types of links were established nearly 30 years later, on December 15, 2008.)
1979 (= Mínguó 民國 68)
Uni-President Enterprises (Tǒngyī Qǐyè 統一企業, literally “United Company”) opens the first 24-hour convenience store ushering in a retail revolution in Táiwān.

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1980s)

1980 (= Mínguó 民國 69)
North Link Railroad is completed.
1980 (= Mínguó 民國 69)
Xīnzhú 新竹 ("Hsinchu") Science Park opens as a concentration of research facilities in science and technology.
1981 (= Mínguó 民國 70)
Mainland leader Dèng Xiǎopíng 鄧小平, in hopes of reuniting Táiwān with China, proposes “one country, two systems” (yīguó-liǎngzhì 一國兩制), something akin to the later Hong Kong model; it is immediately rejected as a communist ruse.
On the mainland leader Dèng Xiǎopíng 鄧小平 oversees a Communist Party resolution describing Máo Zédōng's 毛澤東 "Cultural Revolution" as a having been a severe setback for the Party and the nation, and attributing the disaster explicitly to Máo.
1982 (= Mínguó 民國 71)
Communist Chinese Pilot Wú Rónggēn 吳榮根 defects to South Korea in a MIG-19 jet, starting what will become a wave of “freedom flights” by mainland Chinese “anti-communist patriots,” each of them richly rewarded by the Táiwān government.
1982 (= Mínguó 民國 71)
Táiwān’s first post-war bank robbery occurs.
1983 (= Mínguó 民國 72)
Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) announces a ban on imports of scrap metal, scrap cable, and wire for industrial reprocessing, but the environmental effects are already widespread as a result of the earlier massive expansion of the profitable industry of "shipbreaking," i.e.dismantling old ships in Táiwān’s coastal waters.
1984 (= Mínguó 民國 73)
Security officials begin a campaign against underground gangs.
1984 (= Mínguó 民國 73)
Alliance of Táiwān's Aborigines (Yuánzhùmín Quánlì Cùjìnhuì 原住民權利促進會) is founded to promote Aboriginal welfare.
1984 (= Mínguó 民國 73)
The first MacDonald’s opens in Táiwān, to be followed rapidly by hundreds more MacDonald’s outlets and countless other international food franchises and local imitations of them.
1985 (= Mínguó 民國 74)
“Operation Cleensweep” (Yīqīng Zhuān’àn 一清專案) temporarily jails leaders of major crime syndicates, whose jailtime friendships set the stage for later cooperation in continuing illegal activity.
1985 (= Mínguó 民國 74)
Indigenous people demand the right to use their traditional surnames (instead of Chinese surnames), foreshadowing a coming aboriginal rights movement.
1986 (= Mínguó 民國 75 )
An anti-Dupont march is held in the town of Lugang 鹿港 marking the beginning of civic environmental protests.
1986 (= Mínguó 民國 75 )
As martial law controls are gradually softened, the former Dǎngwài 黨外 (“Outside the Party”) political movements largely coalesce into the Democratic Progressive Party (Mínzhǔ Jìnbù Dǎng 民主進步黨 or for short, Mínjìn Dǎng 民進黨) (DPP), although still technically illegal.
1986.1017 (= Mínguó 民國 75 )
The Taiwan “TAIEX” index reaches 1,003.56, exceeding 1000 for the first time. (Within the following year it will more than quadruple. It will reach over 12,000 points by 1990.)
1986.0503 (= Mínguó 民國 75 )
