have been living on Taiwan for thousands of years, and while it
is far from certain if the present-day aboriginals in Taiwan are
descendants of these early inhabitants, it is commonly thought that
they are related to the present day Malays of Southeast Asia. Little
is known about Taiwan's early history, as written records were not
kept at the time, and it wasn't until around the second or third
centuries A.D. that Chinese on the mainland became aware of its
existence and knew it as Yangchow.
Later on during the Tang Dynasty which reigned (618 - 907), Chinese
from the mainland began to migrate to Taiwan, and during the Ming
Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the island's precise location was pinpointed
and the name 'Taiwan' used to identify it. The official starting
point of Taiwan's history as far as the Chinese are concerned is
1430, which marks the year in which China's legendary explorer,
Zheng He, was accidentally shipwrecked on Taiwan's shores during
a storm at sea.
The Taiwanese aboriginals treated him kindly, furnishing him with
enough supplies for his return voyage to the mainland. Upon his
arrival home, Zheng He presented the emperor of China with an enthusiastic
account of his encounter with the island and its people. After this
brief contact, however, no more official contact was made with Taiwan
by the mainland Chinese for another century or so, and Taiwan became
known largely as a lair for Japanese pirates who used it to launch
raids on the Chinese coastline.