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Taiwan's history can be traced back to at least 7000 years ago. Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesian ancestors of the Aboriginals arrived in Taiwan in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.

During the Age of Discovery of 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 East Asia and the oceans, as well as being where the Northeast Asian waters meet the Southeast waters, it became the focus of Asian and 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 (modern day Tainan). There they conducted missionary activities, trade and the production of various goods. They also recruited many Han settlers from the coast of China, ushering in the multicultural history of Taiwan.

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