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Taiwan Province

Coordinates: 23°48′N 121°00′E / 23.8°N 121.0°E / 23.8; 121.0
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Taiwan Province
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese臺灣省 (Táiwān Shěng)
 • AbbreviationTW / (pinyin: Tái; Hokkien: Tâi; Hakka: Thòi)
 • Hokkien POJTâi-oân-séng
 • Hakka PFSThòi-vàn-sén or Thòi-vân-sén
Flag of Taiwan Province
Official seal of Taiwan Province
Map depicting subdivisions nominally part of the province (red)
Map depicting subdivisions nominally part of the province (red)
Coordinates: 23°48′N 121°00′E / 23.8°N 121.0°E / 23.8; 121.0
Country Republic of China
Established from Fujian1887
Secession to Japan17 April 1895
Placed under the control of the ROC25 October 1945
Streamlined21 December 1998
Governmental functions removed1 July 2018[1]
Provincial capitalZhongxing New Village (1956-2018)
Taipei (1945–1956)
Largest cityHsinchu
Divisions11 counties, 3 cities
 • TypeProvince (nominal)
 • BodyNational Development Council[a]
 • Total25,110.0037 km2 (9,695.0266 sq mi)
 • Total7,060,473
 • Density280/km2 (730/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (NST)
"Taiwan" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese臺灣 or 台灣
Simplified Chinese台湾
Traditional Chinese or
Simplified Chinese
Taiwan Province
Traditional Chinese臺灣 or 台灣
Simplified Chinese台湾

Taiwan Province (Chinese: 臺灣省; pinyin: Táiwān Shěng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-oân-séng; PFS: Thòi-vàn-sén or Thòi-vân-sén) is a de jure administrative division of the Republic of China (ROC). Provinces remain a titular division as a part of the Constitution of the Republic of China, but are no longer considered to have any administrative function practically.[2][3]

Taiwan Province covers approximately 69% of the island of Taiwan, and comprises around 31% of the total population. The province initially covered the entire island of Taiwan (Formosa), Penghu (the Pescadores), Orchid Island, Green Island, Xiaoliuqiu Island, and their surrounding islands. Between 1967 and 2014, six special municipalities (Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan) were split off from the province, all in the most populous regions.

Taiwan was initially made a prefecture of Fujian Province by the Qing dynasty of China after its conquest of the Kingdom of Tungning in 1683. Following the French offensive in northern Taiwan during the Sino-French War, the island's strategic position in maritime security and defence was re-evaluated and given prominence by the Qing.[4] Under the auspices of Liu Ming-chuan, a plan was commenced to develop Taiwan into a stand-alone division. In 1887, Taiwan was designated as a distinct province (namely "Fujian-Taiwan Province"; Chinese: 福建臺灣省), with Liu as the first governor, but the island was then ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895, following China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War. After the surrender of Japan in World War II, the province was re-established on Taiwan by the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist Government in September 1945 and it became the last stronghold of the KMT government after their defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The provincial capital of Taipei has correspondingly become the provisional capital of the ROC central government since 1949.

During the constitutional reform initiated in 1996, the ROC authorities decided to downsize the provincial structure to solve the problem of overlapping personnel and administrative resources between the provincial and central governments, and cut excessive public spending.[5] The provinces were streamlined and ceased to be self-governing bodies in December 1998, with their administrative functions transferred to the Executive Yuan's subsidiary National Development Council, as well as second-tier local governments such as counties. In July 2018, all provincial governmental organs were formally abolished, with their budget and personnel removed.[3][6]


Qing Empire[edit]

In 1683, Zheng Keshuang (third ruler of the Kingdom of Tungning and a grandson of Koxinga), surrendered to the Qing Empire following a naval engagement with Admiral Shi Lang. The Qing then ruled the Taiwanese archipelago (including Penghu) as Taiwan Prefecture of Fujian Province. In 1875, Taipeh Prefecture was separated from Taiwan Prefecture. In 1885, work commenced under the auspices of Liu Ming-chuan to develop Taiwan into a province. In 1887, the island was designated as a province (officially "Fujian-Taiwan Province"; Chinese: 福建臺灣省), with Liu as the first governor.[7] The province was also reorganized into four prefectures, eleven districts, and three sub-prefectures.[8][9] The provincial capital, or "Taiwan-fu", was intended to be moved from the south (modern-day Tainan) to the more central area of Toatun (modern-day Taichung) in the revamped Taiwan Prefecture.[10] As the new central Taiwan-fu was still under construction, the capital was temporarily moved north to Taipeh (modern-day Taipei), which eventually was designated the provincial capital.

