Hong Kong Facts

Hong Kong Facts and History


Hong Kong – China’s fragrant port

Hong Kong, Fragrant Harbor in German, is, together with Macau, a Chinese special administrative area and also a gigantic metropolitan region that is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It is located on the north side of Hong Kong Island, across from Kowloon on the Kowloon Peninsula.

The city was a British crown colony until 1997, when it fell back to the People’s Republic of China after the lease period of 99 years. Hong Kong, also known as Victoria City, is now a special administrative region of the gigantic empire and has been able to give the lie to prophecies that assumed that the city would perish when it returned to China. Rather, exactly the opposite has occurred.

The city is prospering more than ever. For example, Hong Kong has one of the world’s most booming real estate markets, with astronomical prices that even surpass London and New York. For example, a two-room apartment on Victoria’s Peak, the green mountain on Hong Kong Island, costs around HK $ 15 million. This corresponds to an estimated sum of 1.6 million euros.

Hong Kong has one of the largest ports in the world. The port of Hong Kong, for example, handled the most containers worldwide in 2005 with around 22 million TEU. The size of the containers are internationally standardized: They are 8 feet wide, 8.6 feet high and 20 or 40 feet long (TEU = Twenty Foot Equivalent Units = 20 foot (container) units). Singapore With 21.5 million TEU in 2005, it is second in the world after Hong Kong.


Information that applies to the entire country, e.g. currency, entry requirements, health issues, etc., is not shown here again. You can find them under.

Name of the country Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,Hong Kong
Form of government Limited democracy
Location 22 ° 08 ‘North to 22’ ° 35 ‘North latitude, 113’ ° 49 ‘to 114’ ° 31 ‘East longitude
National anthem “March of the Volunteers”national anthem of China
Population around 7.2 million residents (Credit: Countryaah: Hong Kong Facts)
Ethnicities 95% Chinese, 5% Others
Religions 90% with a Confucian, Taoist or Buddhist worldview10% Christians (especially Anglicans and Catholics)
Languages English, Chinese, and Cantonese are official languages.
Surface 1,099 km²
Highest mountain Tai Mo Shan with a height of 958 m
Longest river Pearl River with a length of about 2,200 km
Largest lake Tai Tamm dam
Currency Hong Kong Dollar HKD (HK $)
Difference to CET + 7 h
International phone code 00852
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
International license plate HK
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .hk

Hong Kong: history

The beginnings of Hong Kong

Neolithic finds are evidence of human settlement around 4,000 years ago. The burial places in Ma Wan should be mentioned here. Around 200 BC During the Qin Dynasty, the region of what is now Hong Kong was incorporated into the Chinese Empire. The Han Dynasty Chinese settled in the region from the 2nd century onwards. The region around Canton was an important trading center during the Han Dynasty. Salt was produced and pearls were grown here. The pearl divers belonged to the Tanka tribe who lived on boats.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, during the Song Dynasty (approx. 970-1279), large numbers of settlers arrived from the north. After the Mongols had conquered large parts of China, the Song dynasty fled to what is now Kowloon. The Song dynasty was defeated at the Battle of Yamen. The Yuan dynasty then took power in the region.

The time of colonization

In 1513 the Portuguese Jorge Alvares landed as the first European on the island of Linti in the Pearl River. He had previously been to the Moluccas in what is now Indonesia to secure and expand the sea route to China, with the aim of expanding the direct trade of porcelain with China. During his 10-month stay on Linti, he built very good relationships with the locals. In the following years the Portuguese headed for several places in the region, the island of Lampacao, the place where the Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier is buried, developed as a frequently visited place.

Piracy was already common in the region back then, the name Ilhas Ladrones, island of robbers, still refers to it today.


In 1557, with the consent of the Chinese, the Portuguese established their first permanent trading post here, Macau, which quickly developed into a stopover for trade with China and Japan. The Ming Dynasty imposed the greatest restrictions on the Chinese with regard to foreign activities and freedom of movement. This benefited the Portuguese as middlemen. They traded in Chinese silk in exchange for silver and copper from Japan. As a result of the brisk trade, one speaks of the golden age in the years 1560 to 1640. In 1639, however, Japan closed itself off to foreigners because the Portuguese had become too aggressive with their missionary work. As a result, Macau lost a lot of its importance until the 18th century.

