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Kazuo Lim Khee Boon | profile | all galleries >> My Travel Album >> Macau tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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Macau

Macau



CapitalMacau
Official LanguageChinese & Portuguese
The PRC Sovereignty Transferation20 December 1999
Area29.2 km˛
Population546,200
CurrencyMacanese Pataca (MOP)
IDD Code+853

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Macau also spelled Macao is along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China. It lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south. The territory's economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism but also includes manufacturing.

Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of "one country, two systems", the PRC's Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty. According to the CIA factbook, Macau has the highest life expectancy in the world.

Before the Portuguese settlement in the early 16th century, Macau was known as Haojing (Oyster Mirror) or Jinghai (Mirror Sea). The name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple, a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu — the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied Ma Kok. The Portuguese then named the peninsula "Macau". The present Chinese name "Ao Men" means "Inlet Gates".

Macau Peninsula
Macau Peninsula
Cotai
Cotai
Coloane
Coloane
Taipa
Taipa