Macau, Southern China

Macau or Macao, on the southeastern coast of China, west of Hong Kong. In 1987 Portuguese and Chinese negotiators reached agreement on the return of Macau to China in 1999.

Tourism is an important industry, with many visitors attracted by the gambling casinos.

Population (1989 estimate) 484,000. The population is about 95 percent Chinese.

Macau is connected by ferry to Guangzhou (Canton) and Hong Kong.

The Macau International Airport opened in December 1995.

Manufactures include textiles, footwear, firecrackers, electronic equipment, precision instruments, and handicrafts, and the city has an active fishing fleet and exports fish products. 

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First visited by Portuguese navigators in the early 16th century, Macau was established as a trading colony in 1557. It soon flourished as the principal trading port between China and the West. In 1849 the Portuguese proclaimed sovereignty of the settlement; this act was formally recognized by China in a treaty in 1887. By the end of the 19th century, with the silting of its harbor and the growth of the port of Hong Kong, Macau lost its preeminence in Chinese trade. As its trade declined, Macau gained a reputation as a smuggling and gambling center.

Its population was swelled by refugees from Communist China after 1949. In 1967 the city experienced severe pro-Communist riots. In the late 1970s Macau was given increased administrative and economic independence.

Major cities near Macau:

Guangzhou Hong Kong Fouzhou Taipei Kaohsiung - Up