From Phin-o to Peh-tang: Tai-oan

The Republic of Tai-oan:


National Flag


Map showing territory and major cities


Territorial evolution of Tai-oan. Declaration of Independence by the Republican Government (1945) in green, Dutch surrender of Phin-o (1947) in red, and US handover of Peh-tang (1948) in blue.

Tai-oan was originally considered part of Ming China, though only the Phin-o/Penghu islands were inhabited by Chinese at the time. The first Europeans were the Portuguese, who discovered the island and named it Formosa (the Beautiful Island), also naming the Phin-o islands as the "Pescadores". The Phin-o islands were later the site of a Dutch fort, built in 1622 during an attempt to dislodge the Portuguese from Macao, an attempt which failed miserable and gained the ire of the Ming. The Dutch were brutal to the locals and unceremoniously belligerent towards China, which caused a war between the two and led to the Dutch being removed from the island in favor of Formosa. The Chinese did not care about Formosa, as it was seen as a backwater with little worth.


The Phin-o Islands

From 1626 to 1633, the Dutch forcefully pacified the tribes of the island with the exception of the northern tip, which was under the protection of a Spanish fort. In 1633, China and the Dutch almost went to war over attempts to tax Chinese shipping in the Strait of Tai-oan. The Dutch bowed to China in exchange for the Phin-o islands and recognition of Dutch sovereignty over Formosa. For the next decade, Dutch Formosa began to receive many Han immigrants from China, primarily from Fujian. Now both Dutch and Hokkien were important languages on the island, as Dutch allowed communication with other Europeans and Hokkien allowed trade with China. The Dutch used the growth of military and economic strength to dislodge the Spanish from the north, which was accomplished in 1642 and the whole island was under Dutch sovereignty.

Dutch Formosa was very profitable, but this came at a great cost. A head tax was imposed on all non-aboriginal and non-Dutch inhabitants, of which only the Chinese were the only considerable population. Grumbling and discontent built and culminated in a revolt in 1652, though the revolt was ruthlessly put down. The Dutch administration, however, recognized the danger of alienating the population and removed the head tax. Taxes on trade with China were raised to compensate, which helped to keep laborers content and Chinese merchants less successful than European ones. Small attempts were made to accommodate the new Hokkien-speaking population, and the rise in communication between Dutch and Chinese led to many Christian converts and also a romanization system (though rudimentary) for Hokkien. Most importantly, the new harmony with the Hokkien community led to less enforcing of Dutch schooling and more economic development for Formosan aboriginals.

Relative peace was the order of the day until in 1661, Koxinga and his Ming loyalist forces landed on the island. Fleeing from the Qing Dynasty, Koxinga wanted to establish the Ming in Formosa and build strength before returning to conquer China. The Dutch allied themselves with the Qing to crush Koxinga, but could not stop him from causing chaos while they prepared forces to stop him. Fortunately for the Dutch, both the Hokkien and the Formosan aboriginals refused to aid Koxinga. Early in his campaign, the general devastated an aboriginal town for refusing to feed his army, leading to a strengthening of anti-Ming sentiment. While the opposition to Koxinga was considerable, it was not pro-Dutch. The general was later killed during the Siege of Fort Zeelandia, where his aboriginal allies (some tribes had indeed joined his forces) turned on him and killed him in his sleep, causing many to desert from the army. The remaining forces, led by Koxinga's son, were picked off by the Dutch forces who arrived the next day.

More to come next time, including the fate of Dutch Formosa during the Batavian Republic...
Actively and insurmountably exciting and interesting. I like your timeline! Watched.

