Official name Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Região Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese) (Macau Special Administrative Region)
Political status special administrative region (China) with one legislative house (Legislative Assembly )
Head of state President of China: Hu Jintao
Head of government Chief Executive: Chui Sai On
Official languages Chinese; Portuguese
Official religion none
Monetary unit pataca (MOP)2
Population (2014 est.) 621,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 11.5
Total area (sq km) 29.9
- Urban: (2010) 100%
- Rural: (2010) 0%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2007–2010) 79.4 years
- Female: (2007–2010) 85.2 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: not available
- Female: not available
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2010) 45,460
1Includes 14 directly elected seats, 7 seats appointed by the chief executive, and 12 seats appointed by business and special-interest groups.
2Pegged to the Hong Kong dollar at a rate of 1 HK$ = MOP 1.03.
Background of Macau
Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.
Macau, special administrative region (Pinyin: tebie xingzhengqu; Wade-Giles romanization: t’e-pieh hsing-cheng-ch’ü) of China, on the country’s southern coast. Macau is located on the southwestern corner of the Pearl (Zhu) River (Chu Chiang) estuary (at the head of which is the port of Guangzhou [Canton]) and stands opposite the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which is some 25 miles (40 km) away on the eastern side of the estuary. Macau comprises a small, narrow peninsula projecting from the mainland province of Guangdong and includes the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Extending up a hillside is the city of Macau, which occupies almost the entire peninsula. The name Macau, or Macao (Pinyin: Aomen; Wade-Giles romanization: Ao-men), is derived from the Chinese Ama-gao, or “Bay of Ama,” for Ama, the patron goddess of sailors.
Geography of Macau
Macau Peninsula connects to Taipa by bridge, and Taipa and Coloane are linked by a causeway, which traverses Duck Channel, a distributary of the Xi River estuary. Both the peninsula and the islands consist of small granite hills surrounded by limited areas of flatland, which is used for agriculture. The original natural vegetation was evergreen tropical forest before the hills were stripped for firewood and construction. No part of Macau reaches any great elevation; the highest point, 565 feet (172 metres), is at Coloane Peak (Coloane Alto) on Coloane. There are no permanent rivers, and water is either collected during rains or piped in from the mainland.
Macau lies just within the tropics, and it has a monsoonal (wet-dry) climate. Four-fifths of its total average annual rainfall of 83 inches (2,120 mm) falls within the summer rainy season (April–September), when the southwest monsoon blows. Temperatures reach 84 °F (29 °C) in the summer and fall to 59 °F (15 °C) in winter. Besides being rainy, the summer months are also hot, humid, and unpleasant. Winters, on the other hand, are somewhat cooler and less humid and can be delightful.
Demography of Macau
Nearly all the population, of which a great majority live on the Macau Peninsula, are ethnic Chinese; there are also small groups of other Asians (mainly Filipinos and people of mixed Chinese and Portuguese ancestry (often called Macanese). However, the once-significant Portuguese minority has been reduced to only a small proportion of the population. Of the ethnic Chinese, the vast majority are Cantonese speakers, and a few speak Hakka. Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese are both official languages; English is also commonly spoken. A large number of the people in Macau profess no religious affiliation. Of those practicing a religion, the Chinese are primarily Buddhist, while others adhere to Daoism and Confucianism or combinations of the three; among the small number of Christians the great majority are Roman Catholics. Virtually the entire population is classed as urban, and Macau is one of the most densely populated places in the world.
Economy of Macau
The service sector dominates the economy, employing about three-fourths of the total labour force. There are few natural resources, an exception being fish in the Pearl River estuary, which are used for local needs. Agriculture is minimal; small quantities of vegetables are grown, and there is some poultry raising (chickens and eggs). However, Macau is a free port, and trade is vital. The mainland is of major importance as a supplier of food and inexpensive consumer goods, and a 2004 agreement with China that eliminated tariffs on many of Macau’s goods has helped increase exports to the mainland. Much of Macau’s imports consist of raw materials or semifinished goods for manufacturing purposes. Other imports include machinery and apparatuses, and imported petroleum provides most of the power for domestic electric generation; however, some two-thirds of Macau’s power requirements must be imported from Guangdong. Apparel and textile fabrics are the primary exports, and reexports constitute a small but significant proportion of the total value of exports. China is Macau’s principal trading partner; trade with the United States and Hong Kong is also significant. In 1991 Macau became a member of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, now the World Trade Organization.
In 1989 the Monetary and Foreign Exchange Authority of Macau replaced the Instituto Emissor de Macau as regulator of the currency, the Macau pataca, which is pegged to the Hong Kong dollar. Commercial and foreign banks, as well as banks of issue and a banking association, constitute Macau’s banking and financial system. Since the mid-1990s the government has made efforts to attract foreign investors and thus diversify the economy away from its heavy reliance on tourism.
Nonetheless, tourism and gambling are the most important components of Macau’s overall economy, and the region in effect serves as the playground of nearby Hong Kong and, increasingly, the Chinese mainland. High-speed hydrofoils, as well as some traditional but slower river ferries, carry tourists from Hong Kong and Shenzhen (just north of Hong Kong) to Macau’s numerous gambling casinos, bars, hotels, and other attractions. Internal transport is good, and there are local ferries between the peninsula and the islands. Following the December 1999 transfer of administrative status from Portugal to China, Macau remained a free and open port. An international airport became operational in Macau in 1995.
