Kinmen, alternatively known as Quemoy, is a group of islands governed as a county by the Republic of China (Taiwan), off the south eastern coast of mainland China. It lies roughly 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the city of Xiamen in Fujian, from which it is separated by Xiamen Bay. Kinmen is located 187 km (116 mi) west from the shoreline of the island of Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait.
Kinmen (金門) means 'golden gate'. The name was first recorded in 1387 when the Hongwu Emperor appointed Zhou Dexing to administer the island and protect it from pirate attacks.
The spelling "Kinmen" is a postal romanization. This transcription system is a variation of Nanking Syllabary, a system developed by Herbert Giles in 1892.
It was adopted by the Chinese Imperial Post, part of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service led by Irishman Robert Hart. It is based on pronunciation in the Southern Mandarin, or Jianghuai, dialect. This dialect is widely spoken in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, including the city of Nanjing. The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses "Kinmen,"while the United States Board on Geographic Names gives "Kinmen Island."