Taipei ( 台北 ; literally "Northern Taiwan") is the largest city in Taiwan and has served as the de facto capital ( provisional capital ) of the Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan") since the Chinese Civil War in 1949. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of the country.
Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Danshui River , and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung , its port on the Pacific Ocean. Another coastal city, Danshui , is about 20 km northwest at the river's mouth on the Taiwan Strait . It lies in the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung ( 基隆河 ) and Xindian ( 新店溪 ) Rivers, which join to form the Danshui River along the city's western border. 
The city proper (Taipei City) is home to an estimated 2,619,920 people (March 2009). Taipei City, Taipei County , and Keelung City together form the Taipei metropolitan area with a population of 6,752,826 (March 2009).  However, they are administered under different local government bodies. "Taipei" sometimes refers to the whole metropolitan area, while "Taipei City" refers to the city proper.
Considered to be an alpha world city ,Taipei is part of a major industrial area. Railways , high speed rail , highways , airports, and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island. The city is served by Songshan Airport (domestic and cross-strait flights) and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (international and cross-strait flights).
Taipei was founded in the early 18th century and became an important center for overseas trade in the 19th century. The Japanese acquired Taiwan in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War and made Taipei the island's capital.The Republic of China took over the island in 1945 after Japan's defeat in World War II. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek declared Taipei the provisional capital of the Republic of China in December 1949 after the Kuomintang (KMT) government was defeated by the Communists who took over most of Mainland China during the Chinese Civil War