How did an independent Tai-oan affect the geopolitical situation in East Asia that we have in this OTL world? How an independent affect also affect the current situation in China including the Nationalists (KMT) who were fought against the Communists (CCP) and how would affect the course of history especially on the mainland side?
British Formosa (1797-1911)
From the 1660s to the 1780s, Formosa enjoyed a period of splendid peace. The population swelled as the Dutch had taken over Portuguese trade with Japan, made trade agreements with the Qing Dynasty, accepted Chinese Christians from the mainland, and allowed the island to become a stopping point for western missionaries on their way to China, Korea, and Japan. Good relations with the British, however, were not to last. Tensions between the Dutch and British had been high in India, where the British wanted to take Ceylon for themselves. When the Netherlands was invaded by France in 1795 and William V fled to England, the British took the chance to claim trusteeship over Ceylon. They were merely "protecting it" until the rightful King was returned to power. The same was done for Formosa. A fleet was dispatched from Hong Kong to occupy the island in June of 1797, and an initial stop was made to capture Mekung on the Pescadores. The Dutch general understood what had just happened to Ceylon, and did not wish to suffer under the British with no aid, so he surrendered the fort. The rest of the island proved similar, with Dutch forts surrendering easily. The colonial administration bowed to the British, valuing trade over patriotism and continuity, though the same could not be said of the Formosan aboriginals.

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was nationalised in 1796, though the flag continued to fly until 1797 when Formosa was occupied by the British.


Flag of the Dutch East India Company, which flew over Formosa until 1796.

The British were keen to show continuity with Dutch colonial rule, but many natives believed it was a good time to test the waters. The Dutch governor was kept in place, but no effort had been made to meet with the many aboriginal tribes who had submitted to Dutch rule (and Dutch rule only). Seeing themselves as no longer subjects, many tribes stopped showing deference and instead re-instituted their own laws and justice, also stopping tribute or contributions they once sent to the Dutch. The Dutch governor, pleading to his British occupiers, asked for a punitive expedition but was turned down.

Ultimately, the British decided to send an expedition. This decision was made with the intent of permanently annexing Formosa to the British Empire. The expedition began in 1798 and succeeded in gaining recognition from the aboriginals. The local Hokkien residents did not seem to care about the differences in British rule, and English schools quickly sprang up to replace Dutch as the European language of prestige.


Dutch Formosa (1797-1947)

Formosa would ultimately remain under the control of Britain. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Britain returned the Pescadores and Fort Zeelandia but retained Formosa. The Dutch were given trading rights and paid a lump sum of four thousand pounds in exchange. The British set about reorganizing the territory as British Formosa, and during this time the nearby islands of Yaeyama were occupied by many Hokkien Chinese who set up fisheries there. The islands came to be known by their Hokkien name, Peh-tang, and were claimed by Britain though never officially administered. The islands were also claimed by Japan, through their claim to the entire Ryukyu islands.


Flag of British Formosa (1877-1926), adopted on the 100th anniversary of British rule.

The British claim to Formosa was cemented by the handover of Dutch ownership, which had been recognized by both the Ming and Qing dynasties, but the Qing Dynasty now turned back on its previous agreement and declared it did not recognize British sovereignty over the island. This mattered little until the 1830s, when tensions began to grow over the opium trade. In 1839, foreign ships in Canton were ordered to destroy or surrender their opium stock. The British demanded compensation for the destruction of their property, and in 1841, a blockade in the Bohai Sea was undertaken. The British negotiated for the transfer of Hong Kong, a small island near Canton, which the British believed would serve as a valuable link to trade in the region. The island did not grow much as a port however, and quickly became reliant on British Formosa for both translators and trade connections. The lack of success in Hong Kong added pressure for the British to secure a "better deal", which culminated in 1856 with a brief conflict. The British obtained the Treaty of Tientsin in 1860 which enforced trading rights, the legalization of the opium trade, but also recognition of British Formosa. The Kowloon Peninsula, which had been occupied in 1860, was formally given to Britain in 1898 as a 99-year lease.

