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Initially a small fishing port of southern China, it became a prominent location for international trade after the arrival of the first Portuguese ships commanded by Jorge Alvares in 1513, before he reached Hong-Kong.
Not long after, the Chinese let the Portuguese develop their trade in the area and Macau became an increasingly independent territory. In exchange for an annual rent, the traders earned the rights to anchor their ships in the port itself, then to stay on shore and build their own storage facilities, until they were granted self-administration during the 19th century, as part of the Portuguese Empire.
The Chinese government reintegrated Macau in 1999, and the twon still has a special administrative status, and Portuguese is still one of the two official languages there, along with Cantonese.