The history of Macau is traced back to the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu County, Nanhai Prefecture (modern Guangdong). The first recorded Chinese inhabitants of the area were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols during the Southern Song. Under the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), fishermen migrated to Macau from Guangdong and Fujian. The Macau native people were Tanka boat people.
Macau did not develop as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1513, Jorge Álvares became the first Portuguese to land in China. In 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macau's harbours and to carry out trading activities, though not the right to stay onshore. Around 1552–1553, they obtained temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water; they soon built rudimentary stone houses around the area now called Nam Van.
In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau, paying an annual rent of 500 taels(18.9 kilograms / 41.6 pounds) of silver. The Portuguese continued to pay an annual tribute up to 1863 in order to stay in Macau.
By 1564, Portugal commanded western trade with India, Japan, and China. But their pride was shocked by the indifference with which the Chinese treated them. The senate of Macau once complained to the viceroy of Goaof the contempt with which the Chinese authorities treated them, confessing however that "it was owing more to the Portuguese themselves than to the Chinese". In 1631 the Chinese restricted Portuguese commerce in China to the port of Macau.
During the 17th century, some 5,000 slaves lived in Macau, in addition to 2,000 Portuguese and 20,000 Chinese.
As more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trade, they made demands for self-administration; but this was not achieved until the 1840s. In 1576, Pope Gregory XIII established the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau. In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and economic affairs under strict supervision of the Chinese authority, but there was no transfer of sovereignty.
Macau prospered as a port but it was the target of repeated failed attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. On 24 June 1622, the Dutch attacked Macau in the Battle of Macau, in the hope of turning it into a Dutch possession. The Portuguese repulsed their attack and the Dutch never tried to conquer Macau again. The majority of the defenders were African slaves, with only a few Portuguese soldiers and priests. Captain Kornelis Reyerszoon was commander of the 800-strong Dutch invasion force.
The Dutch Governor Jan Pz. Coen said after the defeat that "The slaves of the Portuguese at Macau served them so well and faithfully, that it was they who defeated and drove away our people there last year", and "Our people saw very few Portuguese" during the battle.
Following the First Opium War (1839–42), Portugal occupied Taipa and Coloane in 1851 and 1864 respectively. On 1 December 1887, the Qing and Portuguese governments signed the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking, under which China ceded the right of "perpetual occupation and government of Macau by Portugal" in compliance with the statements of the Protocol of Lisbon. In return, Macau Government would cooperate with Hong Kong's smuggle of Indian opium and China would be able to increase profits through customs taxes. Portugal was also obliged "never to alienate Macau without previous agreement with China", therefore ensuring that negotiation between Portugal and France (regarding a possible exchange of Macau and Portuguese Guinea with the French Congo) or with other countries would not go forward – so that the British commercial interests would be secured; Macau officially became a territory under Portuguese administration.
In 1928, after the Qing dynasty had been overthrown following the Xinhai Revolution, the Kuomintang (KMT) government officially notified Portugal that it was abrogating the Treaty of Amity and Commerce; the two powers signed a new Sino-Portuguese Friendship and Trade Treaty in place of the abrogated treaty. Making only a few provisions concerning tariff principles and matters relating to business affairs, the new treaty did not alter the sovereignty of Macau and Portuguese government of Macau remained unchanged.
During World War II, unlike Portuguese Timor, which was occupied by the Japanese in 1942 along with Dutch Timor, the Japanese respected Portuguese neutrality in Macau, but only up to a point. As such, Macau enjoyed a brief period of economic prosperity as the only neutral port in South China after the Japanese had occupied Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In August 1943, Japanese troops seized the British steamer Sian in Macau and killed about 20 guards. The next month they demanded the installation of Japanese "advisors" under the alternative of military occupation. The result was that a virtual Japanese protectorate was created over Macau.
When it was discovered that neutral Macau was planning to sell aviation fuel to Japan, aircraft from the USS Enterprise bombed and strafed the hangar of the Naval Aviation Centre on 16 January 1945 to destroy the fuel. American air raids on targets in Macau were also made on 25 February and 11 June 1945. Following Portuguese government protest, in 1950 the United States paid US$20,255,952 to the government of Portugal.
Between the end of the Pacific War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Macau served as a safe haven for refugees of the Chinese Civil War.
After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Beijing government declared the Sino-Portuguese Treaty invalid as an "unequal treaty" imposed by foreigners on China. However, Beijing was not ready to settle the treaty question, leaving the maintenance of "the status quo" until a more appropriate time.
Influenced by the Cultural Revolution in mainland China and by general dissatisfaction with Portuguese government, riots broke out in Macau in 1966. In the most serious, the so-called 12-3 incident, 6 people were killed and more than 200 people were injured. On 28 January 1967, the Portuguese government issued a formal apology by means of an "admission of guilt".
Shortly after Portugal's 1974 Carnation Revolution, which overthrew the Estado Novo dictatorship, the new government determined it would relinquish all its overseas possessions. In 1976, Lisbon redefined Macau as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration" and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial, and economic autonomy. Three years later, Portugal and China agreed to regard Macau as "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration". The Chinese and Portuguese governments commenced negotiations on the question of Macau in June 1986. The two signed the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration the next year, making Macau a special administrative regions of China.
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macau