As Hong Kong began to grow, trade in Formosa flourished. The population boomed as trade and business came to, and went through, the island's many ports. Worries with Japan over the Yaeyama/Peh-tang islands were briefly silenced in favor of trade with the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation in 1894, but the dispute remained unsolved. Crisis was on the horizon, however, as Japan defeated the Qing in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and annexed the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Hainan. Japan was also in dispute with Britain over the Yaeyama/Peh-tang islands, which was becoming a concern as Japan now exerted very real control over the Ryukyu islands. With the Triple Intervention of France, Germany, and Russia against the Japanese occupation of Liaodong, the British began to support the Japanese towards modernization fearing that they too could be attacked by a joint intervention. Relations were finally solidified in 1902 with the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The treaty promised a recognition of each power's control and influence in China and Korea as well as neutrality in the case of war in those regions. For Formosa, the treaty meant the Yaeyama/Peh-tang islands were to be abandoned by the British and left for Japan to take. Since the islands had never actually been administered, only claimed, this was of little consequence to Britain but seen as a small victory by Japan.

Even as Britain secured control over Formosa proper, the seeds of revolution were beginning to grow in China.

Next time: The effect of the Xinhai Revolution on Formosa. The effects of WW1. The approach of WW2.
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The Blooming Flower (1911-1941)
In 1911, the Xinhai Revolution ended the Qing Dynasty’s rule of China. The effects were felt immediately in China and in many of the concessions held by European powers, not least of which were Hong Kong and Formosa. The increase in Chinese nationalism and anti-Western sentiment was relatively weak in Hong Kong, but considerable in Formosa. Many Chinese revolutionaries had studied in the schools of those colonies, not least of which were Sun Yat-sen, and this encouraged interest in preserving Chinese culture.


Victoria and Hong Kong island in 1870.

Chinese nationalism gained popularity slowly but steadily, and the first patriotic association was founded in 1912 under the name of “The White Flower” (Chinese: 白花, POJ: Peh-hoe). The organization used the white plum flower found on the colonial flag as its symbol (the plum flower was chosen as a symbol due to its popularity among the Hokkien). The organization funded book clubs, trips to Fujian, and political activities. The British were wary of the White Flower, but allowed them to operate as they did not agitate for independence. The only actions taken against the White Flower were when their leaflets and posters were deemed to be anti-imperialist or anti-Western. The new Tai-oan People's Party was also founded in 1927 and led left-wing members of the Peh-hoe to change allegiances. Unlike the White Flower association, the Tai-oan People's Party was banned almost immediately, as they ran afoul of British colonial officials after holding numerous socialist rallies.


Flag of the White Flower (1912-1999)

The populations of both Hong Kong and Formosa continued to boom well into the 1920s, and things remained peaceful there until 1925. On May 30, 1925, British policemen in Shanghai fired upon Chinese protesters, killing at least 9 people. The May 30 incident, as it was dubbed, was made worse by a second incident in Shamian on June 23 of that same year. In total, about 60 Chinese were killed and many others wounded. The two incidents inflamed hatred towards imperialist powers, especially Britain. In Guangdong and Hong Kong, a strike was called. First, around 50 thousand left Hong Kong, then the second wave saw 250 thousand leave. Many parts of the city were abandoned completely, and the British government was in hardship to continue supporting the colony. In Formosa, such an exodus was impractical, though around 30 thousand left the island in total (most left for Fujian and other Min-speaking areas). The White Flower campaigned in support of the May 30 Movement (as the incident had sparked genuine action) and called for negotiations concerning self-government.

Though the exodus from Formosa was much more limited than Hong Kong, trade was severely impacted as many Hokkien refused to do business during the strike. In order to silence criticism and restart commerce, the colonial government reluctantly agreed to reform local systems. On May 23, 1926, almost a year to the day, Formosa and Hong Kong became the “Dominion of South China” and were grouped together with severely limited self-government. The move was more of a concession of rhetoric than one of political freedom, however, and Chinese residents still had very little say over governance and laws. The Dominion Treaty, as it came to be known, brought the May 30 Movement to an end and restored the economy to functioning order. Unfortunately, the total 310 thousand Chinese who had left the colonies did not return.


Flag of the Dominion of South China (1926-1946). The white plum flower was removed due to its usage as a political symbol by the White Flower, and due to lack of recognition in Hong Kong.

