Tag Archives: Portuguese colonialism

Macau, China

Macau Island had been taken over by the Portuguese in the mid-1500s. It was the first European colony in East Asia and thrived as a trading centre until the 1800s when the Dutch and British monopolized control of trade routes. After the 1814 Opium War with China, the English established Hong Kong as their main trading port and Macau’s importance faded. Like Hong Kong, Macau was handed back to China in 1999.

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Melaka and its Portuguese past

Journeying one hundred and fifty kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, we reached Melaka. Unlike KL, Melaka was grimy. I can still picture walking over a bridge that crossed the Melaka River where dilapidated houses drooped over the water’s edge. But the tourist hub was well maintained.

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Same place, a decade later

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Medan in Sumatra and spent three days roaming markets and exploring the city. KL had changed since my previous visit before my youngest daughter had been born. Modern buildings extended skywards. Footpaths were easy to navigate. And the city was vibrant. But remnants of the old still existed, like the Chinese temple with its overpowering infusion of giant incense coils.

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