Dr. Maria Marin
Hong Kong has been inhabited for millennia, with the early Che people settling the land early on. During the period of the Warring States in Mainland China, Yuet people immigrated from the north and forcibly assimilated the Che people. During the time of the Qin Dynasty Hong Kong was made a part of unified Imperial China.
Throughout the Han Dynasty in the 10th century the region grew in economic importance as a result of the local pearl industry. When the Mongols invaded China, Hong Kong saw a large influx of refugees from Mainland China, creating a population boom and further enlarging the already strong economy that had built around Hong Kong as a maritime trading port.
In the 19th century, Britain, faced with a growing trade deficit with China due to the British appetite for tea, expanded its sale of opium to China dramatically. The ruling Qing Dynasty disapproved, and banned the sale of opium. Britain pushed the issue by declaring war, and occupied Hong Kong Island by 1831.
The British would control Hong Kong until World War II. The Japanese seized the region briefly during World War II. Shortly after the war, the declaration of Communist China led to a new wave of refugees to British Hong Kong. As China continued to pursue an isolationist stance during the Communist era, Hong Kong became an important connection between the West and the mainland, and one of the only avenues for goods to come to and from China.
Hong Kong continued to develop as an economic center, phasing out industry and focusing on financial services and banking. In the 1980s, the British and Chinese negotiated a treaty whereby the entire region of Hong Kong, not just the area leased by the British, would be handed over to the Chinese in 1997. In return, the Chinese government would manage Hong Kong as a special administrative region, giving it a great deal of