In the 1930s, the political climate stabilized and the economy rapidly grew. The White Flower, for many the champion of the Dominion Treaty, began to actively campaign for independence. The main piece of their campaign was the “Declaration of Intent” (Chinese: 意向說明, POJ: I-hiong Soat-beng) in 1933, which declared the ultimate goal of the organization to be an independent nation called “Tai-oan” (Chinese: 大圓, POJ: Tai-oan, literally: "Big Circle"). The nation of Tai-oan then claimed sovereignty over Fort Zeelandia and the Pescadores (controlled by the Dutch), as well as British Formosa and the Yaeyama islands (controlled by Japan but previously British). The White Lotus was first tolerated, as it was a peaceful organization, but was later outlawed with the publishing of the Declaration of Intent. They continued meeting in secret, and publishing copies of the DOI, but were replaced in public spaces by the less radical Formosan Republican Party (Chinese: 共和黨, POJ: Kiong-ho-tong), also called the KHT. The KHT advocated for more freedom while staying loyal to Britain for protection. Close ties with China also led to the 1938 agreement between Britain and the Republic of China, wherein China would help defend Hong Kong or Formosa in the event of an attack.

Next time: 1941 - the Japanese invasion

Note: Taiwanese residents still use the old Min name for the island, since the old name was used unofficially by colonial administrations.

Edit: added mention of the Tai-oan People's Party, which remains popular though not at the forefront of mainstream politics (especially since they are outlawed). Also fixed the Hanzi to match the older(?) name of the island which makes more sense in terms of meaning (the name will also be important later).
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National Struggle (1941-1947)
In 1938, a deal was reached between the Republic of China and Britain. In the event of an attack, China would do its best to defend Hong Kong (Tai-oan was excluded as neither the British nor the Chinese believed China could launch a naval invasion). This was at a time of rising tensions with Japan, as the Sino-Japanese war and the Chinese Civil War were both under way. Tensions between British South China and Japan remained slight, but there were occasional disputes in the waters near Yaeyama.

Though the British had not quite expected it so soon, war began with Japan in 1941 with the naval invasion of Tai-pak. Japanese forces bombarded the city while offloading forces to occupy the city. At the same time, Hong Kong was also being invaded. The mainland (New Territories) quickly fell, and Honk Kong island shortly after. Other naval invasions of Fort Zeelandia, Phin-o, Tai-tiong and Hoa-lian were also carried out. The Dutch had already been attacked in Indonesia, so they were expecting the attacks but still had not been able to stop them.


Japanese soldiers parade through Hong Kong

In the face of invasion, Peh-hoe, the Communists and the KHT all denounce the Japanese and call for resistance (though Peh-hoe and the Communists had already denounced them for taking Yaeyama). Many native Formosans, Hokkien, and British residents of the island form resistance movements as the main defences fall. There had not been significant local garrisons in place to keep the Japanese out, so the only formidable response was in the form of guerrilla attacks. Locals were aided in this by the harsh terrain of the interior and the fact that Japanese forces only had significant control over the cities. Japan had hoped Tai-oan could be made into a loyal colony in the same way Hainan had been pacified, but they found themselves mistaken. The Hokkien had been pleased with the self-rule they were afforded, the British residents wanted their own government, and local Formosans bristled at any outsiders (in fact Formosans would continue guerrilla activities even after independence).

The most concrete form of resistance on the island was organized by the Peh-hoe, which formed the Tai-oan Liberation Army (Chinese: 大圓解放軍, POJ: "Tai-oan Kai-hong Kun") as an organized underground network. In opposition to, but also alongside, the TLA was the Tai-oan People's Liberation Army, the military wing of the Tai-oan People's Party. Though their success was very limited, the TLA played an important role in advocating for independence when the opportunity came after the war. The TLA (or TKK) also later formed the backbone of the Tai-oanese state and army. It was this organization and efficiency that caught the attention of the Americans. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) made contact with Vong Cheu-Khim, former Mayor of Tai-pak and President of the Peh-hoe, to organize US aid and potential cooperation with a US invasion.


