Portuguese Macau (officially the Province of Macao until 1976 then State of Macau from 1976 to 1999 ) was a Portuguese colony that existed from the first official Portuguese settlement in 1557 to the end of colonial rule and the transfer of sovereignty over Macau to the People's Republic of China in 1999. It comprised the Municipality of Macau and the Municipality of Ilhas. Macau was both the first and last European holding in China.
Province of Macao
Província Portuguesa de Macau
|Anthem: Hymno Patriótico (1808–1826)|
Hino da Carta (1826–1911)
"Hymn of the Charter"
A Portuguesa (1911–1999)
|Flags of Municipalities|
|Status||Colony of Portugal (1557-1951)|
Overseas province of Portugal (1951–1976)
Chinese territory administered by Portugal (1976-1999)
|Official languages||Chinese Portuguese|
|Head of state of Portugal|
|King John III (first)|
|President Jorge Sampaio (last)|
|Francisco Martins (first)|
|Vasco Rocha Vieira (last)|
|Legislature||Council of Macau|
|Historical era||Age of Exploration|
Early Modern Period
Late Modern Period
• Portuguese settlement established
|1 December 1887|
|20 December 1999|
|21 km2 (8.1 sq mi)|
• 1998 estimate
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||1998  estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Macanese Pataca |
|Today part of|
Macau's history under Portugal can be broadly divided into three distinct political periods. The first was the establishment of the Portuguese settlement in 1557 until 1849. There was a system of mixed jurisdiction; the Portuguese had jurisdiction over the Portuguese community and certain aspects of the territory's administration but had no real sovereignty. The second was the colonial period, which scholars generally place from 1849 to 1974. As Macau's importance among other territories grew within the Portuguese Empire, Portuguese sovereignty over Macau was strengthened and it became a constitutional part of Portuguese territory. Chinese sovereignty during this era was mainly nominal. Finally, the third was the transition period or post-colonial period, which occurred after the Carnation Revolution in 1974 until the handover in 1999.
Wu Zhiliang more specifically identified six periods:
- The early relationship between the Chinese and Portuguese (1514–1583)
- The Senado (Senate) period (1583–1783)
- The decline of the Senado (1783–1849)
- The colonial period (1849–1976)
- The district autonomy period (1976–1988)
- The transition period (1988–1999)
Through archaeological studies, many artefacts have been discovered that indicate that the Chinese already settled in Macau between 4000 and 6000 years ago and in Coloane 5000 years ago.
According to certain historical records, Chinese merchant ships from Canton that traded with peoples of Southeast Asia often stopped in or near Macao to supply themselves with water and food, at least from the 5th century onwards.
In 1277, about 50,000 supporters and some members of the Song Dynasty, fleeing the Mongol invaders, arrived in Macau and built several settlements, the largest and most important being located in the Mong-Há region (which is located in the North of Macau). ). It is believed that the oldest temple in Macau, the Temple of Kun Iam (Goddess of Mercy), was located precisely in Mong-Há.
During the Ming Dynasty, many fishermen from Guangzhou and Fujian settled in Macau and it was they who built the Temple of A-Ma.
Arrival of the PortugueseEdit
The first Portuguese to arrive and visit China was Jorge Álvares, in 1513, during the Age of Discovery. He erected a padrão with the arms of Portugal in the port of Tamau, located on a neighboring island of Sanchuão (or Sanchoão), at the mouth of the Pearl River, near Macau. This visit was followed by the establishment in the area of numerous Portuguese traders, who would erect temporary wooden buildings that would be destroyed when the traders left, having done their business. The Portuguese were not yet allowed to stay, obtaining only visitor status.
In 1517, Fernão Pires de Andrade, the head of a Portuguese expedition to China, managed to negotiate with the Chinese authorities in Canton for the entry of the Portuguese ambassador Tomé Pires to Beijing and the establishment of a trading post in Tamão. But, due to the barbaric attitudes of his brother Simão de Andrade (who built a fortress in Tamão), Tomé Pires was arrested and killed by the Chinese authorities in Beijing and the Chinese Emperor prohibited trade with the Portuguese.
Despite this order, Portuguese traders continued their lucrative activity and the mandarins of the area allowed the Portuguese to settle on the island of Sanchuão to continue their business.
In 1542, the Portuguese, who already frequented the eastern coasts of China, settled in Liam Pó. But, in 1545 this community, which at the time had about 3 thousand inhabitants, was razed by a Chinese army of 60 thousand in 5 hours. The Portuguese, tried to settle in Chin-Cheu, but were expelled again in 1549.
The Portuguese were defeated by the Ming Chinese at the Battle of Sincouwaan in Lantau Island and Shuangyu in 1548 where several Portuguese were captured and near the Dongshan Peninsula in 1549 where two Portuguese junks and Galeote Pereira were captured. During these battles the Ming Chinese captured weapons from the defeated Portuguese which they then reverse engineered and mass produced in China such as matchlock musket arquebuses which they named bird guns and breech loading swivel guns which they named as Folangji (Frankish) cannon because the Portuguese were known to the Chinese under the name of Franks at this time.
The Portuguese later returned to Tamão and the islands of Sanchuão and Lampacau to carry out their lucrative commercial transactions. They even began to establish trade relations with the Chinese from the port of Hou-Quiang (Macau). They presented themselves under the name Portuguese instead of Franks in the Luso-Chinese agreement (1554) and rented Macau as a trading post from China by paying annual lease of hundreds of silver taels to Ming China.
