Taiwan a beautiful island which was indeed so named (Ilha Formosa) by Portuguese sailors on their way to Japan early in the 16th century. Although there have been human inhabitants since 10,000 years or more ago, the history of the island can be said to have begun in the 17th century, since when it has been governed or ruled by a whole range of foreign powers or Chinese authorities. A huge change occurred in 1949, when the Chinese government forces, defeated by communists on the mainland, retreated to Taiwan. This brought in hundreds of thousands of incomers, including at least some from all the various regions of mainland China, bringing with them their own cuisines. It is commonly said that a better range of these cuisines may be enjoyed in Taipei, capital of Taiwan, than anywhere else.