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It was a member of the United Nations representing "China" until 1971, when it lost its seat to the People's Republic of China.Over subsequent decades, the Republic of China has become commonly known as "Taiwan", after the island that comprises 99% of the territory under its control.The island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (13,826 sq mi), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated.Taipei is the capital and largest metropolitan area.Taiwan maintains official ties with 16 out of 193 UN member states.International organisations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only as a non-state actor.David Wright, a Scottish agent of the company who lived on the island in the 1650s, described the lowland areas of the island as being divided among 11 chiefdoms ranging in size from two settlements to 72.

Fragmentary human remains dated 20,000 to 30,000 years ago have been found on the island, as well as later artifacts of a paleolithic culture.Domestically, the major political division is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unification and promoting a Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring to independence and promoting Taiwanese identity, although both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.) in Chinese historical records.The area occupied by modern-day Tainan represented the first permanent settlement by both European colonists and Chinese immigrants.In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization called the "Taiwan Miracle".In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ROC transitioned from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system.

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