The first coat of arms of Macau was used until the end of the 19th century. It features the arms of Portugal surrounded by the saying Cidade do nome de Deus, não há outra mais Leal (Portuguese for “City of the Name of God, there is none more Loyal”).
The second coat of arms was used until 1935, when most of Portuguese colonies had their coat of arms reformed. It shows a dragon in light orange color, similar to the pattern found on Imperial China flags.
The last coat of arms of colonial Macau, used until 1999, shown here in its most simple form, was used in banknotes, coins, stamps, official documents and appears also in the facade of the “Banco Nacional Ultramarino” in Lisbon.
Regional Emblem of Macau post-1999
Colonized by the Portuguese in 1557, Macao was the oldest European outpost in China. In 1987, Portugal and China reached an agreement to return Macao to Chinese rule on Dec. 20, 1999. They agreed on provisions that ensured the autonomy of Macao, including its right to elect local leaders, the right of its residents to travel freely, and the right to maintain its way of life for 50 years after the start of Chinese rule.
Macau is situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of Hong Kong and 145 kilometres (90 mi) from Guangzhou. It also has 41 kilometres (25 mi) of coastline, yet only 310 metres (1,000 ft) of land border with Guangdong. It consists of the Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are now connected by landfill forming the Cotai Strip. The peninsula is formed by the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xi Jiang (West River) on the west. It borders the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in mainland China. The main border crossing between Macau and China is known as the Portas do Cerco (Barrier Gate) on the Macau side, and the Gongbei Port of Entry on the Zhuhai side.
Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a connecting sandbar gradually turned into a narrow isthmus, thus changing Macau into a peninsula. Land reclamation in the 17th century transformed Macau into a peninsula with generally flat terrain, though numerous steep hills still mark the original land mass. Alto de Coloane is the highest point in Macau, with an altitude of 170.6 metres (559.7 ft). With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland.
The following photoset showing views of the Macau’s Porto Interior and Chinese junks and people of these vessels is taken by Karsten Petersen in 1973. All images are © Karsten Petersen – http://global-mariner.com
© Karsten Petersen