A cargo plane belonging to Táiwān’s China Airlines is hijacked and flown to Guǎngzhōu 廣州; the ROC sends “unofficial” representatives to Hong Kong to negotiate with PRC officials for the return of the plane and crew. (The hijacking pilot is hailed as a hero in the PRC for forcing the ROC to compromise its policy of non-negotiation. See 1979.)
Political Rally
Political Rally, Táinán, 1992
With the end of martial law came the rise of far more enthusiastic political campaigning
1987 (= Mínguó 民國 76)
Martial law ends after nearly forty years.
1987 (= Mínguó 民國 76)
Residents of Táiwān are permitted to visit relatives in China. (Although these reunions were generally happy ones, economic disparities between the two regions resulted in demands for substantial gifts, which generated a certain amount of resentment in Táiwān after a time.)
1987 (= Mínguó 民國 76)
National “patriotic” lottery (Àiguó Jiǎngquàn 愛國獎券 or Àiguó Cǎijuàn愛國彩卷) is discontinued because of extensive illegal private betting on the numbers in a craze called Dàjiālè 大家樂 (“Everybody’s Happy”). The craze continues in diminished scope using numbers from lotteries in Hong Kong or elsewhere. (See 1950.)
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
A demonstration in Táiběi 臺北 by farmers from southern and central Táiwān turns bloody, resulting in what has become known as the “520 Incident” (Wǔ’èrlíng Liúxiě Shìjiàn 五二零流血事件, literally “Bloody May 20 Incident”).
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
A Yami (Yǎměi 雅美) (= Tao) Youth Group on Orchid Island (Lányǔ Dǎo 蘭嶼島) demonstrate against the dumping of nuclear waste there.
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
Jiǎng Jīngguó 蔣經國 (“Chiang Ching-kuo”) dies, Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) is elected ROC President. Because he is a Hakka from Táiwān, commentators claim Lǐ’s presidency marks the end of the era of the KMT government being seen as an occupying force from the mainland.
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
Newspaper censorship and paper-saving length restrictions end.
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
Residents of the Linyuan 林園Township in Gāoxióng 高雄 launch protests against environmental pollution by the petrochemical industry.
1988 (= Mínguó 民國 77)
The indigenous land rights movement, “Return My Land” (Huán Wǒ Tǔdì 還我土地) begins to gain momentum, at least as a slogan.
1989.0415 (= Mínguó 民國 78)
On the mainland, former Communist Party General Secretary Hú Yàobāng 胡耀邦 dies.
A moderate reformer, Hú was blamed for public protests against autocracy and forced out of office in 1987. His death in 1989 will lead to attempts to memorialize him, which in will turn into a major protest movement, violently suppressed on June 4.
1989.0604 (= Mínguó 民國 78)
In Běijīng 北京, pro-democracy protests are violently suppressed on Tiān’ānmén 天安門 Square, killing hundreds or perhaps thousands, under the general direction of Prime Minister Lǐ Péng 李鵬, with worldwide negative publicity. (This event, and its yearly commemoration, especially in Hong Kong, will poison mainland overtures for Táiwān reunification for decades to come.)