Divisions of Taiwan (Formosa) as a province[11]
Circuit Prefectures Districts Sub-Prefectures
Taiwan Taipeh Tamsui Kelung
Taiwan Taiwan (臺灣縣)
Changwha Puli
Tainan Anping Penghu

Empire of Japan[edit]

In 1895, the entire Taiwan Province, including Penghu, was ceded to Japan following the First Sino-Japanese War through the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Under Japanese rule, the province was abolished in favour of Japanese-style divisions. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Taiwan was handed over to the Republic of China (ROC).

Republic of China[edit]

Map of Taiwan Province within the de jure territory of the ROC.
Prior to 1 January 2007 all vehicles registered in Taiwan Province carried the label "Taiwan Province" (台灣省) on their license plates.

The ROC government immediately established the Taiwan Provincial Government under first Chief Executive and government-general Chen Yi in September 1945.[12][13] Chen was extremely unpopular and his rule led to an uprising – the February 28 Incident of 1947. Chen was recalled in May 1947 and the government-general position was abolished.

When the Republic of China government was relocated to Taipei in 1949 as a result of the Kuomintang's (KMT) defeat by the Chinese Communist Party forces in the Chinese Civil War, the provincial administration remained in place under the claim that the ROC was still the government of all of China even though the opposition argued that it overlapped inefficiently with the national government.

The seat of the provincial government was moved from Taipei to Zhongxing New Village in 1956. Historically, Taiwan Province covers the entire island of Taiwan and all its associated islands. The city of Taipei was split off to become a province-level special municipality in 1967, and the city of Kaohsiung was split off in 1979 to become another special municipality. In December 2010, Kaohsiung County left the province and merged with the original Kaohsiung City to become an expanded Kaohsiung City, Taipei County became the special municipality named New Taipei City. The cities and counties of Taichung and Tainan were also merged, respectively, and elevated to special municipality. On 25 December 2014, Taoyuan County was upgraded into a special municipality and split off from Taiwan Province.

Until 1992, the governor of Taiwan province was appointed by the ROC central government. The office was often a stepping stone to higher office.

In 1992, the post of the governor of the province was opened to election. The then-opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) agreed to retain the province with an elected governor in the hopes of creating a "Yeltsin effect" in which a popular local leader could overwhelm the national government. These hopes proved unfulfilled as then-Kuomintang member James Soong was elected governor of Taiwan province, defeating the DPP candidate Chen Ding-nan.

In 1997, as the result of an agreement between the KMT and the DPP, the powers of the provincial government were curtailed by constitutional amendments. The post of provincial governor was abolished. In addition, the provincial council was also replaced by the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council. Although the stated purpose was administrative efficiency, Soong and his supporters claim that it was actually intended to impede James Soong's political life, though it did not have this effect.

The provincial administration was downscaled in 1998, most of its power handed to the central government. The counties and provincial cities under the province became the primary administrative divisions of the country.


The position of the Chairperson of the Provincial Government, appointed by the central government, is retained to comply with the Constitution.

The major operations of the provincial government, such as managing provincial highways and the Bank of Taiwan, have been transferred to the Executive Yuan since 1998. In July 2018, all remaining duties were transferred to the National Development Council and other ministries of the Executive Yuan.[14][failed verification]

The Taiwan Provincial Government was located in Zhongxing New Village, Nantou City, Nantou County between 1957 and 2018.

The Taiwan Provincial Government building between 1957 and 2018. Currently the Office of the Zhongxing New Village Revitalization Project, National Development Council
The Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council building between 1958 and 2018. Currently a heritage site managed by the Taichung City Government


History of divisions[edit]

In October 1945, The Government of the Republic of China reformed the eight(8) Japanese prefectures under the Government-General of Taiwan into 8 counties and 9 cities.

