Hong Kong Island

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Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island Skyline 201108.jpg
August 2011 dusk view of Hong Kong Island as seen from North Point
Hong Kong HK Island.svg
Location within Hong Kong
Coordinates 22°15′52″N114°11′14″E / 22.26444°N 114.18722°E / 22.26444; 114.18722 Coordinates: 22°15′52″N114°11′14″E / 22.26444°N 114.18722°E / 22.26444; 114.18722
Area78.59 km2 (30.34 sq mi)
Highest elevation552 m (1,811 ft)
Highest point Victoria Peak
Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong
Population1,270,876 (2011)
Pop. density16,390 /km2 (42,450 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups88.5%, Chinese, 4% Filipino, 2.4% Indonesian, 2.4% White
Hong Kong Island
Traditional Chinese 香港島
Simplified Chinese 香港岛
Jyutping Hoeng1gong2 dou2
The panoramic night view of "Island side" as seen from "Kowloon side" - TST Hong Kong Is. From TST.png
The panoramic night view of "Island side" as seen from "Kowloon side" - TST
A view of Middle Island in the foreground and Repulse Bay in the background from the Ocean Park cable car ride (in the Southern District) Repulsebay.jpg
A view of Middle Island in the foreground and Repulse Bay in the background from the Ocean Park cable car ride (in the Southern District)
Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District Hong Kong Isnald Eastern District Buildings 200909.jpg
Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District

Hong Kong Island (Chinese :香港島; Cantonese Yale :Hēunggóng dóu) is an island in the southern part of Hong Kong. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², [1] as of 2008. The island had a population of about 3,000 inhabitants scattered in a dozen fishing villages when it was occupied by the United Kingdom in the First Opium War. In 1842, the island was formally ceded in perpetuity to the UK under the Treaty of Nanking and the City of Victoria was then established on the island by the British Force in honour of Queen Victoria.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

The Yale romanization of Cantonese was developed by Gerard P. Kok for his and Parker Po-fei Huang's textbook Speak Cantonese initially circulated in looseleaf form in 1952 but later published in 1958. Unlike the Yale romanization of Mandarin, it is still widely used in books and dictionaries, especially for foreign learners of Cantonese. It shares some similarities with Hanyu Pinyin in that unvoiced, unaspirated consonants are represented by letters traditionally used in English and most other European languages to represent voiced sounds. For example, is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, is represented as p. Students attending The Chinese University of Hong Kong's New-Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center are taught using Yale romanization.

Hong Kong East Asian city

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and commonly abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region.


The Central area on the island is the historical, political and economic centre of Hong Kong. The northern coast of the island forms the southern shore of the Victoria Harbour, which is largely responsible for the development of Hong Kong due to its deep waters favoured by large trade ships.

Central, Hong Kong central business district in Hong Kong

Central is the central business district of Hong Kong. It is located in Central and Western District, on the north shore of Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui, the southernmost point of Kowloon Peninsula. The area was the heart of Victoria City, although that name is rarely used today.

Victoria Harbour harbour between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre.

The island is home to many of the most famous sights in Hong Kong, such as "The Peak", Ocean Park, many historical sites and various large shopping centres. The mountain ranges across the island are also famous for hiking. The northern part of Hong Kong Island, together with Kowloon and Tsuen Wan New Town, forms the core urban area of Hong Kong. Their combined area is approximately 88.3 square kilometres (34.1 square miles) and their combined population (that of the northern part of the island and of Kowloon) is approximately 3,156,500, reflecting a population density of 35,700/km² (91,500/sq. mi.).

Victoria Peak mountain in Hong Kong

Victoria Peak is a hill on the western half of Hong Kong Island. It is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. With an elevation of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest hill on Hong Kong island, ranked 31 in terms of elevation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Ocean Park Hong Kong Amusement park in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong

Ocean Park Hong Kong, commonly known as Ocean Park, is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, animal theme park and amusement park situated in Wong Chuk Hang and Nam Long Shan in the Southern District of Hong Kong. It is the second largest theme park in Hong Kong, following Hong Kong Disneyland.

Hiking walking as a hobby, sport, or leisure activity

Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling, hillwalking, and fell walking. The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

The island is often referred to locally as "Hong Kong side" or "Island side". This style was formerly applied to many locations (e.g. China-side or even Kowloon Walled City-side) but is now only heard in this form and Kowloon side, suggesting the two sides of the harbour. [2] The form was once more common in Britain than now, such as Surrey-side [3] and is still seen in British placenames like Cheapside, Tyneside, and Teesside, not all of which have an obvious watercourse or boundary with actual sides.

Kowloon Walled City Former slum in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned, densely populated settlement in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories was leased to Britain by China in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. By 1990, the walled city contained 50,000 residents within its 2.6-hectare (6.4-acre) borders. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by local triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling and drug abuse.