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (1990s)

1990.0321 (= Mínguó 民國 79)
Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”), a native-born Taiwanese in the KMT party, begins a six-year term as president.
1990.0321 (= Mínguó 民國 79)
In an five-day event known as the Wild Lily Student Movement (Yě Bǎihé Xuéyùn 野百合學運), tens of thousands of students and others engage in sit-ins and hunger strikes, to demand dissolution of the National Assembly (Guómín Dàhuì 國民大會), direct presidential elections, and other democratic reforms.
1990 (= Mínguó 民國 79)
President Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) announces special amnesty for dissidents engaged in the “Formosa Magazine Event” (Měilìdǎo Shìjiàn 美麗島事件) or Gāoxióng 高雄 Riot of 1979.
1990.0110 (= Mínguó 民國 79)
The "TAIEX" stock index reaches 12,495 points, then begins a rapid downward spiral to about 2,600 points by late September, a nearly 80% drop.
1991.12 (= Mínguó 民國 80)
The “Period of National Mobilization for the Suppression of the [Communist] Rebellion” (Dòngyuán Kānluàn Shíqī 動員戡亂時期) ends, or more exactly the use of the expression is discontinued.
1991.12 (= Mínguó 民國 80)
Living members of Parliament elected in 1948 are finally eased into retirement through reforms in government structure.
1992 (= Mínguó 民國 81)
South Korea severs diplomatic ties with Táiwān.
1992 (= Mínguó 民國 81)
The government publishes the “228 Incident White Paper” as an official accounting of the event, of which public discussion had been prohibited during the period of martial law.
1992.11 (= Mínguó 民國 81)
The “1992 Consensus” between semi-official representatives of the PRC and ROC declares that there is only one China, of which Táiwān is a part, that Táiwān is not an independent state, and that each of the two governments believes itself to be the sole legitimate government of all of China.
1993 (= Mínguó 民國 82)
A Chinese passenger jet is hijacked and flown to Táiwān.
1993 (= Mínguó 民國 82)
Gū Zhènfǔ 辜振甫 (“Koo Chen-fu”) of the ROC Straits Exchange Foundation (Hǎijīhuì 海基會) and Wāng Dàohán 汪道涵 of China’s Association for Relations Across the Táiwān Strait (Zhōngguó Hǎixiéhuì 中國海協會) hold face-to-face talks in Singapore.
1993 (= Mínguó 民國 82)
The center-right New Party (Xīn Dǎng 新黨) is established by former KMT members concerned that the mainline KMT was not remaining strongly enough committed to its stated goal of retaking the mainland.
1993 (= Mínguó 民國 82)
The Legislative Yuan passes the Cable Television Law.
1994 (= Mínguó 民國 83)
To avoid offending China, the United States denies President Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) a visa during an air stopover in Honolulu en route tack to Táiwān from South Africa and is forced to spend the night in his airplane.
1994 (= Mínguó 民國 83)
United States imposes trade sanctions against Táiwān under the “Pelly Amendment” (Péilì Xiūzhèng’àn 培利修正案) for trafficking in rhinoceros horn and tiger bones.
1994 (= Mínguó 民國 83)
Legislation is passed to change the term for Táiwān's aborigines from shāndì tóngbāo 山地同胞 (literally "mountain brethren") or shāndìrén 山地人 (literally "mountain people") to the term yuánzhùmín 原住民, meaning aboriginal (or indigenous) peoples. Assertion of the claim of aboriginality entails, for some, an implicit claim to land ownership.
1994.0410 (= Mínguó 民國 83)
Tens of thousands take to the streets on April 10 to demand educational reforms.
1994.0529 (= Mínguó 民國 83)
Over thirty thousand people march in anti-nuclear demonstration.
1995 (= Mínguó 民國 84)
The National Health Insurance (Quánmín Jiànbǎo 全民健保) program begins.
1995.0609 (= Mínguó 民國 84)
President Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) visits his alma mater Cornell University in the U.S. despite objections from China, which terminates all cross-strait talks. (The State Department reluctantly granted Lǐ a visa after Congressional resolutions in his favor that passed the House 396 to 0 and the Senate 91 to 1.)
1995.0721 (= Mínguó 民國 84)
China begins missle testing a provocative 130 kilometers off the northeast coast of Táiwān. A series of three tests will continue until March of 1996.
1996 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
The first phase of the Táiběi Metro opens for service after two decades of planning and construction. (Built partly below the water table, the metro is hailed as a major engineering achievement, but it is also criticized for cost-overruns, constructions, and corruption.)
1996 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) and Lián Zhàn 連戰 (“ Lian Chan”) of the KMT party become the first directly elected President and Vice-President in Táiwān’s (or China’s) history.
1996 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
South African President Nelson Mandela announces that diplomatic relations between his country and Táiwān will be severed at the end of 1997 followed by establishing relations with China in January 1998.
1996 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
The Farmers Cooperative (Nónghuì 農會) of Línkǒu Xiāng 林口鄉 in Táiběi Xiàn 臺北縣 is defrauded of over NT$400 million The incident sets off a run on local banks and credit cooperatives around the nation.
1996 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
The National Development Conference results in a number of major resolutions concerning the Constitution, including a controversial decision to “freeze” the Táiwān Provincial Government. This decision receives fierce opposition from the Provincial Government and the Provincial Assembly, but pragmatically makes the ROC government more streamlined (and probably less corrupt).
1996.0721 (= Mínguó 民國 85 )
China undertakes a third round of missile testing to take place just off shore from Jīlóng 基隆 in northern Táiwān and Gāoxióng 高雄 in the south. The United States sends two aircraft carriers into the Táiwān Strait to symbolize its commitment to defending Táiwān against attack.
1997 (= Mínguó 民國 86)
Hong Kong “returns to China” (huíguī Zhōngguó 回歸中國) from Britain (known as the “handover” in Hong Kong English), and China uses the opportunity to promote the “one country, two systems” (yīguó-liǎngzhì 一國兩制)proposed in 1981 for addressing its relations with Táiwān. Once again the idea is publicly denounced in Táiwān, although privately considered a possible solution to the diplomatic standoff.

NOTE: Under the terms of the Anglo-Chinese agreement, Hong Kong would remain essentially touched for fifty years. The agreement included a Basic Law, within which Article 22 provided that Chinese government offices would not interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. On 2020.0417 the Chinese Liaison Office would announce that it was not bound by this provision, effectively ending the potential applicability of the model to Taiwan.

