Taiwan is a state in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China now governs the island of Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa), which makes up over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands. Neighboring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east and northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taipei is the capital and economic and cultural center of the country, while New Taipei is the most populous city.
The earliest evidence of Taiwan being inhabited is from the late Paleolithic era. The island of Taiwan was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines before being explored, and later colonized by European powers including Dutch and Spanish in the 17th century. The first Han Chinese polity on Taiwan began in 1662 when Koxinga's troops expelled Dutch forces, and established the Kingdom of Tungning. The island was subsequently ruled by the Qing Dynasty. Following Japan's victory over the Qing Dynasty in the first Sino-Japanese war, Taiwan was ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. The Republic of China was established in mainland China in 1912. At the end of World War II in 1945, Japan surrendered Taiwan and associated islands to ROC forces. Following the Chinese civil war in the last three years, the Communist forces took full control of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949; the ROC resettled its government to Taiwan. Since the founding of the PRC, international recognition of the ROC has gradually eroded as most countries switched recognition to the PRC. In 1971, the PRC assumed China's seat at the United Nations. Only 22 UN member states and the Holy See currently recognize the ROC as a sovereign state and maintain formal diplomatic relations with it, though it has informal ties with many other states via Taipei Representative Office.
Officially, the ROC government has claimed sovereignty over all