|Pieces of History
History of Hong Kong
Before the British arrived there, Hong Kong was a small fishing community and a haven for travellers and pirates in the South China Sea.
The British used the territory as a naval base during their Opium Wars with China. After the first of such wars, the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain. Sir Henry Pottinger was the territory's first governor. Following other fights and wars with the Chinese, Britain was given Kowloon and Stonecutter's Island in 1860. Lastly, the British aquired the New territories in 1898 on a 99-year contract. The territory grew as more people settled there with time. In the early 1900's. Hong Kong was a refuge for exiles from China, following the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.
Following Japan's seizure of Manchuria in 1932, the Sino-Japanese war broke out. As Japan headed towards China, thousand of Chinese people came to Hong Kong, the number of refugees growing rapidly. That brought Hong Kong's population to about 1.6 million people at the start of World War II. World War II disrupted all activity in Hong Kong. On December 25, 1941, the British surrendered the territory to the Japanese army. U.S. submarines brought Japanese planes to Hong Kong to prepare there for further attacks on the East Asian region. After Japan's surrender in August of 1945, Britain reclaimed its territory. After that, Chinese civilians returned and the population, which had decreased rapidly, grew to 1.8 million again.
Since the Chinese Nationalist Government faced its defeat in a civil war at the hands of the communists in 1949, Hong Kong's population has continued to rise and nowadays this small territory is home to about 6.5 million people.
Photo of fireworks: Nicki
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Handover to China: Fireworks at the handover celebration July 1st ,1997, the date when Hong Kong was handed back to China.
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