With the rise of multiparty democracy, images of former President Jiǎng Jièshí 蔣介石 are gradually removed, such as the one on this 1984 NT$10 coin.
1997 (= Mínguó 民國 86)
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) (Mínjìn Dǎng 民進黨) wins a majority of the year-end mayoral and county magistrate elections (with the exception of Táiběi 臺北 and Gāoxióng 高雄 Cities).
1997.0504 (= Mínguó 民國 86)
The President calls a high-level security meeting to denounce the failure of the government to solve three major murders: (1) Bái Xiǎoyàn 白曉燕, the daughter of Actress Bái Bīngbīng 白冰冰, (2) Táoyuán Xiàn 桃園縣 governor Liú Bāngyǒu 劉邦友, and (3) women’s rights activist Péng Wǎnrú 彭婉如).
The President apologizes to the nation but social groups organize massive demonstrations on May 4th to protest the decline of social order. (May 4 is associated with protest in China/Táiwān, so the date is not coincidental.)
1997.0702 (= Mínguó 民國 86)
A broad Asian stock market mini-crash begins the so-called Asian Financian Crisis, affecting Taiwan less than Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines, but spawning uncertainty among business leaders.
1998 (= Mínguó 民國 87)
A passenger jet belonging to Táiwān’s China Airlines crashes in Táoyuán 桃園 killing all 260 passengers, turning air safety into a major issue in Táiwān.
1998 (= Mínguó 民國 87)
Government initiates alternating 5 and 6 day work-weeks, giving people more time for recreation.
1998 (= Mínguó 民國 87)
The Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) lifts the ban on sales of agricultural land. (See 1953.)
1998 (= Mínguó 民國 87)
The legislative, Táiběi and Gāoxióng 高雄 mayoral, and city/county council elections are held, with the KMT retaining a majority.
1999 (= Mínguó 民國 88)
According to WTO regulations, wine taxes must be raised. Rice wine hoarding results in a serious shortage.
1999 (= Mínguó 民國 88)
Lǐ Dēnghuī 李登輝 (“Lee Teng-hui”) raises the idea of “special state to state” (Tèshū Guó yǔ Guó 特殊國與國) relations across the Táiwān Strait during an interview with Deutsche Welle. The phrase is immediately rejected by PRC authorities.
1999.0921 (= Mínguó 民國 88)
Táiwān is hit by the deadliest earthquake in more than 60 years with an epicenter in Nántóu Xiàn 南投縣). The 7.3 magnitude quake claims more than 2,000 lives and more than 8,000 buildings collapse. The Buddhist Cíjì 慈濟 (“Tzu-Chi”) charitable foundation attracts worldwide attention for impressively prompt relief work. Extensive hidden construction fraud is revealed in damaged and destroyed buildings, most famously empty gasoline cans placed in concrete columns to save on cement.
1999 (= Mínguó 民國 88)
The Ministry of Education and the Joint College Entrance Committee decide that, effective 2002, the Multi-route Promotion Program for College-Bound Seniors (Duōyuán Rùxué de Fāng’àn 多元入學的方案) will be adopted to replace the widely dreaded entrance examination system, sometimes known in English by its abbreviated Chinese name Liánkǎo 聯考. (See 1977.)

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The Republic of China (1912-), Mínguó 民國 Period (2000s)

