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A brief history of Taiwan's Penghu County

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Penghu County is located roughly 50 kilometers away from Taiwan proper and roughly 140 kilometers from mainland China's Fujian province. The 126-square-kilometer county comprises 90 islets and islands. It is the largest outlying island-chain administered by the R.O.C. government.

Portuguese mariners in the 16th century discovered fishermen living on the island-chain and called it “Pescadores.” Experts say that the island-chain was inhabited as far as back as 4,500 years ago by fishermen from the southwestern part of Taiwan who traveled to the island-chain, using it as a temporary base of operations.

The island-chain was settled by Han Chinese immigrants between the 9th and 10th centuries, during the late Tang and early Song Dynasties. The earliest written record of the island-chain dates back to the Song Dynasty, which describes the efforts of an official to protect Chinese settlers from raiders based on the Visayan Islands, which is now a part of the Philippines.

The island-chain was ceded to the Japanese following China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War along with Taiwan proper. The R.O.C. government in turn resumed control over Penghu after the Japanese empire was defeated by the allied forces in World War II.

Penghu County is now home to over 100,000 residents, a lot of whom are a part of the island-chain's fishing industry.

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