Founding of MacauEdit
The use of Macau as a commercial port dates back to 1535 during the Ming dynasty, when local authorities established a custom house, collecting 20,000 taels in annual custom duties. Sources also call this payment a rent or bribe. In 1554, the custom house was moved to Lampacao likely due to threats of piracy. After the Portuguese helped the Chinese defeat the pirates, they were allowed to settle in Macau. By 1557, they established a permanent settlement, paying an annual ground rent of 500 taels.
The name of Macau seems to have originated in one of the first places accessed by the Portuguese, the Bay of A-Má (in Cantonese, "A-Ma Gao"), a name that is due to the existence in this bay of a temple in honor of the goddess A -Ma. A-Ma Gao would become, Amacao, Macao and, finally, Macau.
At the time, the Portuguese commercial establishment of Macau was only a small village with a few blocks, churches and residences, joined by a small number of streets. Most of the population lived on trade, so many of them left Macao for months and sometimes even years to carry out their lucrative trade. At that time, it had a vaguely defined political-administrative organization, as the Portuguese Crown had not yet carried out any proper planning for Macau. Therefore, at that time, the Captain-Major of the Voyage of China and Japan was responsible for the affairs of the Portuguese during his stay in Macau. He, as the only existing authority, sought to maintain order among the Portuguese while his great merchant ship was in port.
Over time, issues emerged whose resolution could not wait for the Captain-Major's return from his trips to Japan, so a kind of triumvirate was formed, which began to direct the administration of the establishment. It was composed of three representatives of the residents, called homens-bons ("good men"), chosen by vote. In 1562, one of those elected became, by choice, Land Captain. These 3 representatives, continued to be nevertheless dependent on the Captain-Major. Specifically, the function of these 3 representatives was to regulate all matters of public order and politics. In addition to the triumvirate, there was also a judge and 4 merchants elected by the people who participated in the administration. These elements together formed a kind of council.
Although the Portuguese remained in Macau, the Chinese authorities maintained that Macau was an integral part of the Chinese Celestial Empire, so the Portuguese were obligated to pay annual rent (about 500 taels of silver) and certain taxes to the Chinese, since the year 1573. The governor of Canton, the highest Chinese authority in the region, ordered some mandarins in the vicinity of Macau to watch and supervise that Portuguese commercial establishment, namely with regard to the collection of rent and taxes levied by the Guangzhou authorities on all Chinese products and on all products exported by the Portuguese. These Chinese officials exercised great influence over the administration of Macau and also exercised control and ultimate jurisdiction over all Chinese residents in Macau. Many of them lived in the north of the peninsula.
In 1573 or 1574, the Chinese authorities ordered the construction of a barrier on the northern border of the Peninsula, in a place very close to where today is the current "Frontier Post of Portas do Cerco", to prevent the expansion of the Portuguese through the island of Xiangshan (modern Zhongshan), to better supervise the collection of taxes on goods entering or leaving the city and to control Macau's supply.
Even with the lifting of various difficulties and obstacles to the freedom of Macao residents by the Chinese authorities, Macao continued to prosper and develop.
The role of the Catholic Church in early Portuguese MacauEdit
Macau also became an important point of departure for Catholic missionaries to different countries in Asia, namely China and Japan. In addition to evangelization, these missionaries, especially the Jesuits, also promoted ethical, cultural and scientific exchange between the West and the East; and contributed in an important way to the development of Macao. D. Belchior Carneiro Leitão, the first Governor of the Bishopric of Macau, founded, in 1569, the first hospital in Macau, Hospital dos Pobres (later to be called "Hospital de São Rafael"), and the first European institution charity in this region, the Santa Casa da Misericórdia. These Catholic religious also contributed to the development of social assistance, creating orphanages and even a leprosy, and education in Macau.
The Colégio de São Paulo was founded in the 16th century and the Seminary of São José in the 18th century. These two institutions had the function of training missionaries and priests. Due to the great importance of Macau, Pope Gregory XIII created the Diocese of Macau on January 23, 1576. Currently, the Seminary, due to the lack of priestly vocations, was closed and the College was destroyed by fire in 1835.
On several occasions, the Jesuits who regularly attended the Court in Peking, using their influence, saved Macau from various dangers and from various exaggerated demands imposed by the Chinese authorities in Canton or by the Emperor himself.
From its founding until the loss of trade with Japan in 1639, Macau survived and prospered due to the China-Macao-Japan triangular trade. This lucrative trade, based on the exchange of silk and gold from China for silver from Japan, began when, in the 1540s, Portuguese merchants began selling Chinese products in Japan. Within just a decade, Macau had become a key entrepot and intermediary in trade between China and Japan, especially after Chinese authorities banned direct trade with Japan for over a hundred years. In these circumstances, the Portuguese gained the monopoly of trade between China, Japan and Europe.
From 1550 onwards, this commercial monopoly was exercised and ensured by the Captain-Mor of the Voyage of China and Japan (or, simply, called Captain-Mor of the Voyage of Japan) and he also enjoyed the right to sell his post to others.
Macau during the Iberian UnionEdit
In 1580, the position of ouvidor ("ombundsman") was created, the first magistrate sent from Lisbon to Macau, under the pretext of putting an end to the rivalries existing in the settlement. In 1581, the residents of Macau learned of the accession of Philip II of Spain to the throne of Portugal, which took place in the year 1580. This news saddened the citizens of Macau because it placed Macau in a dangerous situation, as the Chinese authorities had granted Macau to the Portuguese Crown and not to the Spanish. The Portuguese feared that they would be expelled by the Chinese authorities, losing their monopoly on trade with China. It was mainly for this reason, but also for the patriotic spirit of the Portuguese residents, that the Portuguese flag remained always hoisted during this period.
