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Hokkien speakers form the largest group of overseas Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.
Southern Fujian is home to three principal Minnan Proper (Hokkien) dialects: Chinchew, Amoy, Chiangchew, originating from the cities of Quanzhou, Xiamen and Zhangzhou(respectively).
Both Amoy and most Taiwanese are based on a mixture of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects, while the rest of the Hokkien dialects spoken in South East Asia are either derived from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, or based on a mixture of both dialects.
During the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China, there was constant warfare occurring in the Central Plain of China.
It has played an influential role in history, especially in the relations of Western nations with China, and was one of the most frequently learnt dialect of Quanzhang variety by Westerners during the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
In Chinese linguistics, these dialects are known by their classification under the Quanzhang division (Chinese: ) of Min Nan, which comes from the first characters of the two main Hokkien urban centers of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou.
Hokkien originated in the southern area of Fujian province, an important center for trade and migration, and has since become one of the most common Chinese varieties overseas.
Many of the Minnan dialects of this region are highly similar to Xiamen dialect(Amoy) and Taiwanese Hokkien with the exception of foreign loanwords.
Hokkien is reportedly the native language of up to 80% of the Chinese people in the Philippines, among which is known locally as Lan-nang or Lán-lâng-oē ("Our people’s language").
The Jìn court fled from the north to the south, causing large numbers of northern Han Chinese to move into Fujian region.