|Status||Colony of the Portuguese Empire|
|Official languages|| Portuguese |
|Religion|| Roman Catholicism, |
Buddhism, Chinese folk religion
|Head of state|
• 1557 (first)
|King John III|
• 1996–1999 (last)
|President Jorge Sampaio|
• 1557–1558 (first)
• 1991–1999 (last)
|Vasco Rocha Vieira|
|Legislature|| Council of Macau |
|Historical era|| Age of Exploration |
Early Modern Period
Late Modern Period
• Portuguese settlement established
|1 December 1887|
|20 December 1999|
|Currency|| Macanese Pataca |
|ISO 3166 code||MO|
|Today part of||China (Macau)|
1 Chinese was made official in 1991. Cantonese was the most commonly spoken variety.
Portuguese Macau covers Macau's history from the establishment of a Portuguese settlement in 1557 to the end of Portuguese colonial rule and transfer of full sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1999. Macau was both the first and last European holding in China.
Macau's history under Portugal can be broadly divided into three distinct political periods.The first was the establishment of the Portuguese settlement in 1557 until 1849. There was a system of mixed jurisdiction; the Portuguese had jurisdiction over the Portuguese community and certain aspects of the territory's administration but had no real sovereignty. The second was the colonial period, which scholars generally place from 1849 to 1974. As Macau's importance among other territories grew within the Portuguese Empire, Portuguese sovereignty over Macau was strengthened and it became a constitutional part of Portuguese territory. Chinese sovereignty during this era was mainly nominal. Finally, the third was the transition period or post-colonial period, which occurred after the Carnation Revolution in 1974 until the handover in 1999.
Wu Zhiliang more specifically identified six periods:
The use of Macau as a commercial port dates back to 1535 during the Ming dynasty, when local authorities established a custom house, collecting 20,000 taels in annual custom duties.Sources also call this payment a rent or bribe. In 1554, the custom house was moved to Lampacao likely due to threats of piracy. After the Portuguese helped the Chinese defeat the pirates, they were allowed to settle in Macau. By 1557, they established a permanent settlement, paying an annual ground rent of 500 taels. In 1573, the Chinese built the Barrier Gate to regulate traffic and trade. The rent and boundary delimitation showed both the Portuguese subsidiary position to the Ming government and China's tacit acceptance of Macau's de facto foreign occupation. By 1583, the enclave had a municipal government with a Senate Council.
The Kingdom of Portugal declared a right of sovereignty over Macau in 1783.The 1822 constitution included Macau as an integral part of its territory. A Portuguese royal decree on 20 November 1845 declared Macau a free port. In 1846, Ferreira do Amaral was appointed governor, having been given a mandate to assert Portuguese sovereignty. He terminated the rent, closed the custom house headed by the hoppo , imposed taxes on the Chinese residents, and placed them under Portuguese law. The Senate opposed his actions, stating that establishing full control by force was an "unfair and disloyal gesture". Amaral dissolved the Senate and called them unpatriotic. He told Chinese officials that they would be received as representatives of a foreign power. Amaral's policies evoked much resentment, and he was assassinated by Chinese men on 22 August 1849. This led the Portuguese to capture the Passaleão fort beyond the Barrier Gate three days later.
On 26 March 1887, the Lisbon Protocol was signed, in which China recognised the "perpetual occupation and government of Macao" by Portugal who in turn, agreed never to surrender Macau to a third party without Chinese agreement.This was reaffirmed in the Treaty of Peking on 1 December. A growing nationalist movement in China voiced disapproval of the treaty and questioned its validity. Although the Nationalist (Kuomintang) government in China vowed to abrogate the "unequal treaties", Macau's status remained unchanged. The 1928 Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Friendship and Trade reaffirmed Portuguese administration over Macau. In 1945, after the end of extraterritorial rights in China, the Nationalists called for the liquidation of foreign control over Hong Kong and Macau, but they were too preoccupied in the civil war with the Communists to fulfil their goals.
The 12-3 incident occurred in 1966.
After the 1974 revolution in Portugal, a new decolonisation policy paved the way for Macau's retrocession to the People's Republic of China (PRC).Portugal offered to withdraw from Macau in late 1974, but China declined in favour of a later time because it sought to preserve international and local confidence in Hong Kong, which was still under British rule. In January 1975, Portugal recognised the PRC as the sole government of China. On 17 February 1976, the Portuguese parliament passed the Organic Statute of Macau, which called it a "territory under Portuguese administration". This term was also put in Portugal's 1976 constitution, replacing Macau's designation as an overseas province. Unlike previous constitutions, Macau was not included as an integral part of Portuguese territory. The 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration called Macau a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration". The granting of full sovereignty to the People's Republic of China was transferred in a ceremony on 20 December 1999.
