Matsu Islands

The Matsu Islands (Chinese: 馬祖列島; pinyin: Mǎzǔ Lièdǎo; Wade–Giles: Ma³-tsu³ Lieh⁴-tao³; Foochow Romanized: Mā-cū liĕk-dō̤), officially Lienchiang County (Chinese: 連江; pinyin: Liánjiāng Xiàn; Wade–Giles: Lien²-chiang¹ Hsien⁴; Foochow Romanized: Lièng-gŏng-gâing), are an archipelago of 36 islands and islets in the East China Sea governed by the Republic of China (ROC) based on Taiwan, with its location sitting alongside southeastern coast of mainland China. It is the smallest county in the free area of the Republic of China as well as one of two counties that was part of the nominal Fujian Province.

Lienchiang County
Matsu Islands, Ma-tsu, Matsoo
Top: Magan Tianhou Temple in Nangan, Bottom left: Matsu display monument in Nangan, Bottom upper left: Lin Moniang Tomb in Mazu Temple, Bottom lower right: Dongyong Lighthouse
Country Republic of China (Taiwan)
ProvinceFujian / Fukien (nominal subdivision)
RegionNorthern Fujian
SeatNangan Township (Nankan)
Divisions4 rural townships
22 rural villages
  County MagistrateLiu Cheng-ying (KMT)
  Total29.60 km2 (11.43 sq mi)
Area rank22 of 22
 (June 2016)[3]
  Rank22 of 22
  Density430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (Taiwan National Standard Time)
ISO 3166 codeTW-LIE
BirdChinese crested tern (Sterna bernsteini)
FlowerHairy bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)
TreeAustralian laurel (Pittosporum tobira)
Coastline133 km (82.6 mi)[2]
Matsu Islands
Traditional Chinese馬祖列島
Lienchiang County
Traditional Chinese連江
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese馬祖群島

The current Lienchiang County of the ROC was once part of an intact Lienchiang County of Fujian before its effective partition in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in the mainland portion of the county being controlled by the People's Republic of China (PRC), while the offshore islands of Matsu remained under ROC control. The circumstance has made the county the only former geographical unit which is now divided between the administrations of the ROC and the PRC.