The island was formerly known as "South Island", "Big Island", and by other names. During the Japanese era, the island came to be administered as Taisho Village (大嶼庄), Mōan Subprefecture (望安支廳), Hōko Prefecture.
After handover of Taiwan to the Kuomintang, the island was renamed to "Qimei" in 1949 to commemorate a historical story (七美人塚) from the Ming Dynasty, in which seven women committed suicide when Japanese pirates raided the island. The name also connotes seven beautiful things as the island's tourist attractions: the scenery, the seawater, local products, people's hearts, the geology, the architecture, and the history.
Qimei is 6.99 km2 in area with a coastline of 14.4 kilometers and with about 3,754 people. Composed mostly of basalt formations, Qimei ranks the fifth largest island in the Penghu Archipelago. In terms of its governing area, Qimen township is the smallest township in Penghu County.