Macau Facts

Macau Facts and History


Macau, the former Portuguese colony from the 16th century, is located on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong and has been a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China since December 20, 1999.

Macau was the first European settlement in Southeast Asia. On July 15, 2005, the Portuguese-influenced historic city center was entered on the Unesco World Heritage List. It represents the largest surviving European building ensemble on Chinese soil. For over 400 years, a peaceful exchange between western and eastern culture took place here. That’s still like that. A lot of Portuguese is still spoken in the center of the city.

The city recreated an important junction of the early trade routes China represents.

Who, like most tourists, comes by ferry, will immediately recognize why the city is also called “Monte Carlo of the East”. The city’s huge casino is located directly on the harbor and presents itself to newcomers like a kind of Disneyland with its backdrops of historic buildings from all over the world.

Macau is made up of the peninsula on which the city center is located and the two islands Taipa and Coloane. These are connected to one another by means of impressive bridge structures. These are predominantly built with high-rise buildings.

Name of the country Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of ChinaMacao Special Administrative Region


Form of government limited democracy
Geographical location about 22 ° north latitude and113.5 ° east longitude
National anthem “March of the Volunteers”national anthem of China
Population around 650,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Macau Facts)
Ethnicities 95% Chinese, 5% others
Religions Mostly Buddhists, some Catholics
Languages Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese are official languages
Capital Macau
Surface 26.8 km²
Highest mountain Coloane Alto with a height of 172 m
Longest river Pearl River with a total length of about 2,200 km
Largest lake Tai Tamm Dam
National currency Pataca (MOP)
Time difference to CET + 7 h
International phone code +853
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .mo

Macau: history

Until the 19th century

Neolithic finds in the areas around Hong Kong are evidence of human settlement around 4,000 years ago. For example, the burial places in Ma Wan are mentioned here.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, approx. 200 BC During the Qin Dynasty, Hong Kong and Macau were incorporated into the Chinese Empire.

From the 2nd century AD, Chinese of the Han Dynasty settled in the region.

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 ten-month stay on Linti, he developed 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 in Macau, which quickly developed into a stopover for trade with China and Japan.

The Ming dynasty imposed the greatest restrictions on the Chinese regarding foreign activities and freedom of movement. This benefited the Portuguese as middlemen. They traded Chinese silk in exchange for silver and copper from Japan.

As a result of the lively trade, one speaks of the golden age in the years 1560 – 1640. In 1639, however, Japan closed itself off to foreigners because the Portuguese had become too aggressive with their missionary work.

Macau had been a bishopric since 1570.

In 1583 the city council, Leal Senado, was established.

The first Portuguese governor was installed in 1680; Macau was still under Chinese sovereignty and the Portuguese paid rent and taxes to China.

Macau gradually lost its importance over time. The economy suffered from the Opium War (1840-42), and Macau’s special position was put into perspective by the establishment of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong in 1841. The port also began to silt up.

The Portuguese occupied the islands of Coloane and Taipa in front of the city in 1849 and wanted to declare Macau independent from China, but the Chinese did not tolerate this, and the Portuguese governor died in fighting.

In the treaty of 1887, China and Portugal sealed the handover of the city of Macau to the Portuguese forever.

20th century until today

The Japanese occupied the New Territories and Hong Kong in 1941.

Unlike Hong Kong, Macau was not occupied by the Japanese between 1941 and 1945. During these years, Macau received numerous refugees from Hong Kong.

After World War II, Portugal declared Macau an overseas province in 1951.

In 1975, Macau was declared a territory under Portuguese administration by Portugal and China. The following year, 1976, a Macau Autonomous Constitution came into force. The Chinese still regarded the city as Chinese territory.

In 1979, Portugal and China established diplomatic relations.

After intensive negotiations, it was announced on April 13, 1987 that Macau would be handed over to the People’s Republic of China on the night of December 19-20, 1999. A special administrative zone was to be established for a period of 50 years.

The first trade agreement with the EU was signed in 1992.

The airline Air Macau was founded in 1994.

Macau Airport opened in 1995 after a 3-year construction period.

In May 1999, Dr. Edmund Ho Hau-wah became the first chief executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region, and in December (20th December), as agreed, Macau was handed over to China after more than 400 years of Portuguese domination.

Ho Hau-wah was elected to office in August 2004.

Incidentally, he visited the Federal Republic of Germany in mid-September 2004.

Macau Facts