Xiamen

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Xiamen

(shyä`mŭn`) or

Amoy

(ämoi`), 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 WarOpium Wars,
1839–42 and 1856–60, two wars between China and Western countries. The first was between Great Britain and China. Early in the 19th cent., British merchants began smuggling opium into China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain.
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 and became a treaty porttreaty port,
port opened to foreign trade by a treaty. The term is usually confined to ports in those countries that formerly strongly objected to foreign trade or attempted altogether to exclude it. Thus it is used especially in reference to Japan and China.
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 in 1842. It was long a Chinese port of emigration, mainly to SE Asia. Xiamen Univ. is there.