/ah moy", am"oy/, n.
1. Xiamen.
2. a Fukienese dialect spoken in and around Xiamen, as well as on Taiwan and Hainan.

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Wade-Giles romanization  Hsia-men,  Pinyin  Xiamen,  
      city and port on the coast of southern Fukien sheng (province), China. Amoy is situated on the southwest coast of Hsia-men Island at the mouth of the Chiu-lung River. Known as the “garden on the sea,” it has an excellent harbour, sheltered by a number of offshore islands, the most important of which, Quemoy (Chin-men), in the mouth of the estuary, has remained a fortress in the hands of the Chinese Nationalist government on Taiwan.

      During the Sung (960–1279) and Yüan (1279–1368) dynasties, Amoy was known as Chia-shu Island and formed a part of T'ung-an county. It was notable chiefly as a lair of pirates and a centre of contraband trade. The name Hsia-men first appeared when the island was fortified as one of a series of measures taken against piracy in 1394. During the 1600s it was under the control of Cheng Ch'eng-kung, or Koxinga (1624–62), the ruler of Taiwan, at which time it was called Ssu-ming prefecture. In 1680 it was taken by the forces of the Ch'ing dynasty (1644–1911), after which it became the headquarters of the Ch'üan-chou naval defense force. Foreign trade there began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1544, but they were expelled shortly thereafter. Under Cheng Ch'eng-kung's rule, English and Dutch ships had called at Amoy; and British traders continued occasionally to visit Amoy until 1757, when trade was restricted to Canton. After the Opium War of 1839–42 between Britain and China, Amoy was one of the first five ports to be opened to foreign trade and to residence by foreigners. A foreign settlement grew up on Ku-lang Island, in the harbour. Amoy in the 19th century was preeminently a tea port, exporting teas from southeastern Fukien. The peak of this trade was reached in the 1870s but then declined, after which Amoy became the chief market and shipping port for Taiwanese tea produced by local growers who had emigrated to that island.

      In the later 19th century, Amoy was the base from which Taiwan was settled and exploited; and the port retained a close link with the island even after the Japanese conquest of Taiwan in 1895; it also was one of the chief ports of departure for Chinese emigrants settling elsewhere in Southeast Asia. With the decline of the tea trade in the early 20th century, Amoy continued to export canned fruits, canned fish, paper, sugar, and timber. From 1938 to 1945 Amoy was occupied by the Japanese.

      After 1949 considerable development took place. A causeway was built in 1956, linking the island to the mainland, and a railway line was constructed from Amoy to the border of Chekiang province, with a branch to Fu-chou. The railway was completed in 1956. Industrial development since 1949 has consisted chiefly of light industry. The canning of fruit and fish, the production of cod-liver oil, fish meal, and other fish products, and sisal processing, sugar refining, tanning, and tobacco curing are important industries. There is also a sizable ship repairing and engineering industry. In the 1980s Amoy was made a special economic zone, its harbour and its airport both expanded. The city has a university that was founded in 1921. Pop. (1990) 386,786.

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Universalium. 2010.

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