Who could have imagined, when the Portuguese reached the shores of southern China in their galleons in 1513, that after forty-four years they would find a colony that would survive for almost four and a half centuries? Macau saw the Ming and Qing dynasties pass through its borders, then survived the fall of the last Chinese emperor, the republic, civil war and communist revolution.
This small city built around a hill west of the mouth of the Pearl River was to become One of those legendary cities in Asia, synonymous with dreams and exoticism.
A small fishing port founded by a goddess
Opened in 1557, this long chapter of history finally closed on Sunday, December 19, 1999, at midnight when the Portuguese left their moorings forever, handing over to China this city they called with the motto “Macau, quoted in the name of God, there is nothing more loyal.”
Legend has it that the small fishing port of Macau was founded by a young woman, who embarked on a junk ship, miraculously calming the storm and saving the sailors before climbing a hill and soaring into the sky in a luminous halo. The goddess was Ah Ma, the Chinese patron of the city, to whom many temples are dedicated and whose story is very similar to that of Tianhu, patroness of fishermen.
The Portuguese did not take the city at the sound of the cannons, but this end of the peninsula was granted by the Mandarin Canton, on the one hand to clear the coast of its pirates, on the other hand to keep them at bay. away from Canton with the benefit of the illegal but successful trade they brought. Because they monopolized the trade between China and Japan and their ships traveled, from Africa to Indonesia and even India, the famous spice route.
China Gate by Matteo Ricci and the Jesuits
But it was not the merchants nor the soldiers who made Macau famous, but the hundreds of missionaries who followed it. For Pope Gregory, he appointed Monsignor Carnera there in 1576, in charge of an archdiocese that included China, Japan, Macau, and neighboring islands. Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians flocked en masse, but it was the Jesuits who had the upper hand in Macau. They built a solid foundation there with an alma mater in 1565, and a college and school in 1594.[…] Read more about Courier international