Vong Cheu-Khim

The US had been steadily making its way towards Japan from across the Pacific through their island-hopping campaign, and cooperation with resistance in Tai-oan was seen as a way to ease the burden on American forces. The British were less enthusiastic about supporting a pro-independence group, but eventually relented and sent some officers to accompany American forces. The Battle of Formosa began on April 1st, 1945 and coincided with the invasion of Okinawa as part of Operation Iceberg. First, American forces bombarded Japanese positions in Tai-pak and landed near the city. Weapons, ammunition, and supplies were dropped far to the south of the city for TLA forces to retrieve and later to support the US troops with. The air bases near the city were destroyed by TLA saboteurs, and after only a few hours of fighting, Tai-pak was under Allied control.


American forces forces fighting on a ridge near Tai-pak.

By the end of the campaign, Phin-o, Tai-pak, Tai-tiong, and Hoa-lian had been captured by American forces. The remaining Japanese forces of Phin-o, Fort Zeelandia, and Takau surrendered along with the rest of Japan on September 2nd, 1945. Offending the British and the Dutch, the TLA accepted the Japanese surrender in Fort Zeelandia and Takau and later held peace celebrations across Tai-oan, ignoring the British requests for negotiations. The Americans, unsure of where the TLA had its loyalties, held Yaeyama instead of giving it to Tai-oanese control. Phin-o, being an island, was occupied by the US and returned to Dutch control, but Fort Zeelandia and Takau were now held by the TLA who refused to hand them over. The Peh-hoe concluded their peace celebrations with a Declaration of Independence on September 31st, 1945. The Declaration promised rights, but its wording was stern, anti-Colonialist, and anti-Communist.


President Vong and other Peh-hoe members celebrating victory over Japan.

Unfortunately, a fully peaceful transition to independence was not possible. Formosan and Communist guerrillas who had fought the Japanese were still armed, and they did not support the TLA. Making their way down from the hills of the interior, they fought against the new Tai-oan government the same way as they had fought the British and the Japanese. The new government would have none of it. They sent their well-armed and US-funded armies into the mountains, which they knew as well as the guerillas by now, and destroyed villages and towns, in what has now been labelled by many as ethnic cleansing. Villages were burned, shops looted, and in some cases women were raped. The destruction of inner Formosa was seen by many European residents as a sign of things to come. European rights had been "guaranteed" in the 1945 Declaration of Independence, but many did not want to risk living in a new post-colonial country and chose instead to leave. Many of them fled to Australia and South Africa, where pro-White policies were still popular.

In 1946, independent Tai-oan signed a deal with the Netherlands to surrender Phin-o. The deal allowed for basing rights and set the foundations of further economic cooperation between the two countries, which was all the Dutch had been getting from Fort Zeelandia before (and Tai-oan had no intention of returning them). This agreement allowed for a thawing of relations with Europe, which led to the recognition of Tai-oanese independence by Britain in December of that year. The Treaty of Hoa-lian formally dissolved British South China and re-established Hong Kong as a separate colony. The British were to be given basing rights in Tai-oan but nothing more. After the US occupation of Japan had begun, Okinawa was established as a suitable military base for the future, and considering Tai-oan's declaration against Communism, Yaeyama was finally returned (and quickly renamed Peh-tang) in late 1947.

Next: Hainan's future, and Tai-oan's involvement in the Chinese Civil War.

Edit: added references to Communists, again changed the hanzi for "tai-oan"
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Great work as usual!

Few questions to ask:

1. What about a party called the Taiwanese People's Party which was established back in 1927?

2. What happens in later stages with political ideologies that thrive under the Banner of Tai-oan?

3. Will there be any event that contributes to racial clashes with natives and other ethnicities that migrated to Tai-oan?
Great work as usual!

Few questions to ask:

1. What about a party called the Taiwanese People's Party which was established back in 1927?

2. What happens in later stages with political ideologies that thrive under the Banner of Tai-oan?

3. Will there be any event that contributes to racial clashes with natives and other ethnicities that migrated to Tai-oan?

Thank you!

1. Good point, I had been thinking about it but I forgot to write about left-wing parties :0
I will go back later and add some mentions.