Since 1657, the office of Captain-Major was appointed by the King of Portugal or on his behalf by the Viceroy of India to any fidalgo (nobleman) or gentleman who excelled in services to the Crown.The Captain-Major was head of the fleets and emporia from Malacca to Japan, and the official representative of Portugal to Japan and China. Since he was often away from Macau for long periods, an embryonic municipal government formed in 1560 to resolve matters. Three representatives chosen by vote held the title of eleitos (elected) and could perform administrative and judicial duties.
By 1583, the Senate Council was formed, later called the Loyal Senate (Leal Senado).It consisted of three aldermen, two judges, and one city procurator. Portuguese citizens in Macau elected six electors who would then select the senators. The most serious issues were dealt with by convening the General Council of Ecclesiastic Authorities and leading citizens to decide what measures should be taken. After several Dutch invasions, the Senate created the post of War Governor in 1615 to establish a permanent presence of a military commander. In 1623, the Viceroy created the office of Governor and Captain-General of Macau, replacing the Captain-Major's authority over the territory.
Macau was originally administered as part of Xiangshan County, Guangdong. Chinese and Portuguese officials discussed affairs in casa da câmara, or the city hall, where the Leal Senado Building was later built. In 1731, the Chinese set up an assistant magistrate (xian cheng) in Qian Shan Zhai to manage affairs in Macau. In 1743, he was later based in Mong Ha village (Wang Xia), now part of Our Lady of Fátima, Macau. In 1744, the Chinese formed the Macau Coast Military and Civilian Government headed by a subprefect (tongzhi) based in Qian Shan Zhai.
The sovereignty over Macau has been a complex issue. Professor of Sociology, Zhidong Hao, at the University of Macau said that some consider sovereignty to be "absolute" and cannot be shared, while others say it is "relative" and can be joint or shared.He stated:
The complexity of the sovereignty question in Macau suggests that the Chinese and Portuguese shared Macau's sovereignty before 1999. [...] In the colonial period of Macau, China had the lesser control in Macau, therefore the lesser sovereignty, and Portugal had more of it. On the other hand, if the Portuguese had sovereignty over Macau, even after the 1887 treaty, it was never absolute either. So sovereignty in fact had been shared between China and Portugal in one way or another, with one party having more at one time than the other.
Macau's political status was still disputed after the 1887 treaty due to its ambiguous wording. The interpretation depends on the perspective of the writer, with the Portuguese and Chinese taking different sides. Scholar Paulo Cardinal, who has been a legal advisor to the Legislative Assembly of Macau, wrote:
On an international law level of analysis, Macau has been characterized by western scholars as a territory on a lease; a union community with Portugal enshrined in and by the Chief of State; a condominium; a territory under an internationalized regime; a territory under a special situation; an autonomous territory without integration connected to a special international situation; and a dependent community subjected to a dual distribution of sovereignty powers (in other words, China held the sovereignty right but Portugal was responsible for its exercise). Without a doubt, it was an atypical situation. Since the Joint Declaration, Macau was, until 19 December 1999, an internationalized territory by international law standards, despite the absence of such a label in the treaty itself.
Liceu de Macau was a public Portuguese language school.
Macau, also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a city and special administrative region of the People's Republic of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 680,000 and an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.
Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. In 1557 it was leased to Portugal as a trading post in exchange for an annual rent of 500 tael in order to stay in Macau, it remained under Chinese sovereignty and authority until 1887, the Portuguese came to consider and administer it as a de facto colony. Following the signing of the Treaty of Nanking between China and Britain in 1842, and the signing of treaties between China and foreign powers during the 1860s, establishing the benefit of "the most favoured nation" for them, the Portuguese attempted to conclude a similar treaty in 1862, but the Chinese refused, owing to a misunderstanding over the sovereignty of Macau. In 1887 the Portuguese finally managed to secure an agreement from China that Macao was Portuguese territory. In 1999 it was handed over to China. Macau was the last extant European territory in continental Asia.
The special administrative regions (SAR) of the People's Republic of China are one type of provincial-level administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China directly under Central People's Government. As a region, they possess the highest degree of autonomy in China. Despite the relative autonomy that the Central People's Government affords special administrative regions, the National People's Congress is still able to unilaterally write laws in secret for special administrative regions that are not read publicly until they are passed.
The Macanese people are an East Asian ethnic group that originated in Macau in the 16th century, consisting of people of predominantly mixed Cantonese and Portuguese as well as Malay, Japanese, English, Sinhalese, and Indian ancestry.
The flag of Macau, officially the regional flag of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is light green with a lotus flower above the stylised Governador Nobre de Carvalho Bridge and water in white, beneath a circular arc of five golden five-pointed stars: one large star in the center of the arc with two smaller stars on each side of the large star, each with a point angled directly outward from the center of the common circle on which they lie.