The new state of affairs in Portugal had the effect of establishing a more organized, effective and representative administration. In 1583, on the initiative of the Bishop of Macau, the Leal Senado, a municipal and senatorial body more representative than the oligarchic Junta, was founded to better administer Macau and to maintain Macau's autonomy from the Spanish authorities. The Senate, which feared the interference of Chinese authorities in the administration, the economy (mainly in commerce) or even in the statute or in the very existence of Macau, prepared large sums of gifts for the Chinese authorities, with the intention of trying to distance them from Macao's internal affairs. This situation of subservience on the part of Macau would only be overcome with the measures imposed during the mandate of Governor João Ferreira do Amaral (1846-1849), although Macau continued to depend on China.
Due to the growing prosperity and importance of Macau, this commercial establishment was elevated to the status of city in 1586 or 1587, by decision of King Filipe II of Spain (Filipe I of Portugal), changing its name to Cidade do Santo Nome De Deus de Macao. This Spanish monarch did not intend to send a Governor to the city, preferring to keep things as they were.
It was during the period of Habsburg control of Portugal that Macau reached great prosperity, entering its "golden age". Some historians point to the period between 1595 and 1602 as the height of its "golden age". In this period, Macau became one of the busiest commercial cities in the Far East and served as an entrepot for many Portuguese and Spanish trade routes, mainly for the lucrative route to Japan. At that time, the Portuguese, although increasingly dependent on the capital of the great Chinese and Japanese merchants and also suffering from increasing Dutch competition, had exclusivity on this route because Japan did not allow the entry of other foreign ships. This route, especially when the Dutch began to disturb the routes to Goa and Malacca, became one of the main sources of income for Macau and provided a key support to Portuguese trade in the China Seas.
It was during this period that the Church of São Paulo and many other architectural works, built mostly according to European-inspired architectural styles, were completed, giving a strong touch of splendor and grandeur to the City.
During this period, the Leal Senado was able to avoid open conflicts with the mandarins, bribing them with significant sums, and compromises with the Spaniards, who wanted to end the commercial monopoly that the Portuguese enjoyed in China (at that time, Portuguese ships, when entering Canton paid two-thirds less than other ships of the same tonnage).
The Spaniards, based in Manila, even sent embassies to China and Japan, in an attempt to end the privileged position of the Portuguese, but they did not achieve what they sought, partially due to the pro-Portuguese actions of the Jesuits based in these 2 Asian countries. In fact, the Jesuits were at the service of the Portuguese Empire at that time, within the scope of the Portuguese Padroado agreement.
Portuguese-Spanish relations were characterized more by distrust and rivalry than by cooperation and unity. For example, in 1589, the establishment of a Macau-Acapulco trade route greatly angered the Spaniards of Manila. In another example, some Spaniards even wanted the King of Spain (and Portugal) to agree and order the destruction of Macau, transferring the silver and silk trade between Japan and China to Manila; this proposal was not, however, been put into practice.
Alongside this, trade between Macau and Manila grew and was gradually regulated, also becoming an important source of income for the City of the Name of God.
Attempted Dutch takeoverEdit
Having an important strategic position, Macau was attacked several times by the Dutch (enemies of Spain and Portugal due to the union of these two countries between 1580 and 1640), who were envious of the monopoly the Portuguese enjoyed and wanted to control trade between Europe and the Far East.
King Philip III of Spain, who was at war with the Dutch, put an embargo on Dutch trading ships in all his territories including Portugal, so these ships headed east, causing many problems for the Portuguese settled in this region. In 1601, a Dutch fleet led by Admiral Van Neck appeared in Macau. In 1603, warships from Holland bombarded the City; and in the years 1604 and 1607 came, respectively, the expeditions led by Admirals Wybrand van Warwijck and Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge.
These Dutch invasion attempts forced the Portuguese authorities to build a defensive system for the City. But the Chinese authorities prevented the fortification of Macau at all costs, through threats, fearing a possible coup against China. In 1614, the Emperor, through a decree, sanctioned the construction of fortifications in Macau. The Portuguese managed to build their desired and necessary fortifications, thanks to the magnificent gifts offered to the mandarins in charge of watching the City.
The most famous Dutch invasion took place on June 22, 1622 by 800 soldiers who landed on Cacilhas beach. They advanced cautiously towards the center of the City, suffering heavy bombardment from cannons from Fortaleza do Monte. After 2 days of fighting, on the 24th of June, a Jesuit priest fired a cannon shot and accurately hit a wagon loaded with gunpowder belonging to the Dutch, disconcerting the invading forces. It is also on this day that Macau's small military garrison (consisting of approximately 200 soldiers and a few fortresses, namely Fortaleza do Monte and Fortaleza da Guia) defeated the invading forces. The Dutch, defeated, threw themselves overboard in an attempt to reach the boats. Many drowned and one of the boats, overcrowded, sank. Portuguese records say that a few dozen Portuguese died and that around 350 Dutch died in combat or drowned. For Macau, unprepared, the victory was considered a miracle. After the victory, Macao residents celebrated the 24th of June, Victory Day, as City Day. It is also on this day that Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city, is celebrated. Legend has it that by his cloak, the enemy's shots were deflected, saving the City from the Dutch invaders. This day is a public holiday and celebrated every year with great parties and joy until 1999, the date when Macau's sovereignty was transferred to China. After the transfer, this day was no longer a public holiday and virtually forgotten.
After this attempted Dutch invasion, the Portuguese authorities, from 1623 onwards, sent a Governor to Macau. Before his arrival, this small town was administered and governed by the Loyal Senate. Macau's small military garrison was also reinforced. These measures revealed a greater concern and participation of the Portuguese authorities in the administration and protection of this distant and small Portuguese establishment. But, even so, the local power, residing in the Leal Senado, continued to maintain a great autonomy in relation to the central metropolitan power of Lisbon, represented in Macau by the Governor, and continued to play a fundamental role in the administration of the city. That's why the Loyal Senate and the Governor often came into conflict over disagreements.
