The Transformation of Macau
The Transformation of Macau can divide into six phases during the Portuguese ruled those about five centuries, they changed in the social, economic, cultural, and political complexions. They are as follows:
1. The first phase was in 1557~1640, Macau grew from a primitive encampment of temporary buildings to develop one of the commercial nodes of Asian maritime trade, in this period, Macau had become the most important gateway to China. This was the golden age of the city.
2. The second phase was in 1640~1750, there were the catastrophes in Macau, because Japan closed the entrance to the West in 1639, the Dutch assault on the Portuguese Asian empire climaxing in the conquest of Malacca in 1640, the Qing conquest of the Ming in 1644, and the Portuguese revolt from Spain in 1640, these reasons made a prolonged decline from the city’s commercial prosperity, the economy collapsed and the population declined in Macau, the culture and society became insular increasingly.
3. The third phase was in 1750~1840, Macau had depended on itself, so there had had more autonomous socially and economically, but also still could survive without the Southern Asia and China trade of prosperity. In this time, Macau became a refuge for European traders and Protestant missionaries, and they were focused on the growing trade at Canton.
4. The fourth phase was in 1840~1950, because of the Opium War, British got Hong Kong, and China open to Western trade in the 1840s. Macau became a backwater no longer significant politically or commercially increasingly. Between 1850s and the 1870s, it relied on the coolie traffic, light industries such as matches and fireworks, and gambling. Chinese immigration increased the population and altered the social complexion. Macau became a Chinese city increasingly.
5. The fifth phase was in 1950~1980, the monopolistic syndicate controlled the gambling, because the development of tourism, growth of light manufacturing industry, and the cheap labor. The population was Chinese predominantly, so a small minority of Macanese and even smaller cadre of Portuguese colonial personnel. New buildings began to transform the quaint cultural and architectural character of the city, and new modern apartment buildings sprang up along the hillsides. The construction of office buildings, hotels, and casinos, the older colonial architecture was threatened with destruction increasingly.
6. The sixth phase in 1980~1993, because of Macau would revert to full Chinese sovereignty on 20th December, 1999. Some large apartment appeared in the city, older commercial zones experienced accelerated renovation, and large office buildings and hotels were constructed. Rapid economic, social, demographic, architectural, geographic, cultural, and political developments began to move Macau into a new role as commercial and financial activity capable of taking its place beside Hong Kong as a gateway to the rapidly developing south China coastal region.
The transformation of Demography, Land use and urbanization, Economic and Financial Development, Transportation, Political change
The population of Macau grew from about 170,000 in 1960 to approximately 250,000 in 1970 and to more than 450,000 in 1990. Population growth has changed the character of the city both qualitatively and quantitatively. The workers attracted by new economic opportunities, and illegal immigration from the mainland. These demographic changed have engendered serious social and economic consequences.
Land use and urbanization
Population growth has been accommodated partly by landfill and conversion of land to commercial, industrial, and high-rise residential use. In 1980s, agricultural and undeveloped land has disappeared on the Macau peninsula. There were some projects have begun to set up international airport, port and oil terminal, a ferry terminal, industrial development, tourist facilities, new casinos, hotels, and shopping malls by Macau, Hong Kong, and Chinese investors. The island of Taipa has become the site for the construction of a new city, and built the second bridge to connect Macau and Taipa, while Coloane is likewise undergoing development as a tourist area with hotels and a Country Club. The city has become one vast building site, relegating the old, cosy image of Macau to the history books.
Economic and Financial Development
Macau’s economy, since the mid-nineteenth century and dependent on marginal light manufacturing such as fireworks, matches, furniture, and toys, and on tourism and gambling. Industry, banking, commerce, and transportation have become important areas of development. Tourism and gambling provide the largest share of Macau’s revenue.
The most critical development in this respect is the new international airport, the port and a ferry terminal. They are expected to transform Macau into a major economic force in the Pearl River Delta, alongside Hong Kong and Canton one of the great gateways to China.
Although 85% of the nine thousand members of the civil service come from the local population, more than half of the highest ranking officials and professional administrators, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers are Portuguese, and the majority of the middle and upper ranks of civil servants are Macanese whose cannot read Chinese. Macau’s sovereignty and autonomy were always ambiguous, and from the beginning Chinese officials exercised control over many aspects of Macau’s political and commercial affairs. After 1999, there are one country two system, and fifty years not change in Macau China has exerted strong pressure on the government to incorporate local Chinese into the administration. Full Chinese sovereignty, symbolic political and cultural changes are being implemented. New coins and new identity cards have been issued with Portuguese emblems removed, and Chinese has become official language.
Jonathan Porter, The Transformation of Macau, Pacific Affairs, VOI. 66, No.1. (Spring, 1993
), pp. 7-20.