The first settlement on the present-day site of Tai-pei was established in the 18th century by immigrants from Fujian Province on the mainland. Population (1991 estimate) 2,717,992.
Tai-pei or Taipei, also Taibei on the Tan-shui Rive is the main administrative, commercial, manufacturing, and cultural center of the island of Taiwan.
Among the chief points of interest in the city are Buddhist shrines; Hwa Kang Museum, which has displays of folk and modern Chinese art; the National Museum of History; the National Taiwan Science Hall, which includes a planetarium; the National Palace Museum, containing Chinese art treasures dating from the 2nd millennium BC to the 20th century; and the National Taiwan Arts Center, a complex including art galleries and theaters. Tai-pei is also the site of the National Central Library, Fu-jen Catholic University (1963), National Ghengchi University (1927), National Taiwan University (1928), National Taiwan Normal University (1946), Soochow University (1900), and a number of specialized colleges.
Major products of the area include textiles, electrical and electronic equipment, wood and metal goods, chemicals, machinery, refined petroleum, and processed food.
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Taipei was founded in the early 18th century, and in the 19th century it
became an important centre for overseas trade via its outports of Chi-lung and Tan-shui.
When Taiwan was proclaimed a province of China in 1886, Taipei was made the provincial
capital.The Japanese acquired Taiwan in 1895 after the Sino-Japanese War and retained
Taipei as the capital. The island reverted to China in 1945, after Japan's defeat in World
War II. The city became the capital of the Nationalist government after the victories of
the Communists on the mainland in 1949.
Taipei expanded greatly in the decades after 1949, and in 1967 the city was declared a special municipality and given the status of a province. At that time, the city's total area was increased from about 26 square miles (67 square km) to about 105 square miles (272 square km) through the absorption of several outlying towns and villages.
Taipei and its environs are now the foremost industrial area of Taiwan. Most of the country's important textile factories are located there; other industries include the
manufacture of electronic parts, electric machinery and appliances, wires and cables, canned goods, refrigeration systems, shipbuilding (including yachts and other pleasure craft), motorcycles, rubber goods, and various handicrafts.
Beginning in the 1960s, many older, low wooden buildings in Taipei began to be replaced with high-rise apartment houses and office buildings. Because of the
population influx and the priority given to office and industrial construction, there was an acute shortage of housing in the city for some years.
Railways and roads connect Taipei with all parts of the island, and within the city there is a newly built underground rapid-transit system. Much new construction has occurred in the city centre, particularly in the area of the Presidential Building and the Nationalist Party headquarters, and broad new boulevards radiate from there to all parts of the city. The Chiang Kai-shek International Airport near Taipei is served by a number of international airlines, while the Sung-shan Domestic Airport handles domestic air traffic.
Among the many educational institutions in Taipei are the National Taiwan University (founded 1928), the National Taiwan Normal University (1946), and the National Chengchi University (1927). While Taipei is not a place of antiquity, it is a good place to view antiquities. The National Palace Museum, named after its original in Peking, houses one of the world's largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts, calligraphy,paintings, and porcelain. Among the city's other cultural sites are the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Confucian Temple, the National Museum of History, and the Botanical Garden.
One of the most popular recreation areas near Taipei is Mount Yang-ming, which is only 10 miles (16 km) from the centre of the city. Both the mountain and the town of Pei-t'ou at its base are known for their hot springs. Pi Lake has boating and water sports. There are ocean beaches not far from the city, and Tan-shui has excellent golf courses.
The city is served by railroads and highways, by the port of Chi-lung, and by an international airport at TaoyŁan.
Major cities near Taipei: