Hong Kong History

The history of Hong Kong can be traced back to the Neolithic age about 5,000 years ago. After the reunification of China in 221 BC, Qin Shihuang, the first emperor in Chinese history, established three administrative regions as Nanhai, Guilin, and Xiangjun. Hong Kong belonged to the Nanhai region, and it was at this time that Hong Kong was first under the administration of the central regime.

Hong Kong is a fine deepwater port, which was once praised as one of the three finest natural harbors in the world. As early as the 18th century, the British took a fancy to Victoria Harbor, so they forced their way into Hong Kong by means of the Opium War from the Qing Dynasty, in order to develop trade in the Far East. In 1839, the First Opium War erupted between China and Britain because that Qing Dynasty government refused to import opium from Britain. In 1841, Hong Kong Island was occupied by British forces and then formally ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the war. In the following year, the British founded a Crown Colony with the establishment of Victoria City. In 1860, after the defeat in the Second Opium War, Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter’s Island were ceded to Britain under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, the New Territories, including Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands were also ceded to Britain with a 99-year lease. After obtaining the New Territory, the area of Hong Kong expanded over ten times. From 1840 to 30 June 1997, Hong Kong was a colony of Britain.

On July 1st, 1997, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was successfully returned to the People’s Republic of China according to the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by the two countries. Being a special administrative region, Hong Kong retains its law, currency, economic system, and enjoys a high degree of autonomy in all areas except for defense and foreign affairs. At present, Hong Kong serves as a significant global financial center.

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