2. Post-independence sees Tai-oan fall under an authoritarian regime backed by the US. Communist boogeymen from the mainland and savage Formosans are used to scare the population, much like OTL. There are other changes which I haven't fully thought through and I don't want to reveal too much. The Peh-hoe form the backbone of authoritarian right-wing government in post-independence Tai-oan. The Republican Party (KHT) is centre-right and even though they are sometimes critical of the authoritarian government, they still support it. Left-wing parties are banned until after the thaw in the 1990s. The government gets its legitimacy from "single-handedly casting off Japanese occupation" (even though they had significant US aid to do so).

3. The Peh-hoe is ultimately an ethnic nationalist party, and sees non-Hokkien speakers as enemies. Formosans are viewed with distrust and are ruthlessly repressed by the government, and Formosan languages are outright banned. Just like in OTL, an anti-Communist but also anti-Formosan campaign called the White Terror will take place (though this time it is more broad, with "White" being derived from the name "White Flower"). There will be some resistance, but it will ultimately be futile and non-organized. Also, some of the Japanese who migrated to Yaeyama will stay which will leave Peh-tang with its own distinct culture.

(I hope it's clear I don't support the treatment of Formosans in this story)
The Cold War (1947-1987)
The Cold War (1947-1987)

In 1947 and 1948, Tai-oan was relatively peaceful but plagued by many problems. Infrastructure was damaged from the war, the country had abruptly declared independence from Britain and thus had no currency, and there was little support from native Formosans and Communists. The Communists, which had already been outlawed, allied themselves with the Formosans and staged many marches and demonstrations against the authoritarian government. One of those marches became violent and ended with the shooting of a civilian on 28 February 1947. The march was subsequently crushed but the incident lived on as a rallying cry, with the number “228” comically being outlawed.


“The Terrible Inspection (Woodcut)” by Ng Eng Chhan (Huang Ron-can)

In 1949, the Chinese Civil War began again. The Republic of China carried out a fighting retreat, eventually moving the capital to Haikou on the island of Hainan. This left the People’s Republic of China in a difficult position, as the island needed to be assaulted, but they lacked the proper training for an amphibious assault. So, for the next few months the PLA trained extensively with amphibious assault and landing tactics, culminating in the Hainan Island Campaign (known today in English as “The Battle of Hainan”). The Republicans, with almost 100,000 soldiers, proved able to hold the initial attacks, but failed to stop the second assault. Intense fighting on the island followed, and the ROC command relocated to the south-eastern port of Wanning. When the surrounding territory fell, the remaining forces fled to friendly Tai-oan. The entire island was under PRC control by 2 May 1950.


Battle of Hainan (1950)

With the fall of the ROC in its entirety, the question was raised over who would take the United Nations Security Council seat as China. The USSR refused to accept the ROC, which did not control any territory and only existed as a government-in-exile, but the US refused to recognize the PRC since it was a communist state. The uneasy compromise, which was never formally agreed to, was to leave the seat empty. This compromise would stand for much longer than anticipated, and led to the UN always having a seat for China but no representative.


The United Nations Security Council in 1950

In little more than a month, the new China-less UNSC would come to vote on a vitally important issue: the North Korean invasion of South Korea. The north, a Soviet satellite state, was much stronger at the time and assumed they could defeat the south, an American satellite state, before the US could send troops. The US decided to use the new UN to stop communism in its tracks, and asked the UNSC to condemn North Korea and commit to sending a united force to fight them if they did not withdraw. On the 25th of June, the USSR vetoed the resolution on several grounds, stating that the resolution was based on US intelligence, North Korea was not invited as a sitting member, and that fighting was beyond the scope of the UN Charter. The US tried again to pass such a resolution, this time only calling for a condemnation of North Korea, but this was also vetoed. Seeing no use in appealing to the UN again, the US and Britain created the “Allied Expeditionary Force” to aid South Korea. The Korean Civil War eventually ended when Chinese forces crossed the border to drive back the AEF, and a ceasefire was signed.

