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Situated on the South coast of China, the territory of Macau currently houses a numerous population which since the beginning the 80s has not ceased to increase as a result of the intense immigration arriving from the Peoples Republic of China. This influx of new residents brings people to the cities in search of better working opportunities and a brighter future for them and their families, many of whom wait patiently in their remote villages in China. The current population of Macau is estimated at around 450,000 inhabitants, predominantly Chinese (93%) followed by the Portuguese community (5%) and other residents of different origins like Filipinos and Thais.
This universal aspect of the city of Macau has been ingrained
during the course of four and a half centuries of peaceful cohabitation from a population
with a vocation for commercial trade in this strategic port at the mouth of the Pearl
River which gives access to the prosperous city of Canton, generating indelible
characteristics which until today still exist in the socio-cultural network of this
society, the visible testimony is through the citys urban mesh and architecture of
its many buildings.
Macau Travel Guide > History
According to recent archeological findings, the earliest settlers dated back couple thousand years ago. The Portuguese first landed at the mouth of the Pearl River near Macau in 1513. In 1557, the Portuguese traders signed an agreement with the Guangzhou officials to lease the Macau Peninsula. Since Chinese were not allowed to travel aboard at the time, Macau became a major trading center in Southeast Asia; until the British took control over Hong Kong in the mid-1800. After the decline of being a major trade post, Macau's economy didn't revive until the legalization of gambling.
In the early 1550s the
Portuguese reached Ou Mun, which the locals also called A Ma Gao, "place of
A Ma", in honor of the Goddess of Seafarers, whose temple stood at the
entrance to the sheltered Inner Harbour. The Portuguese adopted the name,
which gradually changes into the name Macau, and with the permission of
Guangdong's mandarins, established a city that within a short time had
become a major entrepot for trade between China, Japan, India and Europe.
age in Asia faded as rivals like the Dutch and British took over their
trade. However the Chinese chose to continue to do business through the
Portuguese in Macau, so for over a century the British East India Company
and others set up shop here in rented houses like the elegant Casa Garden.
As Europe's trade with China grew, the European merchants spent part of the
year in Guangzhou, buying tea and Chinese luxuries at the bi-annual fairs,
using Macau as a recreational retreat.
A less mentioned part of Macau history is the
"12.3 Instance", in which Chinese fought for ethnicity pride and equal right and
treatment. During 1966 to 1967, the Taipa residents applied 24 times in a 5-month period
for a license to set up a private school for the Taipa children. After the continuing
delay, the residents decided to set up the school while trying to get approval from the
Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since December 20, 1999, and, like Hong Kong, benefits from the principle of "one country, two systems". The tiny SAR is growing in size - with more buildings on reclaimed land - and in the number and diversity of its attractions. The greatest of these continues to be Macau's unique society, with communities from the East and West complementing each other, and the many people who come to visit.