Taiwan’s origins were a topic in the news this week. First there was an article on the jade (nephrite) trade in SE Asia thousands of years ago…

Taiwan was at the centre of a one of the most extensive sea-based trade networks in the prehistoric world, new research shows.

The network, which traded in Taiwanese jade, has been uncovered after mineral analysis determined the source of jade used in two types of earring.

Lead researcher Hsiao-chun Hung, of the Australian National University in Canberra, says since the 1930s archaeologists have noticed two very specific styles of ancient jade earring common across Southeast Asia.

These are the three-pointed, so-called lingling-o earring, and the double-headed animal ear pendant.

Hung says mineral analysis of a number of these has shown most are made from Taiwanese jade.

There’s a couple of articles on that site; go visit. Also up were the results of genetic studies on the local Taiwanese population….

Eighty-five percent of Hoklo and Hakka people have Aboriginal ancestry, according to a study on the DNA of non-Aboriginal ethnic Taiwanese conducted by Mackay Memorial Hospital’s transfusion medical research director Mari Lin (林媽利).

Those 85 percent have strains from both plains and mountain Aboriginal tribes, as well as from Fujian and Guangdong and minor traces of ancestry from the Philippines, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian islands, the study found.

Only 1.5 percent of Taiwan’s population have full Aboriginal ancestry, the study found.

As an example of the nation’s ethnic diversity, Lin cited the example of Taiwan independence activist Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), whose patrilineal DNA is part Aboriginal, while his matrilineal DNA has Hakka and North Asian traces.

Lin said Hoklo and Hakka DNA was diverse. She said the tests showed that more than 90 percent of Hoklo and Hakka have at least some Vietnamese ancestry, specifically from China’s southeast coast.

Lin said genealogical analyses had shown Vietnamese are genetically more similar to Southeast Asians than northern Han.

Stuff like this always fascinates… UPDATE: Wulingren left this link to review in Taiwan Review of a new book on the Japanese period below. Looks very interesting.