Min-nan, the Amoy dialect. The placename means "The Gate of the Grand Mansion".
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The place was made Tong'an District (同安縣) in 282, a sub-entity of Jin'an Prefecture (晉安郡). In 1387, the Ming Empire used it as base against pirates, and was part of Quanzhou. Koxinga stationed here in 1650, naming 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 reverted after the 1912 Xinhai Revolution and made a county. The following it was reverted to Xiamen City. In 1949, Xiamen became a provincial city (省轄市), then upgraded to a vice-province-class city (副省級市), or a municipality. It was made a Special Economic Zone in 1980.
Xiamen was the port of trade first used by Europeans in 1541. It was China's main port in the 19th century for exporting tea. As a result, 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), "cumshaw" (感謝), "ketchup", "satay" originated from the Amoy dialect.
All six sub-municipal entities in Xiamen are districts, whereas other Fujianese municipalities have mixed districts and counties.
Xiamen Municipality comprises of Xiamen Island, Gulangyu Island, and a larger region along the mouth of Jiulong River on the mainland. Huli District and most of Siming District (except Gulangyu) are on Xiamen Island. The other four districts are on mainland.