2000 (= Mínguó 民國 89)
Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chén Shuǐbiǎn 陳水扁 (“Chen Shui-bian”) is elected president, an office held by the KMT ever since the 1911 Chinese revolution.
(Background: The People First Party (Qīnmín Dǎng 親民黨) was established as a KMT breakaway group under the leadership of Sòng Chǔyú 宋楚瑜 (“James Soong”). His defection split the KMT, allowing a narrow victory by the DPP.)
The DPP maintains control of Parliament only through cooperation with the “Pan Green Coalition”.
2000 (= Mínguó 民國 89)
The Executive Yuan (Xíngzhèng Yuàn 行政院) announces that the construction of the Forth Nuclear Power Plant will be halted. (It will be resumed in 2001.)
2000 (= Mínguó 民國 89)
The National Assembly approves an amendment to reduce its own powers and functions.
2002.0101 (= Mínguó 民國 91)
Táiwān is admitted to the World Trade Organization under the slightly silly name “Chinese Taipei,” essentially the only name under which the PRC will permit Táiwān to participate in international organizations. One condition requires private and international competition with some of the long-established government monopoly bureaux. (See 1901.) The Tobacco & Wine Monopoly Bureau (Yān-Jiǔ Gōngmàijú 菸酒公賣局) is renamed Táiwān Tobacco & Liquor Corporation (Táiwān Yān-Jiǔ Gōngsī 台灣菸酒公司), a name it had when founded in 1913. (I notice that some of its internationally distributed products continue to carry the Chinese-only text “government monopoly bureau” [gōngmàijú 公賣局]).
2004.1231 (= Mínguó 民國 93)
The skyskraper “Taipei 101” (Táiběi Yīlíngyī 臺北101) opens under the official name of “Taipei World Financial Center” (Táiběi Guójì Jīnróng Zhōngxīn 臺北國際金融中心). (The official English translation was eventually changed to “Taipei International Finance Center.”) It is the tallest building in the world until the opening of Dubai's Burj Khalifa.
Taipei 101
Like the gnomon of a giant sun dial, Taipei 101 quite literally overshadows the rest of the city.
2004 (= Mínguó 民國 93)
The DPP and allied “Pan Green Coalition” politicians fail to maintain their majority in the Legistlative Yuan.
2004 (= Mínguó 民國 93)
President Chén Shuǐbiǎn 陳水扁 (“Chen Shui-bian”) proposes replacing the word “China” with the word “Táiwān” in all state owned enterprises. Some changes are made, but some encounter unforeseen entanglements with international law. China Airlines, for example, discovers it would stand to lose landing rights if it had to renegotiate codeshare agreements and other contracts in order to change its name.
2008 (= Mínguó 民國 97)
The KMT defeats the DPP in elections. KMT candidate Mǎ Yīngjiǔ 馬英九 (“Ma Ying-jeou”) becomes president after a campaign promising to seek accommodation rather than confrontation with China.
2008 (= Mínguó 民國 97)
Former President Chén Shuǐbiǎn 陳水扁 is arrested on bribery and corruption charges within hours of losing his legal immunity as president, is convicted, and, with his wife, sentenced to life in prison (later commuted to 20 years). (He will be released on parole in 2015 and rearrested.)
2008.1215 (= Mínguó 民國 97)
ROC and PRC establish postal, airline, and commercial trade links between Táiwān and mainland cities, roughly according to the proposal mooted in 1979 under the title “Three Links” (Sān Tōng 三通).
2011.1010 (= Mínguó 民國 100)
Táiwān commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 (also called the Xīnhài 辛亥 Revolution, named after the name of the year in the series of sixty year names), during the period when Táiwān was part of Japan. Whether and how much to celebrate the anniversary is a political hot potato.
2012.0114 (= Mínguó 民國 101)
The KMT again defeats the DPP in elections, despite the “pan-blue” vote being split by the candidacy of Sòng Chǔyú 宋楚瑜 (“James Soong”). The KMT’s Mǎ Yīngjiǔ 馬英九 (“Ma Ying-jeou”) remains president. The DPP candidate, Cài Yīngwén ( 蔡英文 “Tsai Ing-wen”), resigns as head of her party.
2013.0602 (= Mínguó 民國 102)
A magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes Nántóu 南投 County. It is minor compared with the temblor of 1999 in the same region. It still causes extensive damage, but only a few deaths, and again reveals hidden construction fraud. It produces negative publicity for Táiwān tourism when 1000 toursts are trapped by landslides.
2013.06 (= Mínguó 民國 102)
The Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) (Hǎixiá Liǎng'àn Fúwù Màoyì Xiéyì 海峽兩岸服務貿易協議) is negotiated between the governments of China and Taiwan with the intent of simplifying investment and business travel between the two regions. It will not be ratified because of the objections of the "Sunflower Movement" the following March.
2014.0318-2014.0410 (= Mínguó 民國 103)
Sunflower Student Movement (Tàiyánghuā Xuéyùn 太陽花學運) occupies the Legislative Yuan to protest the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) by the legislature without clause-by-clause review, later insisting that the treaty be rejected. Demonstrators argue that the treaty could cost Taiwan jobs, but more importantly might increase Mainland economic and political influence over Taiwan. (The movement sometimes calls itself the "Occupy Taiwan Legislature Movement" [Zhànlǐng Guóhuì Shìjiàn 佔領國會事件] in imitation of the American "Occupy Wall Street" movement.)
