Taiwan: Land and People

The heavily forested hills and mountains of central and E Taiwan reach their summit at Yushan (13,113 ft/3,997 m high); there are about 70 peaks exceeding 10,000 ft (3,048 m). This mountainous area produces some minerals, chiefly gold, silver, copper, and coal, but its main resources are forest products, including valuable hardwoods and natural camphor. Petroleum and natural gas have also been found. The broad coastal plain in the west supports most of the island's population and is the chief agricultural zone. Typhoons are common. Taiwan has a semitropical climate and rainfall ranging from moderate to heavy. In addition to Taipei, other major cities include New Taipei City, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, and Keelung.

The overwhelming majority of the people are Chinese; they generally speak the Mandarin, Fujian (Amoy), or Hakka dialects. There are also a small number of Kiaoshan (Malayan) aborigines living in the mountainous interior. Most Taiwanese practice a traditional mixture of Buddhism and Taoism; there is a small Christian minority.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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