Kinmen Island, also known as Quemoy, is a small island with a land area of approximately 134 square kilometers and a population of approximately 45,000. It is located in the Xiamen (Amoy) bay off the southeast coast of mainland China, but has been a part of Taiwan, Republic of China (R.O.C.), since 1949. Kinmen is the largest island in a small archipelago including Liehyu (also known as Little Kinmen Isle with a population of 3,000), Tatan, Erhtan, and eight other islets. The total area of the twelve islands is about 150 square kilometers. The island is mostly composed of granite gneiss, identical to that found on the mainland coast. The island terrain is basically flat, with a few low hills. The highest point of the island is Mt. Taiwu at 253 meters. The climate is subtropical, with an average annual temperature of about 21˘X Celsius and a relatively dry climate. After intensive reforestation and creation of man-made lakes over the past 40 years, the islandˇ¦s natural environment has been greatly enhanced. Lakes and woods have become sanctuaries for migratory birds.
Site map of Kinmen National Park and the Islands
Kinmen has a history that derives largely from war. It had been a strategic site since the 12th Century, either for guarding the mainland coast or as a defensive outpost to counter offensives from the mainland. Walls and moats were first constructed on the island as a defense against pirates in the 14th Century. This earned Kinmen the name by which it is still known today; literally "Golden Gate," the name actually translates, roughly, as the "Impregnable Gateway." The Island was also a home base during a mass emigration wave that sent islanders to various parts of Southeast Asia from the mid-19th to the early 20th Century. In this historical context, the cultural landscape of the island can be seen as a patchwork of defense construction relics, historical ruins, and styles of houses - mixing old Chinese architecture adopted from the coastal provinces with colonial styles from Southeast Asia, along with many other local elements. With this background, it a place well worth visiting.
For more information: http://www.kmnp.gov.tw/english/index.htm
Location of Taiwan and Kinmen Island(Quemoy)
ISLANDS OF THE WORLD VIII
Changing Islands- Changing Worlds