Xiamen (Mandarin pronunciation: [? j?m? n]), also known as Amoy (English: /?? ? m? /), is a coastal city in southeastern China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city under Fujian provin
ce in the People's Republic of China. It looks out to the Taiwan Strait and borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south. Xiamen and the surrounding countryside are famous for being an ancestral home to overseas Chinese. It became one of China's earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. Xiamen covers an area of 1 565 km? with a total population of 2.5 million. It has been ranked as China's second 'most suitable city for living'
Earlier, the name was written as "下門" (pinyin: Xiàmén; Pe h-ōe-jī: ?-mn g; literally "lower gate"), possibly referring to its position at the mouth of the Nine Dragon River. The Zhangzhou dialect of Hokkien reads these characters as "ε -m?i", the source of the name "Amoy". The dialect is still spoken in the west and southwest of the city. Later, the authorities found "下門" too unrefined and changed the name to the modern toponym "廈門", which has the same pronunciation in Mandarin (although 廈 is usually read hā in Hokkien) and literally means "The Gate of the Grand Mansion". The name continues to be pronounced ?-mn g in Hokkien, effectively using the older name, "下門".
During the early Jin Dynasty, the place was made Tong'an District (同安縣) in 282, a sub-entity of Jin'an Prefecture (晉安郡). During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the city was known as a sustainable internationalseaport, and the Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031–1095) spent some of his youth there while his father was a local bureaucrat on the government staff. In 1387, the Ming Dynasty used the place as base against pirates, and was part of Quanzhou. Koxinga, stationed here in 1650, named it Siming Island (思明洲), or "Remembering the Ming", but the city was renamed by the Manchus in 1680 to Xiamen Subprefecture. The name "Siming" was changed back after the 1912 Xinhai Revolution and the settlement was made a county. Later it reverted to the name Xiamen City. In 1949, Xiamen became a provincial city (省辖市), then was upgraded to a vice-province-class city (副省级市), or a municipality. It was made a Special Economic Zone in 1980.
Xiamen was the port of trade first used by Europeans (mainly the Portuguese) in 1541. It was China's main port in the nineteenth century for exporting tea. As a result, Hokkien (also known as the Amoy dialect) had a major influence on how Chinese terminology was translated into English and other European languages. For example, the words "Amoy", "tea" (茶; tê),
"cumshaw" (感謝; kám-siā), and "Pekoe" (白毫; pe h-h?), kowtow (磕頭; khàu-th?u), and possibly Japan (Ji t-pún) and "ketchup" (茄汁; ki?-chap) originated from the Hokkien. During the First Opium War between Britain and China, the British captured the city in the Battle of Amoy on 26 August 1841. Xiamen was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanking (1842) at the end of the war. As a result, it was an early entry point for Protestant missions in China.