Through this exercise of the permanent member veto, the USSR ensured the UN would only serve as a means of arbitration, mediation and relief. On the 31st of July, the UNSC passed Resolution 82, which coordinated relief for victims of the Korean Civil War. Cooperation between the UN, USSR, and the AEF ensured relief was distributed in both halves of the peninsula. This example is sometimes used to argue the UN has no power, and sometimes to argue it is only a tool for neutral good.

[Note: An interesting side-effect of an empty seat for China was on 13 December 1955, when the UNSC passed Resolution 106, admitting the Mongolian People’s Republic as a member. Mongolia’s independence had never been recognized by the ROC, and if the ROC had been a member of the UNSC the resolution would have been vetoed.]


Colorized photo of a Swedish Red Cross station in Korea, 1951

In Tai-oan, the reaction to the fall of Hainan was muted but grim. The government, which had already been ardently anti-communist, now worried the same fate would come to them. As a result, martial law was declared in May 1952 and was not repealed until 1987. More than 120,000 people were killed for suspected subversive activities or for disobedience, though this mostly occurred in the early part of the Cold War.

The United States became Tai-oan’s primary ally and protector against China, especially after the Korean Civil War. Though the Chinese Civil War had ended, the PRC did not recognize the independence of Tai-oan and still claimed it as part of China. The government began a program of building fortifications in case of a Chinese invasion. Former ROC soldiers, who fled to Tai-oan after the fall of Hainan, were put to work constructing the Central Cross-Island Highway. While there were no military clashes, there were a few maritime disputes between the two nations including boundaries and fishing rights.


A view from the Central Cross-Island Highway today

In the 1960s and 70s, the government maintained its authoritarian line and used American funding to build a large industrial base. The industry and technology market grew at an astounding rate, later becoming known as the Tai-oan Miracle, also saw a spike in demand for Tai-oanese products in the US. The economies of Hong Kong, Tai-oan, Japan, and Singapore have since become known as the Four Asian Tigers due to their amazing economic growth.

On September 2nd, 1980, the 35th anniversary of independence following the Japanese occupation, a pro-democracy protest in Ta-kau turned violent. The “Ta-kau Incident” reignited calls for democracy, and the government answered the call with promises of reform. President Vong Chi-kok, son of former president Vong Cheu-Khim, began to enact democratic reforms in the mid-1980s. Finally, in 1987, martial law was lifted and the first democratic elections were held.

Historical notes:
  1. IOTL the nationalist Chinese forces fled from the mainland to Hainan and Taiwan, and once Hainan fell they fled to Taiwan where they stayed until today. ITTL there is no Chinese Taiwan to flee to, so those forces and politicians flee to Tai-oan and establish a government-in-exile. Most former soldiers retire and become construction workers.
  2. IOTL the USSR was absent from the vote on North Korea due to protesting the China seat in the UNSC. The China seat was occupied by the ROC, which the USSR did not recognize. ITTL the weird China seat dispute leads to a vacant China seat and so the USSR is present for the vote. The Korean War, due to the UN response to it, is officially referred to as the "Korean Civil War" in order to stay neutral on the subject. The end result is the same, however.
  3. And of course the weird Mongolia note: in 1955 the UN voted on whether to admit Mongolia as a member nation, and the ROC vetoed. ITTL the China seat is vacant so nobody vetoes.
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I was about half-way through writing this chapter when I realized I should've just put this in alt-history rather than alt-history graphics, but oh well

It took me waaay too long to update this because I was arguing with myself over how to continue the story. I had laid out all the parts I wanted to (Dutch -> British -> Independent Min Taiwan) but didn't know what else to touch on. A friend of mine ultimately gave me the UNSC idea, and I decided a nice way to wrap up the story would be democratization pretty much like OTL Taiwan.

