The Taiwanese dollar is the official currency Taiwan. The history and recent political status of the Taiwan is tied up with the complicated simultaneous conflict between the Chinese Government and the Japanese over its ownership, together with its internal struggle for control over power with the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung’s revolutionary communist forces.
Meanwhile, within mainland China, the Chinese Revolution was fought throughout most of the 1930s and 40s. In 1945, the existing government remained in control in mainland China, so it was awarded sovereignty over Taiwan at the end of the War, and it soon set about expelling the Japanese population which had settled there in the intervening years of Japanese control. As Mao’s Communist forces slowly increased their influence over the territory of mainland China, the existing imperialist government of Chiang Kai-shek’s government fled to Taiwan, setting up a provisional government, retaining its previous name as the Republic of China (ROC).
When the communists finally gained complete control on mainland China, Mao declared his own government in October 1949, confusingly called the People’s Republic of China (PRC). As a result, two million refugees who maintained loyalty to Chiang’s original government fled to Taiwan, and the new “nationalist” mainlanders effectively took over the government and administration of the island. There has been an uneasy co-existence between the two antagonistic governments ever since, with neither recognising the other’s right to exist. The frosty relationship continues to this day.
The Taiwanese dollar as we know it today was therefore introduced by the Republican government in 1949, to replace the old version, which had replaced the yen at the conclusion of World War Two. A new currency was necessary to attempt to ward off the hyper-inflation on the mainland which had resulted from the continued revolutionary conflict. The original Chinese government’s gold reserves had already been purloined and transferred to the island, giving the new official currency some financial backing, but the existing currency, the yuan, continued to be legal tender, and it was this that remained most widely used by the population at large. This became a problem because inflation continued, so the old yuan, pegged to the value of silver, wildly over-valued. This meant that it was utterly impractical as an international currency, as it was virtually impossible to exchange. It was practically worthless abroad, a situation not helped by the fact that many countries refused to recognise the legitimacy of the government in exile at all.
The situation was finally resolved in 2000, when the New Taiwan dollar was introduced, completely replacing the old silver-backed yuan, which was withdrawn. At the time of writing, the New Taiwanese dollar was trading at the rate of approximately $1 = 32 TWD. Being a relatively obscure currency, used by a tiny population on a small island on the far side of the globe, it is unlikely that UK registered online bingo sites are troubled by too many Taiwanese dollar deposits. But you never know…