Macao (Macau) as a commercial port attracted both Portuguese and Chinese for work and settlement. They in turn made the island a prosperous city. The Ming dynasty (明朝) took various measures to administrate Macao, including establishing borders and imposing various bans. Following, the Qing dynasty (清朝) tightened regulations by sending Macao Subprefects and the Governor of Xiangshan County (香山縣) to Macao. The Chinese officials oversaw the Chinese residents in Macao and kept regular contact with the Portuguese autonomous governing body the Municipal Council of Macao (Senado) to resolve disputes between the Chinese and the Portuguese. Each year, the Council paid land rent (500 taels of silver for land rent and 15 taels of silver as a surcharge to the Chinese officials to prevent corruption) to the Governor of Xiangshan County. Under these circumstances, Macao became a unique city where Chinese and foreigners resided amid disputes and cooperation.
A picture of the old tower of the Border Gate painted sometime between 1838 and 1839.
Aomen Jilüe (A Brief on Macao, 《澳門記略》) compiled by Yin Guangren (印光任) and Zhang Rulin (張汝霖) in the Qing dynasty. It mentioned that the Qianshan Fortress (前山寨) outside the Border Gate was the office of the Macao Subprefects who oversaw Macao’s political, military, and civil affairs. Troops stationed there.
The Xiangshan County government was originally located in Mong-Há Village (望廈村), Macao, according to Aomen Jilüe. Unfortunately, the office building collapsed and the government moved to Cuiwei Village (翠微村), Zhuhai (珠海), before being relocated to the Inner Harbour of Macao.
An illustration of Macao in Aomen Jilüe drawn in 1751.
A picture of the Municipal Council of Macao from Aomen Jilüe. The Council, also known as the Senado, was an autonomous Portuguese governing body.
A depiction of the delis near St. Dominic’s Church in Macao by the French painter Auguste Borget in 1839. (Collection of the Macao Museum of Art)
Fishermen’s boathouses in the Inner Harbour of Macao painted also by Auguste Borget in 1839. (Collection of the Macao Museum of Art)
A fisherwomen from Macao painted by the British painter George Chinnery. (Property of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)
An illustration of foreign male (left) and female (right) in Aomen Jilüe.
A portrait of Miguel António de Cortela, a Macanese, allegedly painted by Kwan Kiu Cheong (關喬昌, also known as Lam Qua﹝林官﹞in the Qing dynasty. (Collection of the Macao Museum of Art)
Photo courtesy of Mr Alex Lou, Vice Chairman of The Heritage Society, unless otherwise specified.