China is one of the oldest civilizations on earth, extending back 4,000 years in history. Until the 19th century China was also one of the most advanced cultures in the world, but as dynasties emerged and declined China mostly missed the industrial revolution and a decline in its society’s standing began to take its toll. By 1949 a bloody civil war came to its end, with two new China’s emerging where one used to be.
The People’s Republic of China was established in 1949 and is found on the mainland of China; and the Republic of China, which originally was established in 1912, but was forced to find its home confined to the island of Taiwan, and this country is often referred to as Taiwan.
During the 1950s Taiwan developed a successful technology-oriented successful economy, while the mainland was mired in the Great Communist Experiment under the leadership of Mao Zedong. After the civil war the population of China began to grow rapidly, while at the same time there were several disruptive socioeconomic movements, beginning with the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. The Great Chinese Famine, largely a result of the impracticalities of the communist endeavor, resulted in the deaths of between 30 and 36 million people.