2015.01 (= Mínguó 民國 104)
Former President Chén Shuǐbiǎn 陳水扁 is released on medical parole, despite continuing pending charges. He will be arrested three weeks later on additional charges of money laundering.
2015.1108 (= Mínguó 民國 104)
Taiwan's president Mǎ Yīngjiǔ 馬英九 (“Ma Ying-jeou”) meets in Singapore with China's president Xí Jìnpíng 習近平 for one hour of private talks. (No flags or names of nations were displayed or national anthems played to avoid conflict over which were legitimate.)
“Tsai Ing-wen”
(CÀI Yīngwén 蔡英文) (Reuters)
2016.0116 (= Mínguó 民國 105)
Democratic Progressive Party (Mínjìn Dǎng 民進黨 —"DPP") candidate CÀI Yīngwén 蔡英文 ("Tsai Ing-wen") is elected as the ROC's first female president, and the DPP wins a 60% majority (68 seats out of 113) in the parliament, becoming the majority party for the first time.
2016.0519 (= Mínguó 民國 105)
CÀI Yīngwén 蔡英文 ("Tsai Ing-wen") of the Democratic Progressive Party (Mínjìn Dǎng 民進黨 —"DPP") assumes the presidency.
2017.0523 (= Mínguó 民國 106)
In response to a lawsuit by gay-rights activist Qí Jiāwēi 祁家威 ("Chi Chia-wei"), the Council of Grand Justices (Dà Fǎguān Huìyì 大法官會議) rules that same-sex marriage should be legal and charges the Legislative Yuan (Lìfǎ Yuàn 立法院) to take action to establish any appropriate special legislation by May 24, 2019; otherwise same-sex marriage will be considered identical with opposite-sex marriage. (Homosexuality as such was never illegal in Taiwan. Anti-sodomy laws were ended on the mainland in 1997, but same-sex marriage is not recognized.)
2018.03 (= Mínguó 民國 107)
The Taiwan Travel Act is unanimously passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law, loosening restrictions by American officials to Taiwan that had taken effect beginning with American recognition of the PRC government in 1979.
2018.0612 (= Mínguó 民國 107)
The United States opens the new headquarters of its Táiběi 臺北 “embassy,” officially called the “American Institute in Taiwan” (Měiguó Zài Tái Xiéhuì 美國在台協會).(It formerly occupied a 1950 facility originally used by the Military Assistance Advisory Group.)
2019.0430-0501 (= Mínguó 民國 108)
In Japan the Heisei 平成 era officially ends on April 30th with the abdication of Emperor Akihito 明仁 and the Reiwa 令和 era begins with the accession of his son Naruhito 徳仁 on May 1st.
2019.0524 (= Mínguó 民國 108)
Same-sex marriage in Taiwan becomes legal. (Following instruction of the Council of Grand Justices (Dà Fǎguān Huìyì 大法官會議) two years earlier, and after delay caused by petitions and legal maneuvering by opposing groups, the Legislative Yuan (Lìfǎ Yuàn 立法院) passes a law on May 17, going into effect May 24, the deadline set by the Council. Taiwan thus becomes the first nation in Asia to fully legalize same-sex marriage.
2019.0609 (= Mínguó 民國 108)
In Hong Kong hundreds of thousands of demonstrators (or perhaps as many as a million) take to the streets to protest a proposed “Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation [Amendment] Bill of 2019” (2019 Nián Táofàn jí Xíngshì Shìyí Xiānghù Fǎlǜ Xiézhù Fǎlì [Xiūdìng] Tiáolì Cǎo’àn 2019 年逃犯及刑事 事宜相互法律 協助法例 (修訂) 條例草案) that would allow extradition of accused defendants to mainland China for trial. The bill will eventually be put on hold, but will not be formally withdrawn until September, by which time demonstrations will have broadened to other issues. Months of continuing demonstrations will result in threats of intervention from the PRC government, increasing the salience of mainland relations in upcoming Taiwan elections.
Dr. LǏ Wén­liàng 李文亮, Bureaucatic Martyr (Internet Photo)
2019.1230 (= Mínguó 民國 108)
On December 30, 2019, Dr. LǏ Wénliàng 李文亮, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist at Wǔhàn 武汉 Central Hospital warns medical school classmates about the existence of a contagious new coronavirus. (The newly detected, still unnamed —“novel”— coronavirus, of unknown origin, has just jumped to humans. Widespread rumors suggests transmission from an illegally traded pangolin in the Wǔhàn market. Pangolins are a protected species, but pangolin scales are used in Chinese medicine.) Dr. LǏ will die of the virus on February 7.
2019.12.31 (= Mínguó 民國 108)
Fearing a possible epidemic, Taiwan sends a query to the World Health organization about “at least seven atypical pneumonia cases” in Wǔhàn 武漢 but is ignored because Taiwan is not a WHO member. Taiwan begins screening passengers on flights from Wǔhàn for evidence of infection.
2020.0101 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
In Wǔhàn 武漢 Dr. LǏ Wénliàng 李文亮 is detained by police and forced to sign a confession to “posting false statements on the Internet.”
2020.0102 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
As a precautionary measure, Taiwan activates its emergency operations center to begin tracking and isolating people exposed to the new virus.

