Hong Kong has had a colorful past from pirates to Trader Barons, but currently it is torn between the Mainland’s communist influence/interference and the capitalist heritage of British Rule. Here are the historical highlights worth knowing:
- Prior to the arrival of the British, Hong Kong was a small fishing community and a haven for travelers and pirates in the South China Sea.
- During the Opium Wars with China in the Nineteenth Century, Britain used the territory as a naval base. Following the end of the first Opium War, the Treaty of Nanking ceded the territory to the British in perpetuity. (Learn about the First Opium war in this 2 minute video)
- Following additional conflicts with the Chinese in 1860, Britain gained Kowloon and Stonecutters Island.
- In 1898 Britain acquired the New Territories on a 99-year lease.
- Hong Kong served as a refuge for exiles from China following the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.
- After Japan seized Manchuria in 1932 and the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1938, China turned to Britain for supplies. As a result of this relationship, relations between Britain, Hong Kong and China became warmer.
- As Japan advanced into China, hundreds of thousands of Chinese took refuge in Hong Kong.
- World War II disrupted the social and economic life of Hong Kong.
- 8 December 1941, Japanese aircraft bombed Kowloon and forced the British to surrender Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941.
- Following Japan’s surrender on 14 August 1945 Britain reclaimed the territory.
- Hong Kong was again a major trading center.
- When the Nationalist/Communist Civil War was won by the Communists, hundreds of thousands of people again fled to Hong Kong.
- The colony was forced to develop internal industries taking advantage of local and regional resources in order to continue to grow.
- The constant influx from China of capital and manpower led to the establishment of light manufacturing throughout the territory by the 1950s and 1960s.
- During the 1980s Hong Kong started to work with China on a series of joint projects that brought the two closer together.
- In 1984, Britain and China reached an agreement that Hong Kong would revert back to Chinese authority in 1997.
- The commercial, social and legal life of Hong Kong will remain as it is until 2047 at which time China will be able to exercise its authority.
OK, history lesson done!
We stayed at Hotel Panorama by Rhombus, on the mainland. As you have learned from the first post in this 20 part series; this is the holiday during which I will be turning 40. Hong Kong was my chosen destination and this is the hotel. Naturally we paid more to secure an Executive Club Harbour-view Suite. The official excuse was to have the iconic Victoria Harbour view, but secretly it was to have access to the Executive Lounge that serves floors 31 to 37 (exclusively). The room was over-the-top, but a real treat.
(PF colluded again and the lady at the end of the video was actually delivering the cute birthday bite below!)
Continue reading China – part 16 (of 20).