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Taiwan is located in eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China. It is roughly the size of the Netherlands and the state of West Virginia, USA. A number of smaller, nearby islands have had historic association with Taiwan, including the Pescadores, Green Island, Orchid Island, and Shiao LiuChiu.

Throughout 400 years of history, Taiwan has been occupied by the Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. Although Chinese culture has exerted a considerable influence on local traditions, Japanese and Western culture have as well. There are also some uniquely Taiwanese aspects of local culture, such as opera, folk music, literature and film.

About 15% of Taiwan''s residents are refugees from the mainland who came over with the KMT in 1945-1949 and their Taiwanborn descendants. The rest of the population are called ''native Taiwanese'', who are the descendants of the settlers who arrived 350 or more years ago who intermarried with the Malay-Polynesian indigenous population. About 70% are ''Minnan'' and speak the ''Hoklo'' language. Another 12-15% are descended from Hakka immigrants and speak the ''Hakka'' language. Approximately 1.8 percent of the people are Indigenous people of Malay-Polynesian descent; there are approximately ten tribes with distinct languages and cultures.

Area: 35,980 sq km
Population: 23.4 million
People: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%
Language: Mandarin, Taiwanese , Hakka dialects
Religion: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christian
multiparty democracy

GDP (official exchange rate): $529.6 billion (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): US$45,900 (2014 est.)
Major Industries: Machinery, electrical equipment, electronic/computer goods, textiles, iron and steel
Major Trading Partners: USA, Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea

(Information Source: CIA-The World Factbook, Lonely Planet)