June 17, 2003 American Memory Adds Special Presentation on Maps of Macau
Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress has mounted a special presentation online in the "Map Collections, 1500-2003" of the American Memory Web site devoted to Macau, the oldest permanent European settlement in Asia, which was returned by Portugal to China in 1999.
The materials are at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/macau/macau.html.
Now known as the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Macau consists of the city of Macau on a small peninsula of the Chinese mainland and the two small islands of Taipa and Colôane, which are connected by a causeway. The entire area of this administrative region is 21 square kilometers, which is about one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C. As of July 2001, Macau had an estimated population of about 454,000.
The Portuguese established this port on the southeastern coast of China at the mouth of the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) in 1557, when they were the dominant power in European trade with Asia. Portugal continued its presence in Macau for more than 400 years. In December 1887, after a series of negotiations between Portugal and China about Macau's sovereignty, a protocol was agreed upon that recognized Portugal's occupation and governing of Macau. Following Portugal's Revolution of 1974 and China's development of a reunification strategy, China and Portugal issued the Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau on April 13, 1987. This declaration stated that on Dec. 20, 1999, China would resume its exercise of sovereignty in Macau.
By viewing this small selection of 16 maps, it will be evident that the European influence was particularly profound in the mapping of Macau, reflecting a strong economic interest in the port city for more than 400 years.
American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. Its more than 100 collections, which range from papers of the U.S. presidents, Civil War photographs and early films of Thomas Edison to papers documenting the women's suffrage and civil rights movements, Jazz Age photographs and the first baseball cards, include 8 million items from the Library of Congress and other major repositories. The latest Web site from the Library is the monthly "Wise Guide" (http://www.loc.gov/wiseguide) magazine, which demonstrates that "It's Fun to Know History."