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The Nationalists have failed to impose a Chinese national culture on the island, and the potential for a Taiwanese national culture is held in check by both the Nationalists and the People's Republic of China (PRC) as they contest the country's sovereignty. Taiwan lies between Japan and Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China.

Taiwan was ceded to Japan after China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

Communication with the mainland was cut off, and Taiwan was incorporated into the Japanese Empire as a supplier of grain and sugar and a consumer of manufactured goods.

In the early stage (1683–1787), settlers reclaimed land and established farming communities.

This period was relatively peaceful except for conflict between Han settlers and the aborigines.

Over four-fifths of the people are descendants of Han Chinese settlers who came to the island in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries from southeastern China.