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  • Other Names: Amoy
  • Chinese: 廈門 (Xiàmén)

Xiàmén, also known as Amoy (from the Hokkien), is a major port city in southern China.

It became one of the chief ports in the region for legal trade with Southeast Asia, after bans on that trade were lifted in 1567. Xiamen then grew to replace Quanzhou as the chief port city and financial center in the region in the 17th century.[1]

In the first decades of the 17th century, pirates such as Zheng Zhilong made their base in or near Xiamen's harbor. His son Zheng Chenggong ran ten trading companies in the city, contributing to its growth into a major international entrepot.[2]

Following the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644, one claimant to the Ming succession made his court at Xiamen briefly, seeking to continue or revive the dynasty; he later moved up the coast to Zhoushan Island (near modern-day Shanghai), before being forced to flee by ship.[3]


  1. Craig Lockard, “‘The Sea Common to All’: Maritime Frontiers, Port Cities, and Chinese Traders in the Southeast Asian Age of Commerce, Ca. 1400–1750.” Journal of World History 21, no. 2 (2010): 223-225.
  2. Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China, Second Edition, W.W. Norton & Co. (1999), 55.
  3. Spence, 35-37.