December 20 – Anniversary of Macau's Transfer to the People's Republic of China

Posted on December 20, 2013

It was the last European colony in Asia. It is the world's biggest gambling center. It is one of the world's richest cities.

 And I've rarely run across the name “Macau”!

On this date in 1999, Macau ceased being ruled by Portugal; it became the second Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China. (The first, in 1997, was Hong Kong, which is just a ferry ride away from Macau.) Like Hong Kong, Macau keeps its own legal system, police force, and money, and in many ways it is an independent nation (a sort of city-state). However, China is responsible for its defense and foreign affairs.

This facade is all that is left of Macau's St.
Paul's Cathedral. It looks flat and empty
because it IS flat and empty!
Macau has its own dialect of Portuguese (Macanese Portuguese) and a creole language known as Palua. (A creole is a true language created from two languages, in this case of course Portuguese and Cantonese Chinese.) Even though there are mixtures of language, the population is almost entirely Chinese.

Why is Macau so very rich? Why is it such a popular tourist destination that its entire economy is based on tourism? So popular that, for several years at least, construction companies were building 16 new hotel rooms PER DAY in Macau!

Well, it's the only place in China where you can legally gamble. And there are more than a billion people living in China!

Macau is sort of the Las Vegas of China. The largest casino in Macau, the Venetian, is owned by the Las Vegas Sands. And guess what? It is the largest casino in the world (and the sixth largest building of any kind).

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