Xiamen

Xiamen (shyäˈmŭnˈ) [key] or Amoy ämoiˈ, city (1994 est. pop. 458,000), S Fujian prov., China, on Xiamen island, at the mouth of the Jiulong River. It has an excellent natural harbor and is connected to the mainland by a railroad (built 1957) that crosses on a dike. Fishing, shipbuilding, food processing, and tanning are the major industries; machine tools and chemicals are also manufactured. Xiamen has been designated a special economic development city, in part because of its key position across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan. Opposite Xiamen proper, across the inner harbor, is the island of Gulangxu, the former foreign settlement and a fine residential section. Xiamen was one of the earliest seats of European commerce in China, with Portuguese (16th cent.) and Dutch (17th cent.) establishments. It was captured (1841) by the British in the Opium War and became a treaty port in 1842. It was long a Chinese port of emigration, mainly to SE Asia. Xiamen Univ. is there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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