Macau is the name given to a tiny region that includes two islets (totaling only some four square miles) and a peninsula (about 2.1 square miles), the latter joined to the Chinese mainland by a narrow isthmus. Macau is some forty miles southwest of Hong Kong, and like its better known neighbor, is linked by its history to both China and the world of European colonial imperialism. Macau is literally linked to China until about 6000 B.C., when the rising sea level gives Macau its present configuration. Next to nothing is known about Macau during the prehistoric period of China and the other East Asian or Southeast Asian lands. In fact, very little is known about Macau until the coming of the Portuguese in the mid-sixteenth century. This is due probably more to the sparseness of modern archaeological research than to an absence of ancient inhabitants. It is clear, though, even without much physical or written evidence, that this territory was always part of China.
Under the Portuguese, Macau prospered as a junction for international trade, particularly between Western Europe and China; as an international port, it also became notorious for its night life, prostitution, and gambling. Although the Portuguese dominated the official and administrative affairs, it was the Chinese who gradually came to run the island's economic and social life. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the Portuguese agreed to turn Macau back to the Chinese in 1999.
4500–3500B.C.: During what is technically the early Middle Neolithic period in this part of the world, some inhabitants of a site on Macau known as Hac Sa Wan possess a painted pottery of a type familiar from Hong Kong during this time (where it is known as the Chung Hom Wan type).
3500–2500B.C.: Incised pottery of the type found in Hong Kong and known as the Sham Wan phase of the Middle Neolithic is found in Macau.
1000?B.C.–A.D. 200: A number of rock carvings at Ka Ho on Coloane Islet, Macau, may be related to rock carvings on Hong Kong of