Cheapside street in the City of London

Cheapside is a street in the City of London, the historic and modern financial centre of London, which forms part of the A40 London to Fishguard road. It links St. Martin's Le Grand with Poultry. Near its eastern end at Bank junction, where it becomes Poultry, is Mansion House, the Bank of England, and Bank station. To the west is St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's tube station and square.

Tyneside Place in England

Tyneside is a conurbation on the banks of the River Tyne in North East England which includes Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Tynemouth, Wallsend, South Shields, and Jarrow. The population at the 2011 census was 774,891.

Suburbs and localities

Hong Kong Island comprises the following suburbs/localities of Hong Kong:

Aberdeen, Hong Kong area on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Aberdeen is an area and town on southwest Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of the Southern District. While the name "Aberdeen" could be taken in a broad sense to encompass the areas of Aberdeen (town), Wong Chuk Hang, Ap Lei Chau, Tin Wan, Wah Kwai Estate and Wah Fu Estate, it is more often used to refer to the town only. According to the population census conducted in 2011, the total population of the Aberdeen area is approximately 80,000.

Admiralty, Hong Kong business district in Hong Kong

Admiralty is the eastern extension of the central business district on the Hong Kong Island of Hong Kong. It is located on the eastern end of the Central and Western District, bordered by Wan Chai to the east and Victoria Harbour to the north.

Ap Lei Chau island in Hong Kong

Ap Lei Chau or Aberdeen Island is an island of Hong Kong, located off Hong Kong Island next to Aberdeen Harbour and Aberdeen Channel. It has an area of 1.30 square kilometres (0.50 sq mi). Administratively, it is part of the Southern District. Ap Lei Chau is the 2nd-most-densely-populated island in the world.


Hong Kong Island is not part of the Islands District. Four districts of Hong Kong are located on the island:

Hong Kong Island is one of the five Legislative Council geographical constituencies.


Human settlement of the area dates back millenia, as evidenced by Neolithic artifacts discovered in Stanley, Hong Kong Island. Qin Shihuang's imperial government settled Baiyue, and today Hong Kong Island is under the jurisdiction of Panyu County in Nanhai County, to the Western Jin Dynasty. After the sixth year of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (a.d. 331 ), it belonged to Baoan County. According to the "Hong Kong Island East Region Winds", the Hong Kong Yacht Club (formerly known as Lantern Island, also known as Kellett Island) (the entrance to the Hong Kong Island at the Cross Harbour Tunnel today) has unearthed the copper coins from the Sui and Tang Dynasties to the Song Dynasty. It is estimated that at during the Sui and Tang Dynasties, the island already had commercial activity. In the first year of the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty (1573), it was the territory of Xin'an County, and remained so until it was ceded to the United Kingdom. ( source of information: https://www.amo.gov.hk/en/archaeology_work.php)

British colony

Hong Kong island became a colony of the British Empire when their forces defeated the Chinese in the First Opium War (1839-1842). The island was populated by only a few thousand people when British empire colonized it, and was thus described as being almost uninhabited.

Japanese invasion and occupation

The Second World War was a dark period for Hong Kong. In the 1930s, the British anticipated a Japanese attack on Hong Kong. As Wong Nai Chung Gap was a strategic important place of defence, large-scale defensive works were constructed there, including anti-aircraft batteries, howitzers, and machine gun nests.

The Battle of Hong Kong began on 8 December 1941. British, Canadian, Indian armies and the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Forces resisted the Japanese invasion commanded by Sakai Takashi, which began eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, the Japanese were able to take control of the Hong Kong skies on the first day of attack, outnumbering the defenders. The defenders retreated from the Gin Drinker's Line and consequently from Kowloon under heavy aerial bombardment and artillery barrage.

On 18 December, the Japanese had conquered North Point, reaching Wong Nai Chung Gap on the next day. English and Scottish forces and the Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers vigorously defended the crucial point of Wong Nai Chung Gap, and for a while successfully secured the passage between Central and the secluded southern parts of the island. Japanese casualties were about 600. However, Allied forces there were ultimately defeated by the Japanese on 23 December, and Wong Nai Chung Reservoir was lost – the only one in Hong Kong at the time. As Wan Chai Gap had also fallen that same day, the British had no choice but to surrender.

