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Macau's Early History

Human History Dates Back 5,000 Years

Macau was a port of refuge, fresh water, and food for merchant sailors until it was settled by refugees fleeing Mongol invaders in 1277.

Year:  1644

The evidence of human history in Macau stretches back 5,000 years with artifacts being discovered on Coloane Island.   Written evidence shows that the Macau area was administered under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.).  Other references show mentions of Macau under the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.).

Since the 5th century, merchant ships travelling between Southeast Asia and Guangzhou used the region as a port of refuge, fresh water, and food.  The first recorded inhabitants of the area are some 50,000 people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols in 1277.

Mong Ha has long been the center of Chinese life in Macau and the site of what may be the region’s oldest temple, a shrine devoted to the Buddhist Guanym (Goddess of Mercy). Later in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), fishermen migrated to Macau from various parts of Guangdong and Fujian provinces and built the A-Ma Temple, where they prayed for safety on the seas.  The Hakka boat people were the first to show interest in Macau as a trading post for the southern provinces.  However, Macau did not develop as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century.

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