Macau, China is one of the amazing countries in the world. No other city on the planet has a unique mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultural influence. It was the first and last European colony in Asia. Macau’s history is rich like no other.
Macau’s GDP per capita surpasses all other GDP per capita of all other countries in the world. That is why Macau is considered as the richest country in the globe. The funny thing is that residents of Macau aren’t wealthier than other citizens elsewhere, but they live longer and healthier than the rest of the world.
These are not the only records Macau breaks. Its landmass is also relatively small with a high population. In fact, Macau is the most densely populated area in the world. The funny thing is that they have the lowest birth rates with 25% of the working class being Chinese immigrants.
Also, it is the only Asian country where you will find Portuguese being the official language. This emanates from the fact that it was a Portuguese colony. Precisely, it is a Chinese special administrative region. It is also very close to mainland China that you are able to essentially see Hong Kong from your window. So what is Macau like?
The History of Macau
During the early 1550s, one of the Portuguese merchants sailed through the Pearl River delta in search of a trading post in the southern part of China. The Ming dynasty granted them land in 1557 under an agreement that stated that it would be under the Guangdong province jurisdiction of the Chinese officials. Things remained like this until 1887 when the Portuguese leased the land for 40 years. It was after this that Macau became a Portuguese colony.
From the time that the Portuguese stepped on the Macau shores, they were given special rights and commanded higher social status than the Chinese locals. This attracted a lot of unrest among the Chinese which sometimes escalated to violent outbursts like the ones that led to the assassination of governor Ferreira in 1849.
In the course of the communist cultural revolution in China, a riot broke out in Macau leading to a decline in Portuguese sovereignty. After the “Carnation period” in Portugal in 1974, the Portuguese government declared their intentions of returning the governance of Macau back to the Chinese government.
A deal was finally reached in 1987 when the two parties signed a plan to link Macau to the original mainland. In the following 12 years, the city transitioned into the Chinese rule with the official handover taking place on 20th December 1999. Now, Macau is part of “one country, two systems policy” like Hong Kong.
Macau Economy and Trade
In the last more than 20 years, Macau’s economy has shot up at alarming rates thanks to strong industries and gaming businesses. The multiple resorts and hotels that have come up during this period are a big indicator of its economic growth.
Still, with an aura of a city, Macau is a bed of many financial crimes and other shady businesses. Also, there are strong indicators that the Chinese tycoons use Macau as their major conduit of money laundering along with other unrecorded import/export deals.
As more and more tourists continue to pour in the country, the future of Macau seems to be even brighter. People from all corners of the world visit Macau every year to witness its unique mixture of western and eastern architecture and culture.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a very big role. Up to date, Macau is known to be a recommendable importer of goods from China including food, electronics, textiles, clothing, and other consumer goods.
Food and Social Stratification
Macanese cuisine is a highly admired fusion of Portuguese and Mediterranean foods with some African and Indian influence. You may be wondering about the Chinese influence but in terms of foods, the Chinese influence was not that effective. Their cuisine is still popular in the Chinese population and in Hong Kong.
The culture of Macau China is largely Chinese, though it is significantly influenced by the Portuguese elites and some urban cultures.
To Sum up
Macau’s history is full of exciting facts as a trading post and its colonial legacy quietly influencing its current culture and cuisine. But what is Macau like today? Tourism is up and its gaming and the overall economy is doing very well.