BRIEF HISTORY OF HONG KONG
By Richard Moncure
Key Events and Dates in Hong Kong's History--From Founding of Country Up To Today
- 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.
- 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 distupted the social and economic life of Hong Kong.
- On December 8, 1941, Japanese aircraft bombed Kowloon and Japanese troops forced the British to surrender Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941.
- Following Japan's surrender on August 14, 1945 Britain recaimed 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 resuurces 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.
Conclusions on Hong Kong's History
Hong Kong has had a colorful past from pirates to Trader Barons and yet it is the future that looks to be the most interesting. Will Hong Kong be able to continue its growth onder the new management of the Communist ownership. Will the population remain and take a chance on the good intentions of the mainland government. All of this remains to be seen as Hong Kong approaches the 1997 deadline.
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