Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China to the north-west, Japan to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south. The island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres, with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two-thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipei is the capital and largest metropolitan area. Other major cities include Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan. With 23.7 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated states, and is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations.
Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island of Taiwan around 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, Dutch rule opened the island to mass Han immigration. After the brief Kingdom of Tungning in parts of the southern and western areas of the island, the island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, and ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895.