Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC; Chinese: 中華民國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó), is a sovereign state in East Asia. The Republic of China, originally based in mainland China, now governs the island of Taiwan, which makes up over 99% of its territory,[f] 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 seat of the central government. New Taipei, encompassing the metropolitan area surrounding Taipei proper, is the most populous city.
The island of Taiwan (formerly known as "Formosa") was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines until the Dutch and Spanish settlement during the Age of Discovery in the 17th century, when Han Chinese began immigrating to the island. In 1662, the pro-Ming loyalist Koxinga expelled the Dutch and established the first Han Chinese polity on the island, the Kingdom of Tungning. The Qing Dynasty of China later defeated the kingdom and annexed Taiwan. By the time Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, the majority of Taiwan's inhabitants were Han Chinese either by ancestry or by assimilation. The Republic of China (ROC) was established in China in 1912.
The total area of the current jurisdiction of the Republic of China is 36,193 km2 (13,974 sq mi), making it slightly smaller than the combined area of Maryland and Delaware.
The island of Taiwan lies some 180 kilometres (110 mi) off the southeastern coast of mainland China, which lies across the Taiwan Strait, and has an area of 35,883 km2 (13,855 sq mi). The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait directly to the south, and the South China Sea to the southwest. All are arms of the Pacific Ocean. The shape of the main island of Taiwan is similar to a sweet potato seen in a south-to-north direction, and therefore, Taiwanese (especially Min Nan speakers) often call themselves "children of the Sweet Potato."
Taiwan lies on the Tropic of Cancer, and its climate is marine tropical. The northern part of the island has a rainy season that lasts from January through late March during the northeast monsoon, and experiences meiyu in May. The entire island experiences hot, humid weather from June through September. The middle and southern parts of the island do not have an extended monsoon season during the winter months. Typhoons are common between July and October.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of China is the cabinet-level governing body of the transportation network in Taiwan. Taiwan has an extensive highway network, classified into five levels: National highways, provincial highways, county routes, township routes, and special routes, with the first four being common. Taiwan also has an extensive bus network, which are mostly run by private bus companies. There are two rail systems in Taiwan: Taiwan Railway Administration and Taiwan High Speed Rail. The Taipei Metro and the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit serve the Taipei metropolitan area and Kaohsiung, respectively. The Taoyuan Metro and Taichung Metro are currently under construction. Major airports include Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport, and Taichung Airport. The four international seaports are the Port of Keelung, the Port of Kaohsiung, the Port of Taichung, and the Port of Hualien.