Hong Kong was surrendered on 25 December 1941, thereafter often called "Black Christmas" by locals. The Governor of Hong Kong, Mark Young, surrendered in person at the temporary Japanese headquarters, on the third floor of the Peninsula Hotel, thus beginning the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. Isogai Rensuke became the first Japanese governor of Hong Kong. Hyper-inflation and food rationing followed; and the Japanese declared Hong Kong Dollars illegal. The Japanese enforced a repatriation policy throughout the period of occupation because of the scarcity of food and the possible counter-attack of the Allies. As a result, the unemployed were deported to the Mainland, and the population of Hong Kong had dwindled from 1.6 million in 1941 to 600,000 in 1945. [4]


Hong Kong Island is the second-largest island of the territory, the largest being Lantau Island. Its area is 78.59 km2 (30.34 sq mi), including 6.98 km2 (2.69 sq mi) of land reclaimed since 1887 and some smaller scale ones since 1851. It makes up approximately 7% of the total territory. It is separated from the mainland (Kowloon Peninsula and New Territories) by Victoria Harbour.

Most of the hills across the middle of the island are included within the country parks.


The population as of 2011 is 1,270,876, which makes up approximately 19% of that of Hong Kong. Its population density is higher than for the whole of Hong Kong, ca. 18,000 per km². However, the population is heavily concentrated along the northern shore. The combined population of Central and Western, Wan Chai, and Eastern is 1,085,500, giving this urbanised part of the island a density of around 26,000 per km², or 67,000 per mi², in its approximately 41.3 km2 (15.9 sq mi).

The residents living in the Central and Western and Wanchai districts of Hong Kong island have the highest median household income of any area in Hong Kong. Affluent districts on Hong Kong Island are The Peak, Western Mid-Levels (Conduit Road/Robinson Road/Magazine Gap Road/Kotewall Road etc.), Eastern Mid-Levels (Happy Valley/Tai Hang/Jardine's Lookout), Tai Tam, Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay.

88.5% of Hong Kong Island's residents are of Chinese descent. The largest ethnic minority groups are Filipinos (4%), Indonesians (2.4%), and White people (2.4%). [5]

80.2% of Hong Kong Island's residents use Cantonese as their usual language, while 8% use English and 1.9% use Mandarin. [5]


Admiralty MTR station, the interchange station between the Tsuen Wan line, Island line and South Island line Admiralty Station 2018 01 part1.jpg
Admiralty MTR station, the interchange station between the Tsuen Wan line, Island line and South Island line

Six of the MTR rapid transit system's eleven lines service Hong Kong Island. The Island line and South Island line run exclusively on Hong Kong Island, with the Island line serving the north shore at 17 stations, and the South Island line connecting four stations on Ap Lei Chau and in Wong Chuk Hang to the north shore at Admiralty station. [6] [7] Four MTR lines – the Tsuen Wan line, the Tseung Kwan O line, the Tung Chung line and the Airport Express – connect the north shore with Kowloon and provide onward service to the New Territories; the East Rail line is to provide another cross-harbour connection upon its extension from Hung Hom station to Admiralty station in 2021. In future, the planned North Island line infrastructure project would extend both the Tung Chung line and the Tseung Kwan O line to connect them to each other, forming a route parallel to the middle section of the Island line.

Two other rail systems, Hong Kong Tramways and the Peak Tram, also run exclusively on Hong Kong Island. The former runs mostly parallel to the Island line between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan, with a loop linking Causeway Bay and Happy Valley; the latter is a funicular linking Central District to Victoria Peak.

One of the many tunnels that link Kowloon and Hong Kong island. Western Harbour Tunnel.JPG
One of the many tunnels that link Kowloon and Hong Kong island.

Hong Kong Island is connected to the Kowloon Peninsula on the mainland by two road-only tunnels (the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Western Harbour Tunnel), two MTR railway tunnels (Tsuen Wan line and Tung Chung line/Airport Express) and one combined road and MTR rail link tunnel (Eastern Harbour Tunnel, containing the Tseung Kwan O line and road traffic in separate parallel conduits). There are no bridges between the island and Kowloon, although two bridges – the Ap Lei Chau Bridge, a road bridge, and Aberdeen Channel Bridge, part of the South Island line – connect the island to Ap Lei Chau.

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Census and Statistics Department (2008), Population and Vital Events (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2009, retrieved 31 August 2009
  2. Booth, Martin. Gweilo: A memoir of a Hong Kong childhood, Bantam Books, 2005. ISBN   0-553-81672-1, pp108, 173
  3. The Professor and the Madman , Simon Winchester, Harper, ISBN   978-0-06-083978-9, p8,
  4. T. L. Tsim (Jan 1, 1989). The Other Hong Kong Report 1989. Chinese University Press. p. 391.
  5. 1 2 District Profiles, Hong Kong Census, 2011, retrieved 27 September 2013
  6. "Highways Department - Island Line". www.hyd.gov.hk. Highways Department of the Government of Hong Kong . Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  7. "Highways Department - South Island Line(East)". www.hyd.gov.hk. Highways Department of the Government of Hong Kong . Retrieved 8 January 2019.