Title conceded by King John IVEdit
Although Portugal was ruled by a Spanish monarch between 1580 and 1640, Macau continued to loyally hoist the Portuguese flag. Therefore, after the restoration of Portugal's independence and sovereignty in 1640, King John IV, rewarded this act of trust and loyalty in 1654, by granting Macau the title "No other is more loyal". Therefore the full name and title of Macau during Portuguese administration would read: "City of the Holy Name of God of Macau - No Other is More Loyal"
Competition with foreign European powersEdit
From the mid-17th century onwards, Macao's prosperity began to decline, caused by various factors and events. But, even so, this commercial establishment rarely asked for subsidies from its metropolis (Portugal), and even sometimes gave financial aid to other Portuguese territories in the East. When Macau had financial problems, which it did with some frequency, the city would ask for loans from other neighboring countries or from wealthy merchants in the Far East.
The Portuguese commercial system centered in Lisbon began to suffer a growing decline in the 17th century, due to the high competition between it and the other systems developed by other European powers, namely England and the Netherlands. These European powers, with large and powerful fleets of merchant and warships, attacked the great but weakened Portuguese Empire, occupying and/or looting its colonies and trading bases and intercepting many of its trade routes. In the end, these emerging powers created, at the expense of the Portuguese Empire, their own empires and secured many markets and trade routes that were once dominated exclusively by the Portuguese.
The loss of Malacca and the end of trade with Japan and with ManilaEdit
The profitable trade with Japan began to undergo gradual changes as early as the end of the 16th century. In 1587, Japanese authorities began to implement measures to expel Catholic missionaries, who had become increasingly powerful and influential in the Kyushu region. This led to their loss of control over Nagasaki. This event, combined with the prohibition of Christianity by the Japanese authorities in 1614, contributed to the fact that Portuguese trade in Japan was conducted with increasing difficulties. In 1636, the Portuguese were transferred from Nagasaki to the secondary trading port of Dejima.
In 1638-1639, the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu implemented Japan's exclusionary policies, intended to protect it from possible European occupation, and ruthlessly ordered the persecution of all missionaries, priests, and hundreds of thousands of Japanese Christians. As a result, Portuguese trade with Japan came to an abrupt end, seriously affecting Macau, which quickly went into economic decline. The Dutch also contributed to the end of this lucrative trade, making the Japanese authorities increasingly suspicious of the commercial activity of the Portuguese and especially of the religious activity of Catholic missionaries, accused of being the vanguard of a powerful European and Catholic invading force. With the Portuguese expelled, a small number of Dutch, who gained the trust of the Japanese authorities, were able to visit the port of Dejima, although with many restrictions, becoming the only Europeans who were allowed to trade with Japan.
In 1640, in an attempt to reestablish the profitable and important trade, the Portuguese residents of Macau decided to send an embassy to Japan but, in addition to not getting what they wanted, it was all executed, by order of the powerful Tokugawa shogun.
In 1641, another event affected Macau's declining economy: the Portuguese lost Malacca to the Dutch, who had already captured several Portuguese possessions, areas of influence and trade routes. The loss of this important city and commercial base caused disturbances and deviations from the usual route between Macau and Goa and a decrease in the supply of tradable products with China.
In 1640, when the Crowns of Portugal and Spain were once again separated, trade with Manila and with the Spaniards based there ended, causing more economic and financial problems for Macau. It was only with the end of the Portuguese-Spanish rivalry that trade was reactivated.
Growing instability in ChinaEdit
The loss of several commercial markets, although very harmful to Macau, was not fatal for the merchants and inhabitants of the city. The transition from the Chinese Ming dynasty to the Manchu Qing dynasty, which lasted several years, caused strong instability in the Chinese Empire and made the internal markets of China and all of Southeast Asia uncertain, fatally affecting the commercial activity of the residents of Macau. In addition to living in uncertainty and fear of being destroyed or occupied by the forces of the new imperial dynasty, the city was also flooded in the 40s of the 17th century with refugees fleeing the Qings, depleting Macao's resources and giving rise to famine in the 1640s, also due to the dwindling and unstable food supply from Chinese merchants.
It was only with the re-establishment of imperial peace in southeastern China that Macaus trade was able to prosper again. The Portuguese, not wanting Macau's status to be changed by the new imperial Qing dynasty and not wanting their privileged position to end, sent several embassies to Beijing, establishing friendly diplomatic relations with China's new sovereigns.
The end of the Portuguese monopoly in trade with China In 1685, despite successive Portuguese embassies to Beijing, the Portuguese monopoly in trade with China came to an end because the Chinese Emperor authorized trade with all foreign countries in Canton, at least once a year during the annual fair. With this, the privileged position of the Portuguese in the trade with the Chinese Empire, as the only and exclusive intermediaries in the China-Europe trade, ended.
From that date onwards, Macau ceased to be the exclusive entrepôt for Chinese trade, thus altering Macau's economic role in trade with China. However, European merchants of other nationalities, who were also able to participate in direct trade with China along with the Portuguese, also started to temporarily visit and use Macau as a trading post and intermediary in this lucrative trade. This is because, at that time, foreigners could not reside and move freely in Guangzhou, and they had to reside in Macau for most of the year.
With the sudden increase in foreign competition in trade with China and the decline of the Portuguese trading system, merchants based in Macau, in order to continue with their commercial activities and with their profits, had to cooperate more frequently with the merchants of the new and emerging European powers, because it was these powers that held control of world trade centered on Europe. This cooperation at times generated a certain dependence on the part of Macanese merchants on these new western powers.
