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Macau Travel Guide

Macau History

The history of Macau starts the 3rd century BC, during the Qin dynasty when the region known as Haojing was part of the Panyu County. The population grows due to the migration caused by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Decades later, in the Ming dynasty, there was another mass migration, this time by fishermen of current Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

But the development of Macau occurred when the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. Since 1535, the Portuguese traders obtained gradually more rights over the peninsula in exchange for clearing the sea of pirates.
Macau History
Soon, an important number of Portuguese settled in Macau and the port prospered.

During the 17th century the Dutch tried to conquer the city several times. After the end of the Opium War (1839–42), Portugal took Taipa and Coloane islands; and in 1887, the Qing government was obligated to cede perpetually Macau to Portugal, turning the city officially a Portuguese colony.

Just in 1928 the Kuomintang government claimed Portugal the abrogating of the Treaty of 1887. In 1949 the People's Republic of China government declared the Treaty as invalid and imposed by foreigners.

In 1976, Macau was redefined as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration” by Portugal which granted it a large measure of administrative and economic autonomy. In 1987, after years of negotiations, an international treaty declared Macau as a Special Administrative Region of China. The Chinese government assumed sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999; ending over 4 centuries of Portuguese administration.

Macau was the first and last European colony in the Far East. For this reason the city has more visible colonial history, especially in the old city, which still maintain characteristic of Europe culture. There are also some Portuguese people who continue preserving the customs of their ancestors, but most of the inhabitants is now Chinese.

Macau has an elevated degree of autonomy in several aspects (except foreign and defense affairs). As the Hong Kong SAR, Macau counts with its own government, passports, visas, postal system and currency.


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