Government and Society of Macau
overnment, system of social control under which the right to make laws, and the right to enforce them, is vested in a particular group in society. There are many classifications of government. According to the classical formula, governments are distinguished by whether power is held by one man, a few, or a majority. Today, it is common to distinguish between types of government on the basis of institutional organization and the degree of control exercised over the society. Organizationally, governments may be classified into parliamentary or presidential systems, depending on the relationship between executive and legislature. Government may also be classified according to the distribution of power at different levels. It may be unitary—i.e., with the central government controlling local affairs—or it may be federated or confederated, according to the degree of autonomy of local government. The basic law determining the form of government is called the constitution and may be written, as in the United States, or largely unwritten, as in Great Britain. Modern governments perform many functions besides the traditional ones of providing internal and external security, order, and justice; most are involved in providing welfare services, regulating the economy, and establishing educational systems. The extreme case of governmental regulation of every aspect of people's lives is totalitarianism.
See R. M. MacIver, The Web of Government (rev. ed. 1965); S. H. Beer, Patterns of Government (3d ed. 1973); G. A. Almond and G. B. Powell, Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach (1966); S. E. Finer, Comparative Government (1970).
Culture Life of Macau
Chinese culture predominates, overlaid by a veneer of Portuguese architecture (notably churches and cathedrals) and customs. Chinese temples and shrines coexist with restored villas from the colonial period. Barrier Gate, which links Macau Peninsula to the mainland, is a popular spot for tourists, as are such early 17th-century structures as Monte Fort and the nearby ruined facade of St. Paul’s Cathedral (destroyed 1835). The historic buildings on the peninsula collectively were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.
As is the case in Hong Kong, Cantonese pop (“canto-pop”) is a popular form of music. Spectator sports include both dog and horse racing. The Macau Grand Prix attracts numerous international competitors and fans of motor racing. Macau’s major sports complexes include the Macau Olympic Complex and the Macau East Asian Games Dome; the latter was built for the 2005 East Asian Games, hosted by Macau. Football (soccer), track and field, volleyball, and roller hockey are popular team and individual sports. In the 1990s Macau hosted several roller hockey world championships.
The former Luís de Camões Museum, named for the Portuguese poet and writer of the epic Os Lusíadas, was in a 17th-century house that once was used by the British East India Company; its collections are now part of the Macau Museum of Art (opened 1999) and feature Chinese pottery, paintings, and artifacts. Adjacent to the art museum is the Macau Cultural Centre (opened 1999), with several performance and exhibition venues. Also of note is the Museum of Macau (opened 1998) in the Monte Fort compound, which has exhibits on the history of the region.
Local radio stations in Macau (one state-run) and a state-run television station broadcast programs in Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese. In addition, cable and satellite television broadcasting is available, and television and radio broadcasts also come from Hong Kong. Several daily newspapers are circulated; most are published in Chinese, but a handful are in Portuguese and English. Internet use is widespread, and mobile-telephone usage is ubiquitous.
History of Macau
The colony's name is derived from the Ma Kwok temple, built there in the 14th cent. Macao was the oldest permanent European settlement in East Asia. It was a parched and desolate spot when the Portuguese established a trading post there in 1557. For nearly 300 years the Portuguese paid China an annual tribute for the use of the peninsula, but in 1849 Portugal proclaimed it a free port; this was confirmed by China in the Protocol of Lisbon in 1887. With the gradual silting up of its harbor and the rise (19th cent.) of Hong Kong, Macao lost its preeminent position and became identified to a large extent with smuggling and gambling interests.
After 1949 the population was swelled by an influx of Chinese refugees from the mainland. In the winter of 1966–67, Communist-organized riots shook the province, resulting in a capitulation by the Portuguese to Chinese demands to bar entry to refugees and prohibit anti-Communist activities. In 1974, Macao was established as a Chinese territory under Portuguese administration; the Chinese refused to accept the return of the territory at the time. A real-estate boom in the early 1990s had largely waned by the end of the decade, but with end of the monopoly in its gambling industry the territory began a new period of real-estate and economic growth. Under the terms of a 1987 agreement, Macao became a special administrative region under Chinese sovereignty in Dec., 1999. Macao has been promised 50 years of noninterference in its economic and social systems.
Macua also spelled Makua or Makhuwa, a Bantu language that is closely related to Lomwe and is spoken in northern Mozambique. The Bantu languages form a subgroup of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Makua had about six million speakers in the late 20th century, and Lomwe two million.
Macau’s Return to China: Year In Review 1999
At a formal handover ceremony on Dec. 20, 1999, Macau, the last remaining dependent state in Asia and, therefore, the final vestige of European colonialism in the region, reverted to Chinese sovereignty after 442 years of Portuguese rule. The new Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR)—including the Macau Peninsula, Taipa Island, and Coloane Island—followed the path set by Hong Kong, which was handed over to China in 1997 after 156 years of British rule.
Macau SAR, a 23.6-sq km (9.1-sq mi) territory with a population of more than 430,000, was to be ruled under China’s “one country, two systems” model, with a Basic Law similar to the Hong Kong SAR’s. Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a 44-year-old Canadian-educated banker and businessman, was elected chief executive by a special selection committee in May and approved by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji. Ho, assisted by an Executive Council, would govern with the existing Legislative Council of 23 members (8 directly elected, 8 indirectly elected, and 7 appointed) until scheduled elections to an expanded 27-member Legislative Council (10 directly elected, 10 indirectly, and 7 appointed) were held in October 2001.
The handover was welcomed in Macau, as were the 500 Chinese troops that crossed the border the following day. For several years Macau had been plagued by triad gang violence, much of it related to the enclave’s popular gambling casinos. Local security forces also expelled several members of the religious sect Falun Gong, which was banned in China but legal in Macau, to prevent protests during the handover festivities.
by: Melinda C. Shepherd
This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, ,, , , ,, , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , ,, , , , and the .
Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.