Founded in the 18th cent. by immigrants from Fujian prov. on the China mainland, Taipei began its modern development only after 1885, when it replaced Tainan as the capital of Taiwan prov. It continued to serve as a political center and underwent considerable enlargement and modernization under Japanese rule (1895–1945). In 1949, when the Communists forced the government of Chiang Kai-shek to flee from the mainland of China, Taipei became the headquarters of the Nationalists. In 1967 the city became a special municipality with a status equal to that of a province. Taipei suffered minor damage in the 1999 Taiwan earthquake.
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