Macau in Bygone Days

Evidence of Chinese material cultural dating back 4,000 to 6,000 years has been discovered on the Macau peninsula and dating back 5,000 years on Coloane Island. Historical records show that what was later known as Macao was part of Fanyu County, Nanhai District, Guangdong Province, under the Qin empire (221-206 B.C.). During the Jin Dynasty (A.D. 265-420), the area was part of Dongguan County and later alternated under the control of Nanhai and Dongguan. In 1152 (during the Song Dynasty, A.D. 960-1279), it was identified as administratively part of the new Xiangshan County. The oldest continuous settlement in Macau is the village of Wangxia (Mongha), a name given to the northern part of the peninsula; the village dates from the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1279-1368). Wangxia has long been the center of Chinese life in Macau and the site of what may be the region’s oldest temple, a shrine devoted to the Buddhist Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy). During the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1643), fishermen migrated to Macau from various parts of Guangdong and Fujian provinces and built the A-Ma Temple in which they prayed for safety on the sea.

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