Before 1513

Macau peninsula was very small fisherman village until the arrival of Portuguese in 1513

1513

Jorge Alvares Cabral arrives to China delta pearl region

1516

Portuguese traders used Macau as staging port

1540s

Portuguese helped China in eliminating coastal pirates

1557

China ceded Macau to Portugal in recognition of their help in defeating pirates

1557

Portuguese opened first trading post in Asia in Macau

1560s

Jesuits arrived in Macau, began constructing churches, including Cathedral of Saint Paul and schools

1662

Battle of Macau: Dutch attacked Macau, but were defeated

1841

Opium war:British occupied Hong Kong, surpassed Macau as financial hub of southern China, Macau's economy nearly collapsed

1844

Portuguese legalized gaming in Macau

1845

Portugal declared Macau to be a free port, expelled Chinese soldiers and officials, levied taxes on Chinese residents

1848 - 1870s

Macau served as transit port for trade of slave laborers from southern China who were shipped to Cuba and South American countries

1887

Chinese government accepted perpetual sovereignty of Portugal over Macau in Treaty of Peking

1939 - 1945

During World War II, Macau was only neutral port in South China, became refugee center

1954

Macau Grand Prix was established

1974

Following Carnation Revolution in Portugal , Lisbon removed all troops, offered colony back to China

1979

Portugal and People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations, Macau was acknowledged as "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration"

1999

Transfer of Sovereignty took place, People's Republic of China assumed full sovereignty

2001

American firms built new gambling facilities, half of government revenue was from gaming

2006

Macau overtook Las Vegas as world's strongest casino market

MacauFew places have as unique and colorful a history as Macau. Surrounded by the azure waters of the Pearl River Delta in Southern China, the peninsula Macau occupies was once home to a small Chinese fishing village. Portuguese merchants arrived in 1513, searching for a trading post from which they could access the wealth and wonders of Imperial China. The name they gave the place derives from ‘A-Ma-Gau’, Chinese for ‘Temple of A-Ma’, patron goddess of sailors and fishermen.

Despite this early encounter with the peninsula, the Portuguese did not settle Macau until 1557, when they arranged lease of the land from the Imperial Chinese court for the sum of twenty kilograms of silver per annum.

MacauOver the course of the next three centuries, Macau was transformed from a sparsely populated, jungled peninsula to a thriving colonial port. The cultural fusion of this golden age of trade can still be seen in the architecture of the city’s old centre, where illustrious European colonnades sit smoothly alongside classical Chinese pagodas. This unique synthesis of East and West has also influenced the unique food, art, and culture of the peninsula.

Although the Chinese empire engaged in trading relations with other European empires from 1685 onward, Macau remained unique as a foreign colonial settlement in mighty China. It was only here that the high fashions of post-Renaissance Europe, the influences of Portuguese colonies in Africa, the Americas and India and traditional Chinese cultures melded so effectively.

The Chinese ceded Hong-Kong to the British Empire in 1842, compromising yet further the position of Macau. Merchant vessels increasingly opted for the deep-water docks of Victoria Harbour to the East, transferring profits from the Portuguese Empire to the British. Shortly after this momentous upheaval in regional politics, Macau declared independence from China. Whilst this was negated by the Chinese, an arrangement was finally arrived at which resulted in the peninsula being a true Portuguese colony, as long as it was not traded or sold to any other imperial power.

MacauPortuguese ownership was maintained for the better part of 150 years, ensuring the Portuguese a foothold in Asia and contributing to the peninsula’s unique cultural and historical trajectory. During the second world war, Macau was occupied and overseen by the Japanese, despite Portuguese neutrality. This resulted in a series of bombing attacks from American forces, for which the Portuguese were later compensated.

In 1999, Macau was handed back to the Chinese, on the condition that it would remain independent in fiscal, political and legal matters for a further half century. Since this handover, Macau has flourished as a unique and prosperous place, drawing visitors from around the world and boasting some of the highest standards of living, globally.

MacauOne need only walk through the historic centre of Macau to appreciate the unique history of the place: classical European colonial architecture sits alongside traditional Chinese temples; street food takes as much influence from mainland Chinese cuisine as it does from Portuguese, Indian, American or African tastes. The Portuguese Empire’s other colonies across the world are also evident in their influences – in particular Goa, on the western coast of India.

Macau is a truly unique place to visit and experience; with world-class entertainment venues, a fascinating history and unparalleled location, the gateway between East and West is a must see.