Thài-pêng-iûⁿ se-lâm hái-piⁿ, Bí-lē-tó Tâi-ôan chhùi-chhiⁿ.
On the southwest side of the Pacific, viridescent beautiful island: Taiwan.
In 1517, the captain of a Portuguese trading ship en route to Japan wrote in his log that he had sighted “Ilha Formosa,” or the “beautiful island.”
The Dutch, one in a succession of colonial rulers over the island, labeled their map, seen below, “Het Eylant Formosa.”
The name, however casually it was given by that captain we’ll never know, had clearly stuck.
It comes as little surprise, however. Taiwan is beautiful.