There is 1 more update coming, just a bit of an epilogue on modern Tai-oan.
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Democratic rule (1987-present)
Democratic rule (1987-present)

Vong Chi-kok, the President who enacted democratic reforms, won the first elections in 1987 but subsequently died in 1989. Vong was succeeded by Li Teng-hui, who was partly to blame for the Peh-hoe’s loss in the 1990 election. Li enjoyed great relations with Japan, partly due to attending Japanese-funded education in Tai-oan and moving to Japan for university. The Republican Party (KHT) returned from exile and united with their local supporters to form the broad Liberal coalition named the “Tai-oan Democratic Party” which later won the elections. The new President, Tan Chui-pi, remained committed to strong ties with the West, neutrality with China, but also pushed for reconciliation with communities which had been repressed under Peh-hoe rule. Formosans were afforded new “Aboriginal” status and given autonomy in communities where they were the majority.


Tan Chui-pi (陳水扁)

Substantive changes were also made to the nation as a whole; the national flag was altered to be more than the Peh-hoe flag. Blue and red, the colours of republicanism prominent in the British and Dutch flags, were added. Bans on the use of non-official languages were lifted. Unions were legalised. The constitution was heavily altered to reduce the role of the president and strengthen the National Assembly, while dissolving the Yuan (former Upper House of Tai-oan) to make the country Unicameral. The new government was also less hostile to Communist China, and thus was open to formal recognition of the CPC as the true government of China. The Fuzhou Agreement, signed in 1993, opened the door to official relations and agreed on formal trade regulations between the two countries. Tai-oan recognized the CPC and China revoked its long-standing claim to Tai-oan (the CPC never recognized colonial concessions made to Europe). Trade already existed between the two nations beforehand, but was conducted through back channels or through foreign companies who worked with China.


National flag adopted in 1992

As the economy thrived under the KHT, the Peh-hoe was reduced to a fringe right-wing party representing Min supremacists and anti-left groups. However, they came to form the more broad White Coalition, a loose association of right-of-centre political parties which could effectively contest elections. In response, the KHT formed the Blue Coalition, a coalition of left-leaning parties aiming to maintain current policies of neutrality with China and liberal government. In 2007, President Tan Chui-pi lost a vote of confidence after corruption allegations were leveled against him and his family. The KHT chose Toh Eng-thai to succeed him, but the government was replaced by the Green Party in the election. The Green Party was founded by organisers of the Ta-kau protests which had inspired many to push for democracy. It was relatively new, but very popular among young people. It was also part of the Blue Coalition and not the KHT, which made it a safe choice for Tai-oanese voters who loathed the recently uncovered corruption. The Green Party’s victory brought President Chhoa Eng-bun to power and began a golden age for minority rights.


Toh Eng-thai (卓榮泰)


Chhoa Eng-bun (蔡英文)
Mini-update - Takau 2020
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, what was fated to be Tai-oan's first Olympic Games was delayed. Takau 2020 was officially delayed until 2021.


The logo of the 2020 games is an abstract representation of the Tai-pak 101, one of the most enduring symbols of democratic Tai-oan. Takau 2020 will actually split some events between Ta-kau and Tai-pak.

Well, that's it folks. The timeline is finished! I hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I did.
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Is Tai-oan still under the American military umbrella, despite soothing relations with China?

Less under the umbrella and more walking on the same side of the street. Tai-oan post-reform is closer to OTL Japan than the ROC. The tension that exists between OTL mainland and island doesn't exist here since the reconciliation involved China revoking claims on the island. Trade is normalized and relations are fairly cordial, but military buildup is still very real due to perceived threat.
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Less under the umbrella and more walking on the same side of the street. Tai-oan post-reform is closer to OTL Japan than the ROC. The tension that exists between OTL mainland and island doesn't exist here since the reconciliation involved China revoking claims on the island. Trade is normalized and relations are fairly cordial, but military buildup is still very real due to perceived threat.

I can see South China Sea getting more... "fun".

Can Tai-oan be the Asian Switzerland, assuming its location between the major powers and relations between both China and America? Tai-oan seemed to have the population, industry and military potentials to take that position.
I can see South China Sea getting more... "fun".

Can Tai-oan be the Asian Switzerland, assuming its location between the major powers and relations between both China and America? Tai-oan seemed to have the population, industry and military potentials to take that position.

I like that assessment because they are one of the few people in the area with no baggage. The Korea's have each other, Japan has China, and China has their whole "world power" obsession.