The history of Macau can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu County, Guangdong Province. In Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), fishermen migrated to Macau from Guangdong and Fujian, but Macau did not develop fast as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to berth ships in Macau's harbours and to carry out trading activities. Around 1552–1553, they obtained temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by water. In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau.
St. Paul's Cathedral is the most famous attraction tourist in Macau. It was built in 1602 and destroyed by fire in 1835. Only the southern stone wall remains today.
In the following few years, more and more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trading, and they demanded powers of self-administration, though this was not achieved until the 1840s. During the Opium War (1839–42), Portugal occupied Taipa and Coloane in 1851 and 1864 respectively. In 1887, the Qing government was forced to sign the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce, declared the right of "perpetual occupation and government of Macau", and Portugal pledged to seek China's approval before transferring Macau to another country; At last, Macau officially became a Portuguese colony.
Many years after, Influenced by the Cultural Revolution in mainland China and by general dissatisfaction with the Portuguese government, a riot broke out in Macau in 1966, during which a large number of people died and were injured. The Portuguese government finally issued a formal apology. This marked the new beginning of equal treatment and recognition of Chinese identity and of de facto Chinese control of the colony, as an official apology implicitly recognized that administration of Macau continued only as tolerated by the Communist government of the Chinese mainland.
The Portuguese government made a decision to relinquish all its overseas possessions after the leftist military coup of 1974 in Lisbon. In 1976 Lisbon redefined Macau as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration" and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial, and economic autonomy. Three years later, both Portugal and China agreed to regard Macau as "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration". The Chinese and Portuguese governments commenced negotiations on the question of Macau in 1986. The two signed a Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration the next year, making Macau a special administrative region (SAR) of China. The Chinese government finally assumed formal sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999.
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