The Portas do Cerco is an area in Nossa Senhora de Fátima, Macau, China. Located on the northern tip of the Macau Peninsula, it is known by the Barrier Gate separating Macau from mainland China. The Portuguese built the gate in 1849 to replace a crumbling wall that the Chinese erected during the Ming dynasty in 1573. The Chinese built a garrisoned wall to control the flow of people and goods. It was the site of the Passaleão incident, a clash between the Qing dynasty and the Kingdom of Portugal in 1849 over the death of Macau's governor Ferreira do Amaral. Led by Colonel Mesquita, Portugal won the small battle which led to the extension of Macau's border northwards. At the limit of said expansion, the Portas do Cerco was built with the inscription "A pátria honrai, que a pátria vos contempla" on the façade on its inner arch in 1849. The Barrier Gate served as a de facto boundary, but the precise limits of Macau's border has never been formally demarcated.
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong, was the formal passing of responsibility for the territory of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China at midnight on 1 July 1997. This event ended 156 years of British rule in the former colony. Hong Kong was reestablished as a special administrative region of China, and largely continues to maintain its existing economic and governing systems distinct from those of mainland China.
Chinese nationality law details the conditions in which a person holds People's Republic of China (PRC) nationality. Foreign nationals may naturalize if they are permanent residents in any part of China or they have immediate family members who are Chinese citizens. Residents of the Taiwan Area are also considered Chinese citizens, due to the PRC's extant claim over areas controlled by the Republic of China (ROC).
Concessions in China were a group of concessions that existed during the late Imperial China and the Republic of China, which were governed and occupied by foreign powers, and are frequently associated with colonialism and imperialism.
Religion in Macau is represented predominantly by Chinese folk religions and Buddhism. During the period in which the city was under Portuguese rule (1557–1999) the Catholic Church became one of the dominant faiths, but nowadays it has greatly declined.
The transfer of sovereignty of Macau from Portugal to the People's Republic of China (PRC) occurred on 20 December 1999.
Macau Post and Telecommunications is a department under the Government of Macao responsible for postal services and telecommunications regulation.
The Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau, or Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, was a treaty between Portugal and the People's Republic of China over the status of Macau. The full name of the treaty is Joint Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Portuguese Republic on the question of Macao. Signed on 26 March 1987 the Declaration established the process and conditions of the transfer of the territory from Portuguese rule to the People's Republic of China. The Joint Declaration served also as the main source of fundamental rights that were implemented in the Macau Special Administrative Region Basic Law. The process was otherwise similar to the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty by the United Kingdom in 1997.
The 12-3 incident refers to a political demonstrations and rioting against Portuguese rule in Macau that occurred on 3 December 1966. The incident, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China, occurred in direct response to a violent police crackdown against Chinese protestors demonstrating against corruption and colonialism in Macau. The incident is known as "12-3", in reference to the date of the riots. Pressured by business leaders in Macau and the mainland Chinese government, the colonial government agreed to meet the demands of the protestors and apologized for the police crackdown. Portuguese sovereignty over Macau diminished after the incident, leading to de facto Chinese control over the territory.
The Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking was a trade treaty between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Qing dynasty of China, signed on 1 December 1887. It is counted by the Chinese as among the unequal treaties in the aftermath of the Second Opium War. The treaty gave Portugal perpetual colonial rights to Macau on the condition that Portugal would cooperate in efforts to end the smuggling of opium.
Capital punishment in Macau was formally abolished in 1976 and reiterated in the Penal Code of Macau in the 1995.
The Macau Liaison Office, officially known as the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region is the representative office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China (CPG) in Macau. Its counterpart body in Mainland China is the Office of the Macau Special Administrative Region in Beijing.It is one of the three agencies of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region. The other two are the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Macao Special Administrative Region and the People's Liberation Army Macau Garrison.
Prostitution is legal in Macau unlike in mainland China, because the city is a special administrative region of the country. However, operating a brothel and procuring are both illegal in Macau, with the latter punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 8 years. Street prostitution is illegal but sex work in a massage parlor is considered to be de facto legal. The city has a large sex trade despite there being no official red-light district. In addition to street prostitution, prostitutes work in low-rent buildings, massage parlours and illegal brothels, and the casinos, nightclubs, saunas and some of the larger hotels. Most hotels, however, have suspected prostitutes removed from the premises. Many of the city's sidewalks and underpasses are littered with prostitutes' calling cards.
Adrião Acácio da Silveira Pinto served as a staff officer during Liberal Wars in the Duke of Terceira's army which landed in the Algarve and marched north to Lisbon in 1833. Later he was appointed to be a Portuguese colonial administrator who held the position of Governor of Macau between 1837 and 1843. During Opium Wars fearing Chinese reprisals he requested British community to leave Macau, British sailed off to Hong Kong on August 1839. Later he was Governor-General of Province of Angola between 1848 and 1851.
Macau independence is the proposition that supports independence of Macau from the People's Republic of China. Despite receiving little attention within Macau, the issue was raised in the Legislative Council following the Hong Kong Legislative Council oath-taking controversy. In 2017, several Chinese media outlets warned against discussion of Macau independence, fearing that speculation would lead to further action.
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