QUESTION: Until 1949, Taiwan was known by what name?
A) Hong Kong
B) The Republic of China
C) The People's Republic of China
American Treasure Tour blog fans have been asking why we have not spent any time discussing the international flags displayed in our Toy Box for a long time. You definitely ask the tough questions, and we are happy to return to this subject for you today. Considering the importance of China to world history, lots of people don't know much about the third-largest country in the world (behind Russia and Canada) except that they make much of what we buy in the United States. We won't try to tell you all there is to know here (don't worry!) but after the end of World War II, after the Japanese occupying army was forced to leave mainland China, the country was a mess. The government in charge under Chiang Kai-Shek did not have control, while Mao Zedong's communists swept through, succeeding in taking over. Chiang was forced to leave, and he found refuge in Taiwan, an island 110 miles offshore from the mainland. Although both countries have their own governments, mainland China does not recognize Taiwan as an individual country. Taiwan does not consider itself part of the mainland. Bottom line, it's a bit of a mess.
Of course, each China has its own flag, and Taiwan's flag hangs in a back corner of the Toy Box. Like all flags, this one has symbolism to it. The red field represents the "wholly red earth," while the blue is the sky and the white the sun. The sun has twelve rays coming out of it, symbolic for the twelve months of the year. It was originally designed by Lu Haodong, a martyr of the Republican revolution back in 1895, and modified by Chinese leader Sun Yat-sen eleven years later. It has been flying above Taiwan as its official flag since 1924. Now, we can only guess that your biggest question might be why we have the flag of Taiwan displayed at the American Treasure Tour at all. If you think it is because the land upon which the United Nations is located is on the American island of Manhattan in New York, you're probably wrong. Taiwan lost its membership to the UN in 1979 when mainland China took over its seat. If you think it's because we at the American Treasure Tour respect the people of all nations, you might be a little closer. But, if you're looking for a definitive reason, we hope you find it. Then you can tell us what it is.
ANSWER: B) The Republic of China. Taiwan and Penghu were the primary islands incorporated as the independent Republic of China.