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Taiwan, History

Archaeological evidence consisting of primitive utensils indicates Taiwan was inhabited by humans as far back as 10,000 years ago. Bands of Japanese are said to have conquered portions of the island in the 12th century, and from the 15th century onward Japan regarded the eastern half of Taiwan as its possession. In 1590 the Portuguese became the first known Europeans to visit the island, which they called Formosa (Portuguese for “beautiful”). Subsequently, the Spanish attempted to found permanent settlements, but they were thwarted by the Dutch, who succeeded in taking possession of the P’enghu Islands in 1622. Three years later the Dutch established forts on the southeastern coast of Taiwan.

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