The rise of intra-Asian trade (17th-18th centuries)Edit
With the loss of trade with Japan, Manila and other locations that were once Portuguese possessions and with the rise of Dutch and later English merchants in the eastern seas, Portuguese traders based in Macau made several adjustments to their trade routes.
Knowing the process of decline of the Portuguese world trading system and the lack of resources on the part of Portugal to sustain an intense long-distance trade (that is, commercial voyages from the East to Europe), Macanese merchants bet heavily on intra-Asian trade, while long-distance trade was mostly dominated by the new European powers, such as the Netherlands and England.
These Macau-based traders invested, in addition to Goa and China, in several Asian regional markets, such as Macassar, Solor, Flores, Timor, Vietnam, Kingdom of Siam, Bengal, Calcutta, Banjarmasin and Batavia.
Over time, the diverse and almost constant adaptations to the changing political and economic realities of the different Asian regional markets have borne fruit. In the 18th century, intra-Asian trade became sufficient to create a new and true proto-capitalist class of entrepreneurs, both Portuguese and Chinese based in Macau. This emerging class specifically included Chinese buyers and the main shipowners and trade captains who accepted the high risk of sailing in the eastern seas and who knew how to adapt to the new realities of the region.
But even so, this intra-Asian trade never managed to restore the prosperity experienced in Macau provided by trade with Japan. Often, mainly due to the policies of the Chinese authorities that were unfavorable to the interests of the Portuguese in Macau, such as the opening of certain Chinese ports to international trade, this intra-Asian trade was unable to fully contribute to the subsistence of the territory. Macanese authorities, oftenhad to ask for large loans from other neighboring countries or from wealthy merchants in the Far East.
The Solor-Timor-Macau trade, based essentially on the supply of the valuable and much sought after sandalwood to Chinese markets, prospered in the 16th century, when trade with Japan was already conducted with many and great difficulties. This aromatic wood, much sought after in China, was transported from Timor and Solor to Macau, where it was later sold in Canton. This trade, although under great danger and intense pressure from the powerful Dutch, made huge profits, which could be above 100% to 150%. Therefore, in that difficult period for Macau, the sandalwood trade became one of the main sources of income for the authorities of the City of the Holy Name of God.
But, with the fortress of Solor besieged in 1636 by the Dutch, the merchant ships from Macau that participated in the profitable sandalwood trade began to head only to Timor, still under the jurisdiction of Goa. This island supplied slaves, honey and horses, as well as sandalwood. But, in the mid-18th century, Macau, which was Timor's main trading partner, abandoned trade with this island, mainly due to interminable internal revolts. Trade with Timor was only reactivated with the pacification of the island.
Macau-Macassar trade, while not as profitable as the sandalwood trade, relied on Macassar's spice trade in exchange for Chinese root and cotton goods. This trade prospered after the fall of Malacca in 1641 and, according to Charles Ralph Boxer, grew to such an extent that it threatened the Dutch spice trade in the East. But, with Macassar attacked and captured by a Dutch fleet in the 1660s of the 17th century, this trade had to end. With the end of the Portuguese-Dutch rivalry, trade was reactivated.
The Vietnam-Macao trade: Even before the decline of Portuguese trade with Japan, Portuguese traders were already making commercial trips to Tonkin and Cochinchina (now Vietnam), although these had been considered as operations of secondary importance that served mainly to support the Jesuit mission in these Asian lands. But, due to the Jesuit influence in the royal courts of these countries, trade was stimulated, mainly in the exchange of silver for Chinese silk. It was only with wars and political instability in Vietnam in the late 18th century that trade ceased.
The Batavia-Macau trade: In the late 17th century, with the Portuguese-Dutch rivalry over for some time, Portuguese traders, lacking markets, began to cooperate with the Dutch East India Company, trading with Batavia (located in Java). At that time, commercial activity with this Dutch colony was mainly based on the shipment of blue and white porcelain produced in southern China by Portuguese and Chinese merchants from Macau.
Trade with Batavia intensified particularly in the period from 1717 to 1727, when the Chinese authorities banned foreign trade. The Dutch, who used to buy Chinese tea in Canton, now do so exclusively in Macau. During this period, tea was transported by Chinese merchants to Macau by reeds.
The Banjarmasin-Macau trade, based on the transport of pepper to Macao from Borneo, prospered in a short time, in the late 17th century, but also ended abruptly two years after the trade started, due to a attempted massacre of the Portuguese.
The Bengal-Macau and Calcutta-Macau trade. In the late 18th century, Macao traders also began to participate in the opium trade between Bengal and China. They also engaged heavily in trade with Calcutta, where Portuguese traders traded spices, cotton, and opium, in exchange for Chinese silk, tea, and porcelain. This intense commercial activity with these colonies of the British Empire was not a competition made by the merchants based in Macau to the English East India Company, on the contrary, they cooperated with this powerful English commercial company to obtain the desired profits.
In addition to Chinese taxes; of the rent; of the Portas do Cerco; the special status of the Chinese of being judged, in the last instance, by the mandarins, according to the Law of the Chinese Empire; and the increasing Chinese supervision over Macau; the Chinese authorities also imposed a ban, except in exceptional cases, on the construction of dwellings by the Portuguese beyond the walls of the City of Macau, as they could not expand the city to the North of the Macau Peninsula and the City could not have a very significant population increase. They, going further, also imposed that the construction of new houses and fortifications within the City had to be previously authorized by the mandarins in charge of guarding the City.
The Chinese authorities even ordered, in 1648, to establish a military post with 500 soldiers in the village of Qianshan (called by the Portuguese as Casa Branca), very close to Portas do Cerco, to guard the "City of the Holy Name of God of Macau". ". This village was also the home of one of the mandarins in charge of supervising Macau.
