تم إعلان الجمهورية من قبل بعض موظفي حكومة تشينغ السابقة بأمل منع حصول اليابان على السيطرة في تايوان، حيث فرَّ معظم هؤلاء من جزيرة تايوان مع دخول القوات اليابانية. في 24 مايو1895 تم توزيع نسخة باللغة الإنكليزية من إعلان الجمهورية على السفارات في الجزيرة، تلاه حفل رسمي في اليوم التالي.
على الرغم من تشابه الأسماء يجب عدم الخلط بين هذه الجمهورية وجمهورية تايوان (التي تعتبر جزءاً من حركة استقلال تايوان).
^Nitobe، Inazo (1912). "Japan as a Colonizer". The Journal of Race Development. ج. 2 ع. 4: 351. doi:10.2307/29737924. There were at that time some Imperial Chinese soldiers still remaining on the island, but on hearing of its cession to Japan they were required to disarm and leave the country. Many did so, but a few remained to oppose our army; and then also there were a few patriots who did not feel ready to accept our terms, not ready to accept an alien rule—and these either left the island or took up arms against us. Since there was now no government, some of the so-called patriots proclaimed a republic, one of the very few republics, (I say one of the very few because this is not the only case —we had a similar instance in Japan), that were started in Asia. Mr. Tang was elected president and the republic of Formosa lasted three or four months, leaving behind nothing but some post-stamps valuable for collectors. At this time the professional brigands took this opportunity of general disturbance to ply their trade. I dare say the peaceful inhabitants of the island suffered more from the hands of their own countrymen, that is, largely from Chinese troops and brigands, than they did from us. Evidence of this lies in the fact that several towns received our army with open arms as a deliverer from robbery and slaughter. Though the island was pacified no one knew what was to happen next. We did not understand the character of the people. Very few Japanese could speak Formosan and fewer Formosans could speak Japanese. There was naturally mutual distrust and suspicion. The bandits abounded everywhere. Under these conditions military rule was the only form of government that could be adopted until better assurance could be obtained of the disposition of the people. For this purpose it was calculated that some ten million yen, I may say five million dollars, was yearly needed for the pacification and government of Formosa.