Civilopedia entry Edit
A city-state in its truest form for 99 years, Hong Kong (meaning “Fragrant Harbor”) is a great port on the Chinese coast. Now home to more than seven million residents, the island of Hong Kong and its mainland territory were once the site of numerous small settlements, including those constructed by foreign merchants. In fact, trade and commerce are the sole reason Hong Kong exists.
During the Jin dynasty, the village on the island evolved into a regional trading center thanks to its sheltered harbor and nearby salt production. During the 300-year Tang dynasty, Hong Kong flourished as an international port; the Tuen Mun district became a major naval base. In 1513 AD the Portuguese Jorge Álvares arrived, opening trade with Europe. But under the Ming dynasty Haijin edict (closed-door policy), the city began to fade. Until the British took a (heavy) hand.
During the reign of the Chinese Qing dynasty in the 19th Century, relations with England degenerated amidst growing concern over the importation of Indian opium into China. Britain had hoped to offset its increasingly expensive tea trade from China by exporting ever greater amounts of opium from India into China. However, the Qing rulers objected, and attempted to seize incoming opium shipments, thus inciting the Opium Wars in 1839.
After many years of conflict, the Treaty of Nanking provided the United Kingdom with various spoils, including a 99-year lease on Hong Kong. Prospering as a British colony for a century, Hong Kong was finally returned to China in 1997, after a peaceful transfer of power. Despite the avowed communism of the People's Republic, Hong Kong maintains a semi-autonomous system of government that supports free trade, and the city remains one of civilization’s financial hubs.