On several occasions, the impositions and decisions made by the Chinese authorities to sanction Macau caused a large exodus of the Chinese community from Macau. For this reason, during the first centuries of the City of Macau's existence, the number of the Chinese population was uncertain and fluctuated considerably. These impositions and requirements, sometimes very abusive, sometimes brought real financial crises to the Macao authorities.
The restrictions and impositions made by the Chinese authorities began to intensify more and more when the Qings became the rulers of China, as they were always suspicious of foreign actions and influence.
Three years after the opening of the port of Guangzhou to all foreign merchants, in 1688, the Chinese authorities established a Chinese customs house, the "Ho-pu", supervised by a Mandarin to better supervise the collection of taxes on certain goods transported by merchant ships anchored in the port of Macau and above all to control the access of foreign ships long-distance to Canton. The Ho-pu became the symbol of Chinese authority, power and influence in Macau.
In 1736, the Chinese authorities, increasingly abusing their power and the Macanese, imposed a local mandarin in Macau with the name "tchó-t'óng" (or Tso-tang ), with the pretext of helping the mandarins in charge of supervising Macau and of better dealing with the affairs of the Chinese inhabitants of the city. This mandarin, residing in the north of the Macau Peninsula, only began to exercise full authority from 1797 onwards.
The power of the mandarins over Macau would be drastically reduced only in the 19th century, during the mandate of Macau Governor João Ferreira do Amaral.
Macau as a European outpost in ChinaEdit
Europeans such as the British, Dutch, French, Spanish, Danish and Swedes, who had been involved in trade with China for some time, began to form small but wealthy communities in Macau, due to the lifting of restrictions on trade and residence to foreigners by the Macau authorities in the year 1760. After the exemptions, Macau emerged as the mandatory residence or intermediate stop for all foreigners participating in trade with China through Canton. This caused many European commercial companies to establish themselves in Macau, increasing the City's revenue. In conclusion, Macau thus became Europe's outpost in China. The City prospered with this status and this is also reflected in its urban landscape: new and sometimes exquisite buildings, built according to European-inspired architectural styles, began to appear in the City of Macau, namely in Praia Grande. These buildings included the residences of wealthy merchants and European aristocracy.
In fact, at this time, the Macao authorities, which formerly depended mainly on taxes paid by Portuguese traders, now also depended on taxes paid by these wealthy European merchants. To further increase these revenues, the Macau authorities, in 1784, also created their own customs machine, charging customs duties on imported goods and on the anchoring of ships. But most of the revenue from this new customs system was sent to Portugal's state coffers.
The balance of power between the Governor and the Loyal SenateEdit
The Leal Senado, symbol of authority and local power, enjoyed great autonomy from the governments of Lisbon and Goa and was Macau's most important governing body for more than two centuries, from its foundation until 1783. of the Senate has already suffered a significant decrease due to the increasing and abusive restrictions and impositions made by the Chinese authorities, it was the internal reform carried out during the reign of Queen Maria I that restricted the powers and especially the autonomy of the Senate.
In 1783, through royal measures, the Queen granted the Governor of Macau fundamental powers and the right of veto over the decisions of the Senate, with the Governor having the obligation and responsibility to veto mainly all decisions that were contrary to the regulations, laws or orders from Lisbon or Goa. The measures dictated that the Governor, with his powers already expanded and fortified, had to intervene in all matters related to the administration and government of Macau. Prior to the enactment of these measures, the Governor was only the commander of the Portuguese military forces in Macau and did not participate much, with a few exceptions, in the administration of the City.
If, by chance, these two governing bodies cannot reach an agreement on a certain matter, and if the case is urgent, the Bishop of Macau and the (Portuguese) citizens with the right to vote will meet and the matter will be resolved with the majority of votes. In conclusion, from 1783 onwards, the power between the Governor and the Loyal Senate finally reached an equilibrium.
Peninsular War and Battle of the Bocca TigrisEdit
During the Peninsular War (1807-1814), in September 1808 Macau was occupied by troops from the expeditionary force under the command of Rear Admiral William O'Brien Drury, commander-in-chief of the British Naval Forces in the seas of Asia, under the pretext of protection against the French threat. This contingent was re-embarked at the end of the same year, due to the concentration of around 80,000 men of the Chinese army in front of the city gates.
In 1809, the famous naval battle of the Tigers Mouth (or Bocca Tigris) took place between a Portuguese flotilla of six ships and a Chinese pirate fleet with more than 300 ships. The Portuguese flotilla, although outnumbered but with superior firepower provided by the artillery, emerged victorious and managed to maintain Portuguese rule in Macau, which at that time was seriously threatened by these pirates who frequently attacked local merchant ships.
The rise of Hong Kong and the loss of Macaus economic importanceEdit
The prosperity and importance of the port of Macau was drastically reduced after the First Opium War in 1841, when Hong Kong became the most important western port in China. The vast majority of members of the non-Portuguese European communities and even a group of Macanese and Portuguese, as well as the vast majority of European trading companies, seeing a good part of the trade carried out in Macau being transferred to Hong Kong, quickly abandoned the City of Santo Nome de Deus and took up residence in the new and prosperous British colony, which is located 60 km from Macau.
Although Macau continued to house a class of merchants and buyers (mostly Chinese) and although commerce never ceased to exist in the City, Macau was no longer the outpost of Europe in China, relegating the City to a secondary level of economic and commercial.
