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Fun Facts of Hong Kong History

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Hong Kong

The name Hong Kong means in the Chinese language the "Fragrant Port". How did this place come to have such a beautiful name? There are several different legends about the origin of this name. The most reliable one according to popular opinion is that this place was once a port for the transit and distribution of incense, which is an aromatic substance, such as a gum or wood, that burns with a pleasant odor. During the Ming Dynasty, Dong Guan, Bao An (renamed Shen Zhen in 1979) and adjacent places produced in great abundance a kind of incense which appealed to great numbers of people and found markets in the Jiangsu province, the Zhejiang province, and many other regions of the country. Since incense merchants generally loaded their cargoes on ships at the northern part of the coast of this island to be sent to the Guangzhou city and the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, people began to call this port the incense port. As the noun "incense" and the adjective "fragrant" are identical in the Chinese language, the port was considered later to mean a fragrant port, though it was connected only with the sale and transshipment of a commodity that had fragrance. The village in the vicinity of the port was likewise called the "Fragrant Port Village".

After the British aggressors landed at the southern part of the coast of the island, they marched northward, guided by a local inhabitant. When they went by the Fragrant Port Village, a British officer asked about the name of the village. The guide answered: "Hong Kong", in his local dialect. The officer noted down the name according to the guide's pronunciation. It was applied to the whole island as its proper name later.

In the 22nd year of the reign of Emperor Dao Guang of the Qing Dynasty, i.e. the year 1842, the Opium War between China and Britain ended in the defeat of the Qing Court. The Treaty of Nanjing was signed, by which the island of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain. In the 10th year of the reign of Emperor Xian Feng, i.e. the year 1860, the Kowloon Peninsula was also ceded to Britain. In the 24th year of the reign of Emperor Guang Xu, i.e. the year 1898, the New Territories were also ceded in lease to Britain, whereby the entire area of Hong Kong fell under British control, and the name of Hong Kong was further widened in application to become that of the entire area mentioned above.

Since the 17th century, the British began running opium to China and Hong Kong gradually became one important transferring point used by the British to transfer opium to China.

Hong Kong

When the first census was taken by the British Army, the total population of Hong Kong was fifteen thousand people. Beginning from June, 1843 and ending in 1992, Britain appointed successively twenty-eight governors to rule and control Hong Kong. At 5 p.m. June 30, 1997, Christopher Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong left the Government house of Hong Kong, and the sovereignty over the island reverted to the People's Republic of China. Among the twenty-eight governors of the past era, one served only for a term of one year and one served for as long as 10 years. Some governors' names have been made the names of roads so as to be kept in the memory of the Hong Kong people. Each of the twenty-eight governors received an annual salary as high as three hundred thousand U. S. dollars, all being paid by Hong Kong taxpayers.

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