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Rebel Island : The incredible history of Taiwan - Jonathan Clements

Rebel Island

The incredible history of Taiwan

By: Jonathan Clements

eBook | 8 February 2024

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The gripping history of Taiwan, from the flood myths of indigenous legend to its Asian Tiger economic miracle — and the renewed threat of invasion by China.

Once dismissed by the Kangxi Emperor as nothing but a 'ball of mud', Taiwan has a modern GDP larger than that of Sweden, in a land area smaller than Indiana. It is the last surviving enclave of the Republic of China, a lost colony of Japan, and claimed by Beijing as a rogue province — merely the latest chapters in its long history as a refuge for pirates, rebels, settlers, and outcasts.

Jonathan Clements examines the unique conditions of Taiwan's archaeology and indigenous history, and its days as a Dutch and Spanish trading post. He delves into its periods as an independent kingdom, Chinese province, and short-lived republic, and the transformations wrought by 50 years as part of the Japanese Empire. He examines the traumatic effects of its role as a lifeboat in 1949 for two million refugees from Communism, and the conflicts emerging after the suspension of four decades of martial law, as its people debate issues of self-determination, independence, and home rule.

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