In the 19th century, Portugal, seeing the already evident weakness of the Chinese Empire and growing British influence (threatening the balance of the region), finally began to worry about strengthening Portuguese sovereignty in Macau and the definition of the political-administrative structures of the city to prevent Macau from falling into the hands of other European powers. This desire of Portugal was fulfilled on the 20th of September 1844, with the promulgation of a royal decree signed by Queen D. Maria II. This document reaffirmed that the Governor was the main political-administrative body of the city and not the Leal Senado, officially putting an end to local authority and hopes that the Senate would regain its status and prestige already lost in 1834, and Macau finally joined the administrative organization Portuguese overseas territory, becoming an overseas province jointly with Timor and Solor, headquartered in Macau and with the name of "Province of Macau, Timor and Solor". Prior to this entry, Macau was part of the Portuguese State of India.
After the Royal Decree of 1844, Portugal declared the City a free port in 1845, through a royal decree that would later be implemented by Governor João Ferreira do Amaral, appointed in 1846 and having been given a mandate to assert Portuguese sovereignty.. This Portuguese governor, who began his term in office in 1846, ordered an end to the payment of annual rent and Chinese taxes and, seeing the impossibility of collecting taxes and customs duties (the colony's biggest revenue) because Macau was already a free port, he ordered the introduction of new taxes on the inhabitants of the City, including the Chinese, and on Chinese light boats, the faitiãos. This led to a Chinese revolt which was put down by the Portuguese military.
The Governor even ordered the construction of a road that aimed to connect the walled city of Macau, which was located in the south of the peninsula, to the "Portas do Cerco", a border post located in the extreme north that separates the Macau Peninsula and China. Continental.
Amaral also ordered the expulsion of the mandarins (Chinese officials) from Macau and, because Macau was a free port (that is, a port without customs), he finally ordered the abolition, in 1849, of the famous Ho-pu (the Chinese customs ), thus culminating the process of strengthening Portuguese sovereignty. From that date onwards, the Macau Government also began to exercise ultimate jurisdiction over all Chinese residents of Macau City and to levy taxes on them, ending their special status. In the implementation of the royal decree of 1845, the Portuguese customs also ceased to exist.
The Senate opposed his actions, stating that establishing full control by force was an "unfair and disloyal gesture". Amaral dissolved the Senate and called them unpatriotic. He told Chinese officials that they would be received as representatives of a foreign power.
After the events of 1783, 1834, 1844, the definitive shake-up of the mandarins' power over Macau and the abolition of Chinese customs in 1849, the Governor of Macau, free from local and Chinese authorities, became Macau's highest authority.
Economy of Macau in late 19th centuryEdit
The 1822 constitution included Macau as an integral part of its territory. A Portuguese royal decree on 20 November 1845 declared Macau a free port. In 1847, Governor Isidoro Francisco Guimarães , knowing that Macau did not have the capacity to compete with the nascent British colony of Hong Kong , decided to legalize the gambling sector, which included casinos and other types of games of chance. With the legalization of the gambling sector, which already existed clandestinely in the city, the Government wanted to transform the colony into a holiday, leisure and entertainment center for the inhabitants and wealthy merchants of the region. This sector, mainly due to the great taste of the Chinese for gambling, has contributed a lot to the revival of the economy and the development of Macau. Currently, it remains the most important economic activity in the region.
In addition to the gambling, Macau also managed to recover part of its former prosperity, serving as a warehouse for the coolies trade and for the lucrative tea trade . It was also at this time, in the second half of the 19th century, that Macau experienced an initial industrialization , due to the development of communication and transport infrastructures and the establishment of several factories and production units, namely the tea factories, matches factories, fireworks, tobacco and cement. But Macao's industry only began to experience great development and expansion from the 1870s onwards.
The coolie trade, which began in Macau in the late 1840s, consisted of supplying contract Chinese workers to countries that at that time needed labor, such as Cuba and Peru. They lived and worked in precarious conditions, resembling slaves. This trade, while providing new prosperity to the port of Macau, brought serious social problems to the City, such as corruption, moral depression and the need to deal with a large number of coolies repatriated or waiting to be transported to the your new place of work. Incidentally, although individual merchants in Macau also profited from this commercial activity, the greatest beneficiaries of this trade were foreign companies, whose capital dominated the trade, and their agents. That's why the coolie trade came to an end in the late 1870s. With the end of the tea and coolie trade, Macau went into decline again and the Macau Government, also due to its political and administrative responsibilities over Timor and Solor since 1844, had to look for new ways to obtain revenue. Even though Timor was definitively separated from Macau's administrative structure in 1896, the Macau Government also had to financially support the colony of Timor. The monopoly concession by the Government to private companies entrusted by it then became one of the privileged ways of obtaining state revenue. This measure ensured the continuity of the stable and regular supply of revenues to the Government, since companies that held monopolies generally suffered little or no competition and were obliged, in addition to taxes, to pay a fixed annual amount to the Government, regardless of their revenues. In the 19th century, the most notable and important monopolies were the opium sector.
Mainly after the end of the tea and coolies trade, still in the 19th century, Macau's economy to be supported largely by the gambling sector, fishing and the various monopolies granted by the Government (namely that of opium). But this does not mean that trade ceased to exist in Macau or that it ceased to be important for the colony. The City has always been home to a class of buyers and traders, mostly Chinese, who maintained commercial relations with various locations in China and Southeast Asia .and who made profits essentially from their intermediary activity of importing products and then re-exporting them. Some of these activities, such as the import, sale and re-export of oil and gold , were even monopolized by the Government and whose monopoly rights were later granted to a private company entrusted by it.
19th century onEdit
On 26 March 1887, the Lisbon Protocol was signed, in which China recognised the "perpetual occupation and government of Macao" by Portugal who in turn, agreed never to surrender Macau to a third party without Chinese agreement. This was reaffirmed in the Treaty of Peking on 1 December. A growing nationalist movement in China voiced disapproval of the treaty and questioned its validity. Although the Nationalist (Kuomintang) government in China vowed to abrogate the "unequal treaties", Macau's status remained unchanged.
