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Macau History

Macau was founded in 1557 by the Portuguese and it was a major trading port between the Far East and Europe. As the Dutch were strongly positioned in the area they tried several times to conquer Macau, but failed every time. In 1670 Macau was confirmed as a Portuguese possession by the Chinese. Macau slowly started to go in decline as the British established firm control in the area as they took over Hong Kong. Hong Kong soon became the most important trading link between the Far East and Europe and Macau became more of a holiday place then a trading power.

Macau remained a colony of Portugal till 1976 when the Portuguese redefined Macau as a 'Special Territory' and granted it a large measure of administrative and economic independence. In 1985, following the Hong Kong example, the Portuguese announced the opening of negotiations with Beijing on the transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic. The final settlement, which was ratified in January 1988, provided for a handover on 20 December 1999 after which Macau like Hong Kong became a 'Special Administrative Region' within China. Since the take over the main industry which provides over half the income for the country is gambling. Many of the Chinese triad gangs came over the island and are associated with the gambling and violence on the island. In 2002, the government tried to take some of the control away from the gangs and opened three licensed casino.

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