at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province of Guangdong
(Canton). The total land area of Hong Kong is 1,078 square kilometres,
the New Territories, including 235 outlying islands that make up the largest
part of this (955 square kilometres), whereas Hong Kong Island is only
77.5 square kilometres large and Kowloon, the peninsula north of Hong Kong
Island, only 45.5 square kilometres. The terrain is hilly to mountainous
with steep slopes. The highest mountain is Tai Mo Shan in the New Territories
with 958 m altitude.
Hong Kong, especially Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, is one of the most densely populated areas in the world; more than 6 million people live there. 95 percent of the population are Chinese. Cantonese is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect. Hong Kong has an outstanding natural deepwater harbour, and much its present wealth come from trading. It is still an important international trading post but now also a a powerful manufacturing base and one of& nbsp; the world's largest financial centres.
Hong Kong as we know it today was "founded" in the year 1839 by British opium merchants who had been expelled from Guangzhou (Canton). (The British used to pay their debts to the Chinese merchants in Canton not with money but with opium). The refugees to settled on Hong Kong Island (Xianggang, Fragrant Harbour) where at that time only about 3.600 people were living scattered in 20 small villages.& nbsp; The British Government answered the expelling of its merchants from Canton by starting the First Opium War which ended in 1842 with the defeat of the Chinese and the territory of Hong Kong became British. It stayed British until July 1997, when the former colony was handed back to China.
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