Record ID: 176

Site Name

Hong Kong

Type

Seaport - other

Description

city and special administrative zone of China (area: 399 sq mi/1,034 sq km; 1997 est. pop. 6,300,000), adjacent to Guangdong prov., SE China, on the estuary of the Pearl R., 40 mi/64 km E of Macao and 90 mi/145 km SE of Guangzhou� [It] was leased to Britain from China (under Br. pressure) in 1898 for 99 years. China regained sovereignty of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997� Hong Kong has many natural harbors, that of Victoria (area: c.17 sq mi/44 sq km) being among the world�s finest. In the past cent., part of Victoria Harbor has been reclaimed from the sea, mainly on the Kowloon side. Additional reclamation is planned to create space for highways, buildings, and parks. The colony grew around this sheltered deepwater port, and an estimated 75% of the pop. is concentrated here and on the Kowloon peninsula across the harbor. Hong Kong is a free port, and the world�s biggest container port, a bustling trade center, and a shipping and banking emporium�a principal trading and transshipment center of E Asia and the Pacific Rim (half of U.S.-China trade passes through it). Shipping continues to be a major function, and Hong Kong is often cited as the world�s largest container port� The region of Hong Kong, which had long been barren, rocky, and sparsely settled�its many isls. and inlets a haven for coastal pirates�was occupied by the British during the Opium War (1839�1842). The area prospered as an E-W trading center, the commercial gateway to, and distribution center for, S China