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Old Hong Kong

1841Preliminary cession of Hong Kong Island to the UK (Lord Palmerston remarked that Hong Kong was a barren rock with hardly a house upon it).
1842Cession of Hong Kong Island - founded as a Crown Colony.
1860Cession of Kowloon.
1898Lease of the New Territories including Lantau and outlying islands.
1984UK agrees to return the New Territories / Kowloon / Hong Kong when the lease term expires.
1997Lease expired.
Playing the Erhu c1901

Black and white original or Colourised photographs of Hong Kong. In chronological order.

1842 - Treaty of Nanking

Treaty of Nanking signing C1842

HK Island & Kowloon (c1900)

Hong Kong Island c1900
Kowloon c1900

Cambridge University Library

Reclaimed land

To date, 67 km2 of land has been reclaimed in Hong Kong.

Note the reclaimed land in Victoria Harbour.

In 1841, British troops made camp at a site which is now inland - Hollywood Road Park.

Victoria Harbour

1900 & 2016 photographs

Old Kowloon New Kowloon

Images for desktop

tea picking

Octopus card

The steeping of tea leaves, in hot water, as a drink, originated in China, circa 2700BC.
In Cantonese, tea is "chá", hence the English "a cup of char".
In the early 19th century the British East India Company cultivated tea in India.

Colonial buildings

Having been a British colony for more than 100 years Hong Kong has many colonial buildings.
Colonial buildings, in the Central District, are within walking distance of each other.

Click on map location for link text.

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22.28184784, 114.15409382
22.2812135, 114.1545009
22.2803618, 114.1561618
22.2786766, 114.1574514
22.278584, 114.159933
22.28092, 114.1603781
22.280792, 114.165578

No postcode

The first post office was founded on August 28, 1841, in Central, near the current site of St John’s Cathedral. In 1862, the first set of Hong Kong postage stamps was issued.

Hong Kong officials briefly considered introducing a postcode in 2000, but shelved the idea, concluding the city is so condensed and small that a postal worker could still hand-deliver letters and packages without it

Mail sent from mainland China to Hong Kong bears the postcode 999077. But almost no one uses this designation for mail sent within Hong Kong. When mail from overseas going to the city requires that a postcode be filled out, one can use 00000.

Macau, also lacks a postcode, mail going from the mainland to Macau is assigned 999078.


Hong Kong was established as a free trading port in 1841, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Britain began issuing special coinage. Later that decade, HSBC and Standard Chartered began to circulate the Hong Kong dollar. Since 1972 the HK$ has been pegged to the US$, the 2 currencies were pegged at 7.8000 in 1983. Under a trading band created in 2005, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is compelled to step in to buy the local currency to prop it up once it reaches 7.8500 per US$, or to do the converse if the city’s currency strengthens to 7.7500 per US$.

Hong Kong has 3 money-printing commercial banks: Bank of China, HSBC and Standard Chartered. All coins and HK$10 notes are issued by the Hong Kong government, but each of the 3 banks issues its own designs for the HK$20, HK$50, HK$100, HK$500, and HK$1,000 notes.

Macau also circulates the Hong Kong dollar, contributing to the currency’s status as the 13th most traded in the world as of 2016.

As far back as the early 1600s, the word 'shroff' is in English.
Appearing in Indian colonial writings, referring to local Asian bankers or money changers.
In the Far East, 'shroff' referred to a native teller or silver expert.
In Hong Kong, shroff refers to a cashier, cashier’s office or payment booth.

Links to other pages

Yeung Hau Temple was probably built in 1699 or earlier and is one of the oldest temples in Tai O.

Tung Chung Fort, called the Tung Chung Battalion in the Qing Dynasty, was a naval headquarters.
The carved granite slab, above the entrance, gives 1832 as the Fort date.

The Jardines Noonday Gun is located on the first plot of land to be sold by public auction in Hong Kong (1841).

The Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens were opened to the public in 1864.

Hong Kong from Mui Wo