CHINCHEW, or CHINCHU, the name usually given in English charts to an ancient and famous port of China in the province of Fu-kien, of which the Chinese name is Ch'OøΩanchow-fu or Ts'OøΩanchow-fu. It stands in 24° 57' N., 118° 35' E. The walls have a circuit of 7 or 8 m., but embrace much vacant ground. The chief exports are tea and sugar, tobacco, china-ware, nankeens, etc. There are remains of a fine mosque, founded by the Arab traders who resorted thither. The English Presbyterian Mission has had a chapel in the city since about 1862. Beyond the northern branch of the Min (several miles from the city) there is a suburb called Loyang, approached by the most celebrated bridge in China.
Ch'OøΩanchow, owing to the obstruction of its harbour by sand banks, has been supplanted as a port by Amoy, and its trade is carried on through the port of Nganhai. It is still, however, a large and populous city. It was in the middle ages the great port of Western trade with China, and was known to the Arabs and to Europeans as Zaitn or Zayton, the name under which it appears in Abulfeda's geography and in the Mongol history of Rashddudn, as well as in Ibn Batuta, Marco Polo and other medieval travellers. Some argument has been alleged against the identity of Zayton with Ch'OøΩanchow, and in favour of its being rather Changchow (a great city 60 m. W.S.W. of Ch'OøΩanchow), or a port on the river of Changchow near Amoy. "Port of Zayton" may have embraced the great basin called Amoy Harbour, the chief part of which lies within the Fu or department of Ch'OøΩanchow; but there is hardly room for doubt that the Zayton of Marco Polo and Abulfeda was the Ch'OøΩanchow of the Chinese. Ibn Batuta informs us that a rich silk texture made here was called Zaitniya; and there can be little doubt that this is the real origin of the word "Satin," Zettani in medieval Italian, Aceytuni in Spanish.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)