Hey guys! Or how it is said in Chinese, 大家好! I actually think this translates into, hello everyone. But it pretty much means the same thing. Anyhow, for this blog entry I wanted to talk briefly about the territory of Hong Kong, as it is classically known, Fragrant Harbor, and more popularly known as Pearl of the Orient. Technically, it is called, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
When I visited, I was awestruck by the culture and the people. So when I could, I tried to talk with as many people as I could about their great city.
Being one of the worlds most popularly visited places by tourists, having one of the world’s most highly circulated forms of currency, and being a major international financial hub; this densely populated metropolis has a very rich and complicated history. I won’t go to much into detail, so I will just skim the surface of it’s character.
Back in 1842, the signing of the treaty of Nanking, which was a treaty of peace between the UK, Ireland, and the emperor of China. This not only solidified the name “Hong Kong” for the first time in its recorded history which encompassed the entire island as a whole, but it also freed up more foreign trade ports and marked the end of the first opium war. But I am getting ahead of myself.
This island has gone through many occupations dating back (from archeological proof) to 35,000 years ago. Back in 214 BC, when the very first emperor began his rule, the island was incorporated into the territory of China. Until the first recorded European visitor arrived back in 1513, there had been close to eleven different governments/factions that held rule over the island. This new foreign visitor spurred trade with Portugal, but when the mid 1500’s hit, China closed it’s sea based trades with all foreign countries. Incorporated with an evacuation order, this forced over 15,000 of the island’s population inland until around 1669, when the order was rescinded.
Then in 1839, the first Opium war began because the ruling Qing empire refused to support any opium imports with the British empire. The British won and occupied the island from 1842 to 1941.
What happened next was world war 2. From 1941 to 1945, the Japanese invasion campaign over southeastern Asia, consumed Hong Kong and devastated most of the population under many violent atrocities and cruelty. Their arrival onto the island is known to this day as, Black Christmas.
After the war, the British resumed their occupation and industrialized Hong Kong from 1945, all the way to 1997. This is when Hong Kong finally broke free from foreign rule and established itself as a sovereign republic of China. This ended the UK’s 156 year rule and surgically brought an end to the British empire, since it was the last of it’s large colonies to break away. This also ignited the country to switch administration overnight into a special administrative region, that was maintained by a chief executive as opposed to an emperor, king, or queen.
From here all the way into present day, Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China has been in constant debate and political conflict. However, the people who live there, are full of love, creativity, and hope. I highly recommend visiting this marvelous island if you can.
Hong Kong Magic
“I travel the world to learn about humanity and to make my life rich with community.”