In the meantime the British and Dutch have been able to expand their colonial power, Hong Kong itself was still a fishing village at that time. Macau was the only legal trading post for foreigners to trade with China. In canton for example, foreigners were not allowed to learn Chinese and to settle down with their wives and families.

In the 17th century, the Manchus, who invaded from the north, drove out the tribes that had settled on the shores of what is now Hong Kong. However, they were unsuccessful. The Hakka tribe from the north, who can still be recognized today by their striking costumes, filled the resulting open spaces. Around 100,000 people lived in the New Territories region towards the end of the 19th century.

When the demand for tea increased in Europe, the trade was correspondingly lucrative. Back then, the Chinese had a kind of monopoly on tea. They expected silver as a medium of exchange for the coveted tea, which was a burden on the European public treasury. The British East India Company held the opium monopoly in India, where it grew opium and from where it transported opium to China in specially equipped smuggled ships. Opium served as a medium of exchange for the coveted goods from China.

The Opium Wars and the British Occupation

The Opium Wars and the British Occupation

In 1839 the Chinese commissioner Tse-hsue successfully took action against the opium trade. The British reacted gruffly, and even took this as a reason for the First Opium War. In 1842, the Peace of Nanking was signed, which opened five ports, including Hong Kong. The natural deep sea harbor and its fame among seafarers as well as the abundant drinking water resources were the reasons for the rapid development of Hong Kong. Heung Gong in English “Fragrant Harbor” is a reference to the sandalwood mills in Aberdeen. You could smell the sandalwood from afar at sea.

On January 26, 1842, Hong Kong was officially occupied by the British and declared a British Crown Colony. A few months later, building activity began. In 1843, Hong Kong was officially declared a crown colony. At that time the city was called Victoria. The first 20 years of the colony were marked by corruption and poor administration. It wasn’t until 1862, when the first British civil servants learned Chinese, that the situation improved.

During the Second Opium War (1857-1860) the Summer Palace in Beijing was burned down, an Anglo-French administration moved into Canton, and Kowloon and Stonecuter’s Island became British. Since 1869 the islands of Hong Kong have been increasingly used as a summer resort. In 1888 the mountain railway went into operation, with which you can still reach the peak today. When it was connected to London by a deep sea cable in 1870, the city developed into a communications hub. The tram system was built as early as 1904.

1898 British lease contract

In 1898, the Beijing Convention agreed on a 99-year lease. The French “rented” Kwangchowwan, the British the New Territories, which they held until 1943.

Hong Kong in the 20th century

The Japanese occupied the New Territories in 1941 and Hong Kong Island on December 18 of that year. Under the Japanese regime, many Chinese were forced to return to their hometowns on the mainland. The civilian population in the city was temporarily interned. On August 15, 1945 the Japanese surrendered and on August 30, the British again hoisted their flag in the city.

In the post-war years, Hong Kong begins to rebuild. The population multiplied by the returning war refugees and civil war refugees. The most important challenge of this time was the residential construction, many of these high-rise buildings can still be seen today.

The city grew rapidly from the late 1940s onwards due to the Chinese fleeing communism. They brought money and labor, which was the basis of the manufacturing industry.

During this rapid period, an urban area called the “Walled City (Chinese Hak Nam)” (today’s Kowloon) was created where the triads, prostitution, illegal trade and other petty criminals operated their trade. There the people lived under the worst hygienic conditions and living conditions (cage people), the population increased and at that time had the highest population density in the world. This district had its own law (law-free zone), even the local police only ventured into it in extreme cases with a larger occupation. The demolition work took place at the end of 1995. Today there is a “Kowloon Walled City Park” with some historical artefacts and parts of buildings from that time.

On June 30, 1997, Hong Kong was officially returned to the Chinese. After the handover to China, Beijing announced that it would dissolve all democratically elected institutions. And has been a special administrative region of China ever since.

After the transfer of power, a number of legislative changes were enacted, including the regulations on freedom of assembly and association; In the future, demonstrations had to be registered seven days in advance. Protests and demonstrations ensued in the city itself.

In 2008/2009, the Asian stock exchange was not spared the economic turmoil. The middle class, local banks and the self-employed were particularly hard hit. A sustained recovery is expected for 2010.

To this day you can see many empty shops and banks in the districts that no longer exist.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and the locals have an almost naive view of “the main thing is that we can do business”.

Hong Kong Facts