Year Date Division No. Notes
Counties Cities Bureaus
1945 25 October 8 9
  • Counties: Hsinchu, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Penghu, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, and Taitung.
  • Cities: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, and Taipei.
(with 2 county-controlled cities: Hualien and Yilan)
1949 26 August 8 9 1 Ts'ao-shan Administrative Bureau established from Taipei County
1950 1 April 8 9 1 Ts'ao-shan Administrative Bureau renamed to Yangmingshan Administrative Bureau
16 August 16 5 1
  • Counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu,
Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, Taitung, Taoyuan, Yilan, and Yunlin
  • Cities: Kaohsiung, Keelung, Taichung, Tainan, and Taipei.
(Chiayi, Changhua, Hsinchu, and Pingtung downgraded to county-administered cities)
1967 1 July 16 4 1 Taipei became the first Taiwanese special municipality
1968 1 July 16 4 Yangmingshan Administrative Bureau merged into Taipei
1973 1 July 16 4 1 Li-shan Administrative Bureau established from Taichung County
1979 1 July 16 3 1 Kaohsiung became the second Taiwanese special municipality
1981 1 March 16 3 Li-shan Administrative Bureau merged back to Taichung County
25 December 16 3 All county seats (originally urban townships) upgraded to county-administered cities.
1982 1 July 16 5 Upgrade Chiayi and Hsinchu to provincial cities (approved on 23 April 1981)
1998 21 December 16 5 Provincial government streamlined, all counties and cities are directly led by the Executive Yuan
2010 25 December 12 3 Upgrade Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan to special municipalities,
which covers 4 counties (Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan) and 2 cities (Taichung and Tainan).
2014 25 December 11 3 Upgrade Taoyuan to a special municipality.
2018 1 July 11 3 Provincial government defunct, all counties and cities are directly led by the Executive Yuan

Current divisions[edit]

Taiwan Province is nominally divided into 11 counties   and 3 cities  . All divisions are directly administered by the central government in practice.

Map No. Name Mandarin
1 Changhua County 彰化縣 Zhānghuà xiàn Chiong-hoà koān Chông-fa yen
2 Chiayi City 嘉義市 Jiāyì shì Ka-gī chhī Kâ-ngi sṳ
3 Chiayi County 嘉義縣 Jiāyì xiàn Ka-gī koān Kâ-ngi yen
4 Hsinchu City 新竹市 Xīnzhú shì Sin-tek chhī Sîn-tsuk sṳ
5 Hsinchu County 新竹縣 Xīnzhú xiàn Sin-tek koān Sîn-tsuk yen
6 Hualien County 花蓮縣 Huālián xiàn Hoa-liân koān Fâ-lièn yen
7 Keelung City 基隆市 Jīlóng shì Ke-lâng chhī Kî-lùng sṳ
8 Miaoli County 苗栗縣 Miáolì xiàn Biâu-le̍k koān Mèu-li̍t yen
9 Nantou County 南投縣 Nántóu xiàn Lâm-tâu koān Nàm-thèu yen
10 Penghu County 澎湖縣 Pénghú xiàn Phêⁿ-ô͘ koān Phàng-fù yen
11 Pingtung County 屏東縣 Píngdōng xiàn Pîn-tong koān Phìn-tûng yen
12 Taitung County 臺東縣 Táidōng xiàn Tâi-tang koān Thòi-tûng yen
13 Yilan County 宜蘭縣 Yílán xiàn Gî-lân koān Ngì-làn yen
14 Yunlin County 雲林縣 Yúnlín xiàn Hûn-lîm koān Yùn-lìm yen

Note that the special municipalities of Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, and Taoyuan are both nominally under and directly administered by the central government. They are not parts of any province.

Sister states/provinces[edit]

Taiwan Province is twinned with 42 U.S. states:[15]

Territorial disputes[edit]

The People's Republic of China (PRC) regards itself as the "successor state" of the Republic of China (ROC), which the PRC claims no longer legitimately exists, following establishment of the PRC on Mainland China. The PRC asserts itself to be the sole legitimate government of China, and claims Taiwan as its 23rd province, even though the PRC itself has never had control of Taiwan or other ROC-held territories. The ROC disputes this position, maintaining that it still legitimately exists and that the PRC has not succeeded it.

