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Dive into the history of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a fascinating city with an equally interesting history. The ‘New York of Asia’ was once a humble fishing village. Over time it evolved into a strategic military port and then grew into the busy Hong Kong of today: one of the largest financial centres in the world.

The Hong Kong that we know today emerged after the defeat of China’s Qing dynasty. After the First Opium War in 1842, Hong Kong was relinquished to Great Britain and became a British colony. In 1898, Kowloon, the New Territories and 235 remote islands were leased to Great Britain for 99 years. In 1997, Hong Kong was handed back to China.

The view of Hong Kong
The view of Hong Kong


A glimpse of Hong Kong’s colonial past

The freedom of Hong Kong

Under the motto ‘One country, two systems’, Hong Kong is a special administrative region within the People’s Republic of China. Thanks to this arrangement, Hong Kong has been able to preserve a great deal of autonomy and maintains its capitalist system, an independent judicial system and constitutional state, free trade and freedom of expression.
The Hong Kong skyline at sunset

Millions of years of history

The best place to start your visit to Hong Kong is at the Hong Kong Museum of History: here you will find 400 million years of history under one roof. Spend a few hours in the museum to gain a better understanding of the city and its history. The permanent exhibit ‘The Story of Hong Kong’ offers a lively overview of Hong Kong’s history, local traditions and culture. The museum displays more than 45,000 artefacts divided into 4 main categories: archaeology, local history, ethnography and natural history.
Hong Kong Museum of History

Photo credits

  • A glimpse of Hong Kong’s colonial past: Attila Jandi, Shutterstock