NOTE: The novel coronavirus, techically named SARS-CoV2, produced an illness called Covid-19, which quickly proved to be remarkably contagious, spreading rapidly throughout the world.

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2020.0111 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
CÀI Yīngwén 蔡英文 (“Tsai Ing-wen”) (and on her coattails the Democratic Progressive Party [Mínjìn Dǎng 民進黨 —“DPP”]) wins a second term as president, buoyed by popular hostility toward the mainland inspired by the continuation of June’s unrest in Hong Kong.
2020.0121 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
Taiwan has its first confirmed case of Covid-10, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
2020.0319 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
Taiwan closes its borders to non-residents in an effort to avoid introducing new coronavirus carriers.
2020.0401-0402 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
Internationally applauded for its early and vigorous public health measures —the island has only 355 cases and 5 deaths at this point— but barred by PRC-enforced diplomatic isolation from participating in efforts by or for the World Health Organization, Taiwan lifts a temporary ban on the export of protective face masks and offers to donate 16,000,000 of them to stricken countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It also offers a million masks, thermal imaging devices, and infrared thermometers to the 15 states with which it still has diplomatic relations.
2020.0417 (= Mínguó 民國 109)
In Hong Kong, the Chinese Liaison Office announces that is not bound by Article 22 of the Basic Law providing that Chinese government offices may not interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. With the Coronavirus epidemic dominating the news, democracy activists have been swept up and charged with various crimes during last summer’s pro-democracy demonstrations. Today’s declaration effectively ends any support for a “one country, two systems” (Yīguó-Liǎngzhì 一國兩制) approach to uniting Taiwan with the mainland.See 1981, 1997

Principal Sources:

This table initially depended heavily on materials provided in the following sources but has been expanded and adapted as I have come across or thought about additional material over several years. Sources that were not extensively consulted but that provided useful images of historical documents are also listed.

HARA Furasuke 原房助 (ed)
1932 臺灣大年表。 (Chronology of Taiwan.) Third edition (1895-1931). Taihoku (Taipei): 臺灣經世新報社.
HSIEH Chiao-min
1964 Táiwān —Ilha Formosa: A Geography in Perspective. London: Butterworths.
QĪ Jiāfù 戚嘉富, Ed.
2013 Gǔdài Dìwáng 古代帝王。 (Ancient Emperors). Bilingual. Héféi City 合肥市 (Ānhuī 安徽省 Province): Huángshān Shūdiàn 黄山书店. (Image of the Manchuko Edict.)
TÁNG Mànzhēn 唐慢珍 & WÁNG Yǔ 王宇 (eds.)
1990 台湾事典。 (Encyclopedia of Taiwan.) Tiānjīn: 南开大学出版社。
WINTLE, Justin
2002 The Rough Guide history of China. London: Rough Guides.
WÚ Mìchá 吳密察 (ed) et al.
2001 臺灣歷史年表。 (Chronology of Taiwan.) Taipei: 遠流臺灣館。
2005a 臺灣史十講。 (Mini-Encyclopedia of Táiwān history.) Bilingual. Taipei: 新自然主義出版社。 (Third Nature Publishing Company.)
2005b 臺灣歷史小百科。 (Ten short talks on Táiwān history.) Bilingual. Taipei: 新自然主義出版社。 (Third Nature Publishing Company.)

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