The 1928 Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Friendship and Trade reaffirmed Portuguese administration over Macau. In 1945, after the end of extraterritorial rights in China, the Nationalists called for the liquidation of foreign control over Hong Kong and Macau, but they were too preoccupied in the civil war with the Communists to fulfil their goals.
The 12-3 incident occurred in 1966, when demonstrations against Portuguese rule were held.
From the Carnation Revolution until 1999Edit
After the 1974 revolution in Portugal, a decolonisation policy paved the way for Macau's retrocession to the People's Republic of China (PRC). Portugal offered to withdraw from Macau in late 1974, but China declined in favour of a later time because it sought to preserve international and local confidence in Hong Kong, which was still under British rule. In January 1975, Portugal recognised the mainland's PRC instead of rump ROC in Taiwan as the sole government of China. On 17 February 1976, the Portuguese parliament passed the Organic Statute of Macau, which called it a "territory under Portuguese administration". This term was also put in Portugal's 1976 constitution, replacing Macau's designation as an overseas province. Unlike previous constitutions, Macau was not included as an integral part of Portuguese territory. The 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration called Macau a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration".
The transfer of sovereigntyEdit
The transfer of Macau's sovereignty between Portugal and China took place in the early hours of the morning of December 20, 1999, as foreseen in the Joint Declaration, after many years of negotiations and preparations. Having taken place two years after Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty, it was a smoother process than Hong Kong's, with no notable political clashes between the two governments during diplomatic negotiations, nor social unrest, unlike in Hong Kong, whose population has a more demanding and participatory tradition.
Since 1657, the office of Captain-Major was appointed by the King of Portugal or on his behalf by the Viceroy of India to any fidalgo (nobleman) or gentleman who excelled in services to the Crown. The Captain-Major was head of the fleets and emporia from Malacca to Japan, and the official representative of Portugal to Japan and China. Since he was often away from Macau for long periods, an embryonic municipal government formed in 1560 to resolve matters. Three representatives chosen by vote held the title of eleitos (elected) and could perform administrative and judicial duties.
By 1583, the Senate Council was formed, later called the Loyal Senate (Leal Senado). It consisted of three aldermen, two judges, and one city procurator. Portuguese citizens in Macau elected six electors who would then select the senators. The most serious issues were dealt with by convening the General Council of Ecclesiastic Authorities and leading citizens to decide what measures should be taken. After several Dutch invasions, the Senate created the post of War Governor in 1615 to establish a permanent presence of a military commander. In 1623, the Viceroy created the office of Governor and Captain-General of Macau, replacing the Captain-Major's authority over the territory.
Macau was originally administered as part of Xiangshan County, Guangdong. Chinese and Portuguese officials discussed affairs in casa da câmara, or the city hall, where the Leal Senado Building was later built. In 1731, the Chinese set up an assistant magistrate (xian cheng) in Qian Shan Zhai to manage affairs in Macau. In 1743, he was later based in Mong Ha village (Wang Xia), now part of Our Lady of Fátima, Macau. In 1744, the Chinese formed the Macau Coast Military and Civilian Government headed by a subprefect (tongzhi) based in Qian Shan Zhai.
The sovereignty over Macau has been a complex issue. Professor of Sociology, Zhidong Hao, at the University of Macau said that some consider sovereignty to be "absolute" and cannot be shared, while others say it is "relative" and can be joint or shared. He stated:
The complexity of the sovereignty question in Macau suggests that the Chinese and Portuguese shared Macau's sovereignty before 1999. [...] In the colonial period of Macau, China had the lesser control in Macau, therefore the lesser sovereignty, and Portugal had more of it. On the other hand, if the Portuguese had sovereignty over Macau, even after the 1887 treaty, it was never absolute either. So sovereignty in fact had been shared between China and Portugal in one way or another, with one party having more at one time than the other.
Macau's political status was still disputed after the 1887 treaty due to its ambiguous wording. The interpretation depends on the perspective of the writer, with the Portuguese and Chinese taking different sides. Scholar Paulo Cardinal, who has been a legal advisor to the Legislative Assembly of Macau, wrote:
On an international law level of analysis, Macau has been characterized by western scholars as a territory on a lease; a union community with Portugal enshrined in and by the Chief of State; a condominium; a territory under an internationalized regime; a territory under a special situation; an autonomous territory without integration connected to a special international situation; and a dependent community subjected to a dual distribution of sovereignty powers (in other words, China held the sovereignty right but Portugal was responsible for its exercise). Without a doubt, it was an atypical situation. Since the Joint Declaration, Macau was, until 19 December 1999, an internationalized territory by international law standards, despite the absence of such a label in the treaty itself.
In 1893, Liceu de Macau was opened, the only public Portuguese language school. Official teaching in Portuguese underwent reforms after the Portuguese revolution of 1911, and education in Macau experienced a great development. The education promoted by the Church, despite continuing with government support, evolved into private education and the private teaching in Chinese was moved from private home classes to state schools.
According to the 1921 Yearbook, public education in Macau covered 125 secondary and primary schools, of which 2 official schools (Macao Liceu and Commercial School), 7 schools subsidized by the Government, 10 municipal schools and 4 Church schools, with a total number of 5477 students.
In 1928, the Yuet Wah College was moved from Canton to Macau. During the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, other private educational institutions closed their doors in mainland China and also moved to Macau.
Street in Macau, by John Thomson, c. 1870
Panoramic painting of Macau from Penha Hill, c. 1870
Camões in Macau, at his grotto. Painting by Francisco Augusto Metrass.
Headquarters of the Misericórdia of Macau.
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