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History of Macau

The word Macau literally means ‘door’ or ‘gateway’. To protect themselves from the onslaught of attacks from the marauding Mongols, the rulers of the Song Dynasty stationed themselves at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta. The Portuguese who were known for their trading acumen, by the 15th century has got permission to anchor their ships at this harbour and in the mid 1550’s hit the jackpot when they were allowed to set up small colonies on the islands and they made Macau their permanent colony.

Trading picked up and this was the golden age for the Portuguese in Macau. The British and the Dutch came to Macau to get a piece of the trading pie, so trade with Europe grew. The British and Dutch ventured further inland to trade in Guangzhou and started using Macau as a recreational place. After the Opium War in 1841 when Hong Kong was established, most of the traders left Macau and it become a recreational playground. In 1999 Macau became a Special Administrative Region of the People''s Republic of China, and like its neighbour Hong Kong, flourishes under the principle of "one country, two systems".

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