The PRC claims the entirety of the island of Taiwan and its nearby islands and islets, including the Penghu, as parts of its Taiwan Province, corresponding to the ROC's Taiwan Province before the special municipalities were split off. The PRC claims that Taiwan is a part of China, that the PRC succeeded the ROC as the sole legitimate authority in all of China upon its founding in 1949, and that therefore Taiwan is a part of the PRC.

The Senkaku Islands, which are currently administered by Japan, are disputed by both the ROC and the PRC, which claim them as the Tiaoyutai/Diaoyu Islands. The ROC government claims them as part of Toucheng Township, Yilan County.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ 賴清德拍板!省政府7月1日解散、省級機關預算將歸零. ettoday.net (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 28 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Local governments". Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (November 2020). "Taiwan combined" (PDF). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  4. ^ Davidson, James W. (1903). The Island of Formosa, Past and Present: History, People, Resources, and Commercial Prospects: Tea, Camphor, Sugar, Gold, Coal, Sulphur, Economical Plants, and Other Productions. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. OL 6931635M.
  5. ^ Bi-yu Chang (24 March 2015), "The rise and fall of Sanminzhuyi Utopia", Place, Identity, and National Imagination in Post-war Taiwan, Routledge, pp. 136–138, ISBN 9781317658122.
  6. ^ Sherry Hsiao (29 June 2018). "Provincial-level agencies to be defunded next year". Taipei Times. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  7. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 244 "During the French war, Liu Ming-chuan had been placed in sole command, responsible only to the central authorities. Under his superintendence, Formosa had been carried safely through the war, and it was now apparent that the exigencies of the times required that the island should be made an independent province, and that officials of high rank and undoubted ability should be henceforth placed in charge of it. Therefore, in 1887, the island was declared by Imperial decree an independent province, and the Imperial Commissioner Liu Ming-chuan was appointed the first governor."
  8. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 244: "A thorough reorganization and redivisioning of the island was now necessitated. In former days, Formosa comprised one complete prefecture, four districts, and three sub-prefectures. Now the island became a province with four prefectures (Taipeh, Taiwan, Tainan, and Taitung), eleven districts, and three sub-prefectures."
  9. ^ Campbell, William (1915). "Chapter XLIV: A Retrospect and a Forecast". Sketches from Formosa. London: Marshall Brothers. pp. 278–9. OL 7051071M.
  10. ^ Davidson (1903), pp. 244–5: "As a result of these changes and additions, the seat of government (which had been formerly at the old town of Taiwan-fu in the south, which city had been in turn the capital of the Dutch, Koxinga, and the Chinese,) was now removed temporarily to the new city of Taipeh, which had been lately in course of construction...In connection with this, it is necessary to go further and explain that it was the intention of the government to build a new capital city in the centre of the island near Changwha. Accordingly, the new city was laid out and the construction of official yamens commenced. The name of the new city became Taiwan-fu, or the capital city of Taiwan (Formosa), and it was also to be the seat of a new prefecture called Taiwan [Prefecture]."
  11. ^ adapted from Davidson (1903), p. 244
  12. ^ Huang, Yingzhe (黃英哲) (19 December 2007). 「去日本化」「再中國化」:戰後台灣文化重建(1945–1947) (PDF). 麥田出版社. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Chapter 1.
  13. ^ "Shaw Communications". members.shaw.ca.
  14. ^ "Taiwan Provincial Government Official Website". Archived from the original on 10 April 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Taiwan Provincial Administration Information Hall". Archived from the original on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Welcome to the Ohio Department of Development". Archived from the original on 17 June 2009.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Bush, R. & O'Hanlon, M. (2007). A War Like No Other: The Truth About China's Challenge to America. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-98677-1
  • Bush, R. (2006). Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-1290-1
  • Carpenter, T. (2006). America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6841-1
  • Cole, B. (2006). Taiwan's Security: History and Prospects. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-36581-3
  • Copper, J. (2006). Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan. Praeger Security International General Interest. ISBN 0-275-98888-0
  • Federation of American Scientists et al. (2006). Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning
  • Gill, B. (2007). Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-3146-9
  • Shirk, S. (2007). China: Fragile Superpower: How China's Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530609-0
  • Tsang, S. (2006). If China Attacks Taiwan: Military Strategy, Politics and Economics. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40785-0
  • Tucker, N.B. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13564-5

External links[edit]