February 28 – Peace Memorial Day in Taiwan

Posted on February 28, 2017

Taiwan is in the singular position of being the most populous country -- and the country with the largest economy -- that is not a member of the United Nations.

It is also in the singular position of being one of the founding members of the U.N. -- but no longer a member of the U.N.!

That's because of the history of the island of Taiwan. The inhabitants of this island used to be Taiwanese aborigines (a group of people that had lived on the island for so long, they were considered natives to the island), but in the 1600s Han Chinese people from the mainland began to settle there as well. The Qing Dynasty took over the island for a while but then ceded the island to Japan in 1895. During Japanese rule over Taiwan, the Qing Dynasty fell and the Republic of China (ROC) was established on the mainland.

This simple map shows the PRC in red
and the ROC in green.
Japan, of course, was on the losing side of World War II, and at the end of the war (in 1945), the ROC took control of Taiwan. However, the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 with Communist forces taking over the mainland and establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) there. The ROC officials fled to Taiwan and continued to claim to be the legitimate government of the mainland as well as of the island.

The ROC had been a founding member of the United Nations, in 1945, and was one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. For a while there, many other nations (those that weren't themselves Communist, largely) agreed that the ROC was the legitimate China, and what was essentially just the island of Taiwan held that important U.N. Security Council seat.

However, it's really hard for all the people of the world to ignore a giant swath of land and people -- the PRC -- and privilege a much, much smaller region and group of people over them; in the 1970s, the PRC was finally recognized as THE China by many nations, and the PRC took China's seat in the U.N. and on the Security Council, as well.

Check out the beauties of the land, the culture, the people, and the cities of Taiwan:

Also on this date:

Kanaval in Haiti 

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