Hong Kong, first a colony and then part of the British Commonwealth has been, since its return to China in 1997, a “Special Autonomous Region” (SAR) of that country. Hong Kong’s history began in 1842 when a rocky island (a haven for fishermen and smugglers) in the Hong Kong (Fragrant Harbor) Delta area was ceded in perpetuity to the British who had just defeated China in the first Opium War. Two additions followed: Kowloon (Nine Dragons) on the mainland was ceded after Britain won the second Opium War, and then, in 1897, the “New Territories”, also on the mainland, was leased by Britain from China for 99 years. Hong Kong, once dubbed by the British Parliament as a “worthless piece of rock,” soon became the leading port in the China trade. Today it is a vibrant and diverse cultural mix of East and West and one of the busiest harbors in the world. For more information on Hong Kong, please click on the above buttons.