About Hong Kong

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About Hong Kong

Hong Kong consists of three regions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories.

After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. After it was occupied by Japan in the Second World War (1941–45), the British resumed control until 30 June 1997. As a result of negotiations between China and Britain, Hong Kong was transferred to the People’s Republic of China under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The territory became China’s first provincial-level special administrative region with a high degree of autonomy on 1 July 1997 under the principle of one country, two systems.

Hong Kong Population

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At mid-2014, the population of Hong Kong was 7.24 million, including 7.03 million Usual Residents and 0.22 million Mobile Residents. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world. The land population density as at mid-2014 stood at 6 690 persons per square kilometre, and Kwun Tong, with 57 250 persons per square kilometre, was the most densely populated district among the District Council districts. There were 858 males per 1 000 females. The median age of the total population was 42.8.

Reclamation of Hong Kong

The reclamation of land from the sea has long been used in mountainous Hong Kong to ameliorate the limited supply of usable land with a total of around 60 square kilometres of land created by 1996.The first reclamations can be traced back to the early Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), when beaches were turned into fields for salt production. Major land reclamation projects have been conducted since the mid-19th century.

Starting from 1841, there was a lot of reclamation works done in order to create more land supply.For example, in Central, there were a battery and lot of cannons in Queen’s Road Central. If there were no reclamation, Hong Kong would not have become a financial centre now. Meanwhile in Wan Chai, the original coastline is Queen’s Road East. The tramway, Southorn Playground, and the Exhibition Centre all are located on the reclaim land.

One of the earliest and best-known modern projects was the Praya Reclamation Scheme, which added 50 to 60 acres (240,000 m2) of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken during the Colonial Hong Kong era.

The project was first proposed in 1855. There were many merchants with private piers on the waterfront who objected to the scheme.

The first reclamation project actually began in 1868. It was completed in 1873, adding significant land to Praya Central, which later became present day Des Voeux Road.

In the picture below, the Central District reclamation works at the completion stage:
The reclamation was carried out between 1890 and 1904 to extend the praya north wards to the present Connaught Road. The original praya was then renamed Des Voeux Road to commemorate the Governor, Sir William Des Voeux. The second building on the righ in the background is Central Market:
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Connaught Road Central in 2015:
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the Hong Kong Island

The Hong Kong Island is the earliest developed area in Hong Kong. It is the commercial, political and financial centre of Hong Kong. And it is also the second biggest Island in the territory. The total area of the Island is 78.6 Sq. Kilometres. When the British occupied Hong Kong, they lived in the north of Hong Kong Island and named the harbour between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula “Victoria”. Since then, Victoria Harbour became a famous trading port in the world. The famous Victoria Peak is also located in the Island.

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Queen’s Road

Queen’s Road was built in 1842 to honour Queen Victoria. However, the street name is translated wrongly into Chinese. It is because the word “queen” in Chinese, can be translated as the actual queen (女皇) or the wife of the King (皇后) and the Hong Kong government chose the “wife of the King (皇后)” version.

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Queen's Road Central Ice House Street Modern

There are three parts of Queen’s Road:

  • Queen’s Road Central, from Des Vouex Road Central to the Possession Street, Sheung Wan.
  • Queen’s Road West, from Possession Street to Belcher Street.
  • Queen’s Road East, from Des Vouex Road Central to Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley
  • Queensway, after 1960, the Queens’ Road Eastfrom Des Vouex Road Central to Arsenal Street, Wan Chai was renamed “Queensway”

It is also known as “the big avenue” (大馬路) among old Hong Kong people.

Hollywood Road

Hollywood Road was the original coastline of Hong Kong and It is also the first road in Hong Kong, the road was named “hollywood” because there were a lot of hollywood trees in the area. In the picture below, it is Man Mo Temple at Hollywood Road, erected in 1847. The temple was built by the first group of local Chinese leaders, and was enlarged to its present size in 1851. The civil god Man Cheong and martial god Kwan Ti are worshiped. At the very beginning of the British rule, there were two sets of law system to regulate western and Chinese people. For the western people, they went to the court if there was any dispute. If there was a dispute between Chinese people, two side would go to the temple and swear in front of Kwan Ti. During the process of swearing, they need to chop a chicken head to show their sincerity. If one side would not willing to swear, another side would win.

Man Mo Temple in 1847
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Man Mo Temple in 2015
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Possession Street

In 1841, the Convention of Chuenpee was signed between the Qing Dynasty and Britain (A formal treaty, Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842). According to the Convention, The British ceased the Hong Kong Island and the harbour of Hong Kong as the Crown-Colony. Possession Street was the possession point of the British army. However, in Chinese, it was named 水坑口街, which means “water hole street”.

Possession Street in 1850
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Possession Street in 2015
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Sir Edward Belcher
On 26 January 1841, the then Commander Belcher landed on Possession Point at the north shore Hong Kong Island and made the first British survey of Hong Kong harbour. Belcher’s Street in Kennedy Town was named to honoured him.
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Sir James Bremer
Sir James Bremer took formal possession of Hong Kong Island for the United Kingdom in 1841. Bremer Hill in North Point was named to honoured him.
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Wellington Street

Wellington Street was named of Duke Wellington, the Cathedral of the Immaculate was established there in 1843 and was moved to Caine Road after a fire.

Wellington Street in 19th Century
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Wellington Street in 1950
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Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 1910
Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception, Hong Kong 1910
Wellington Street in 2015
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Pottinger Street

In 1858, the Hong Kong government built the street with slates and named “Pottinger”. It is to honoured Sir Henry Pottinger, the first governor of Hong Kong. The street is a linkage between Hollywood Road and Queen’s Road and because it was built with slates, therefore the Chinese called it “slates street”.
Sir Henry Pottinger
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Pottinger Street in 1925
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Pottinger Street in 2015
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Blake Pier

Blake Pier was established in 1902. It was name of the 12th Governor Henry Blake. It was removed from Central in 1965 and was moved to Stanley in 2006.

Blake Pier in 1920
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Blake Pier in 2015
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Wyndham Street

Wyndham Street in 1905
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Wyndham Street in 2015
Wyndham Street

Central Market

Central Market in 1895

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Central Market in 2015
Central Market

The Peak

The Peak

At the very beginning of the British rule, there were only a few people lived on the Peak. In 1867, Governor McDonnell set up a villa on the Peak. In 1880, there were only 40 houses there. However, because the weather in Hong Kong was too hot for the British, therefore, a number of British started to live on the Peak. In 1904, the Hong Kong government passed a law to prohibit Chinese people living on the Peak and the law was abolished in 1847.

The Peak in 1927
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The Peak in 2015
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The Peak Hotel in 1930
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View from the Peak 2015
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Litter was the only transport to the Peak before Peak Tram operates in 1888.

1870s litter
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1870s litter
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1920s litter in Central
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1920s litter
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The Price Edward Visit in 1922
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Litter in 1946
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Peak Tram 1888
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Peak Tram 2015
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