Hong Kong History

Before you scroll down for the Hong Kong History Timeline, take a look at Hong Kong in 2013:

A Hong Kong History Timeline

1842: Following the end of the first Opium War with China, the Treaty of Nanking ceded Hong Kong to Britain in perpetuity.

1860: The Second Opium War results in the British extending their control over Kowloon and Stonecutters Island.

1898: Britain acquired the New Territories on a 99-year lease.

1938 : The Japanese occupied Canton (Guangzhou) in the Sino-Japanese War, leaving Hong Kong effectively surrounded.

1941: Eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour, on 8th December, Japan invaded Hong Kong. The territory was defended by local troops as well as British, Canadian and Indian units. In less than a week the ‘Gin Drinkers Line’ of defense was breached and the New Territories and Kowloon were lost. Less than two weeks later,on Christmas Day 1941, the British army surrendered and The Battle of Hong Kong was over.


1945: Following Japan’s surrender on August 14, Britain reclaimed the territory. (The Gwulo website covers some of the post-war period.)

1984: The Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China agreed that the sovereignty of Hong Kong would revert back to China in 1997. On June 4th 1989 the crack-down on the student protest in Tiananmen Square raised the concerns of the Hong Kong public as to what life under the post 1997-Government would mean. This date is still commemorated in Hong Kong with an annual public march and vigil.

1997: From July 1 Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. Although the ‘one country, two systems’ was guaranteed for 50 years under the Basic Law, Beijing has chosen to (re) ‘interpret’ the position on some controversial issues and the progression towards democracy has been slow, resulting in protests and the Occupy Central movement. The 1st July protest march in 2014 was reported to be the largest for a decade.


Hong Kong History Visible Today

A good way to see the history of ‘old’ Hong Kong is to join a walking tour, such as:

The pre-1997 colonial government preserved their place in Hong Kong History by naming landmarks after their most senior officials and Governors. For example, how many of these names have you seen on Hong Kong street signs?


Hong Kong Museum of History

Sir Charles Elliot, Alexander Robert Johnston, Sir Henry Pottinger, Alexander Robert Johnston, Sir Henry Pottinger, Sir John Davis, William Staveley, Sir George Bonham, Sir John Bowring, William Caine, Sir Hercules Robinson, William Thomas Mercer, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, Henry Wase Whitfield, Sir Arthur Kennedy, John Gardiner Austin, Sir John Pope Hennessy, Malcolm Struan Tonnochy, Sir William Henry Marsh, Sir George Bowen, Sir William Henry Marsh, William Gordon Cameron, Sir William Des Voeux’, Sir George Digby Barker, Sir William Robinson, Sir Wilsone Black, Sir Henry Arthur Blake, Sir Francis Henry May, Sir Matthew Nathan, Sir Francis Henry May, Sir Frederick Lugard, Claud Severn, Sir Francis Henry May, Sir Reginald Edward Stubbs, Sir Cecil Clementi, Thomas Southorn, Sir William Peel, Norman Lockhart Smith, Sir Andrew Caldecott, Norman Lockhart Smith, Sir Geoffry Northcote’ Sir Mark Young, Sir Franklin Gimson, Sir Cecil Harcourt, Sir Mark Young, David Mercer MacDougall, Sir Alexander Grantham, Edgeworth Beresford David, Sir Robert Brown Black, Edmund Brinsley Teesdale, Sir David C.C. Trench, Sir Hugh Norman-Walker, Sir Murray MacLehose, Sir Philip Haddon-Cave, Sir Edward Youde, Sir David Akers-Jones, Sir David Wilson,
Chris Patten.

Some Hong Kong place names have or had some much less distinguished origins!

For more Hong Kong history visit the Hong Kong Museum of History or go to hkmemory.hk

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