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Happy Birthday Hong Kong: 176 Years Old Today

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It is an event that neither Hong Kong, China nor Britain are likely to be celebrating. Nevertheless, on this day – January 26 – in 1841, the British flag was first unfurled at Possession Point by Royal Navy sailors.

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Photo: Chris Needos.

At the time, Hong Kong was a sleepy backwater, though it would prove to be a handy trading outpost. “Albert is so amused at my having got the island of Hong Kong”,wrote Queen Victoria in 1841.

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First Opium War, via Wikicommons

The Convention of Chuenpee ceded Hong Kong to the British after the First Opium War in which 600 Chinese soldiers died.

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Within five months, British officials began selling land in Hong Kong and the territory formally became a British possession a year later.

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Map of Hong Kong, 1841 – surveyed by Captain Edward Belcher. Belcher began surveying the islands a year earlier.

Possession Point was originally named Tai Hang Hau, or “Big Puddle”. The area was redeveloped into a Chinese-style garden which is today known as Hollywood Road park.

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Possession Point in the early 20th century.

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Possession Point in the early 20th century.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

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