ABOUT The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7000 years ago. Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, the ancestor of the island's indigenous peoples, arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan. During the age of discovery in the 16th century, Western sailors arrived in the Far East to set up colonies and conduct trade. As Taiwan was located at the conjunction of the East Asia and the ocean, as well as being where the Northeast Asian waters meet the Southeast waters, it became the focus of the Western powers that were operating in East Asian waters at the time. In the first half of the 17th Century, the Dutch established a presence at Anping (in modern-day Tainan city). They conducted missionary activities, trade and the production of various goods. They also recruited many Han Chinese immigrants from the China coast, leading to a multicultural history of Taiwan. The number of Han Chinese immigrants in Taiwan steadily increased during the short-lived Cheng (Koxinga) regime and Qing period over the next 200 years, creating a primarily Han society in Taiwan. In the late 19th century, the wave of imperialism touched the shores of Taiwan. The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern society. At the end of World War II in 1945, Taiwan was liberated from colonial rule. Since then, the island has experienced an economic miracle and introduced political democracy achievements that have attracted the world's attention. Today, Taiwan boasts an excellent infrastructure, convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services. It also has accomplished, in the face of several international energy crises and economic downturns, a remarkable record of economic development and political democracy by virtue of the perseverance and unremitting efforts of its people.