Portugal in our history

The Portuguese have been in East Asia a long time. By the time they settled in Macau in the 1550s, they had already established a post in Malacca on the Malaysian coast, via Goa in India.

Bernard Charnwut Chan

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

The Portuguese have been in East Asia a long time. By the time they settled in Macau in the 1550s, they had already established a post in Malacca on the Malaysian coast, via Goa in India.

Not long after, they also had a presence in Nagasaki, Japan.

As a result of intermarriage, communities of bilingual and bicultural Portuguese developed around Asia. One notable group is the Macanese, many of whom moved from Macau to Hong Kong in the 19th century.

Over the years, they became an important community, with their own schools and churches.

They developed roles in business, the professions and the civil service, and also in public life.

Many served in the defense of Hong Kong in the war and some represented the city in international sporting events.

Among many prominent members of this community are singer Maria Cordero, sports official A. de O. Sales and the late political figure Sir Roger Lobo.

The Hong Kong Museum of History is planning a series of exhibitions on the various international communities that helped develop Hong Kong. These rotating exhibitions will feature in the museum's revamped permanent exhibition, which should be ready in 2022.

The Portuguese community has launched an appeal for any historical materials people may have. They could be documents, photographs or other artifacts reflecting the family, business or public lives of Hong Kong's Portuguese community in the past.

If you have any items that would fit the bill, drop an e-mail to Portuguese@lcsd.gov.hk

Bernard Churnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee,

standard@bernardchan.com