History of Hong Kong/Imperial years

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Now that you've quickly gone through the prehistory of Hong Kong, it is time to advance into a period of history with even more artefacts, stories and stuff. It's the imperial years of Hong Kong, from the time when Qin Shihuangdi conquered the city, up to the point when the British people took Hong Kong. This part discusses the history of Hong Kong up to the point when Hong Kong Island was taken.

Some terms and timelines[edit]

Once Qin started, the dynasty grew very unpopular and was quickly succeeded by the Han Dynasty. After this, China split into three parts. It was called the Three Kingdoms period, and China was then unified to form Western Jin. There is little we know about Hong Kong during these periods. Then, the barbarians invaded the northed and sinicised themselves, so the Chinese people moved to the South. The Chinese state was called Eastern Jin, and there are many stories about Hong Kong in the period, although no historical records verify them.

After Eastern Jin, the North was unified and the Chinese state became Song. The kingdoms kept changing (this period was called the Northern and Southern Dynasties) until Yang Jian conquered everyone and started the Sui Dynasty. Sui was quickly succeeded by the Tang Dynasty, when Tuen Mun became an important harbour and continued to be for some time. Records of the history of Hong Kong started to increase then.


After the Tang Dynasty came the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period and the Song Dynasty. The Northern Song Dynasty was relatively quiet, but during the Southern Song Dynasty, people escaped to Hong Kong from the Mongols. China, under Mongolian rule, was called the Yuan Dynasty, which was succeeded by the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

You and your ancestors[edit]

Sure, you learnt last chapter that there were Yao and Yue people roaming Hong Kong before the Mainland Hans people came along. But that is not to say that most of the city's population have ancestral roots here. In fact, most of the people in Hong Kong have roots in the mainland and settled in the city later. The four major groups of people are the Puntis, the Hakkas, the Fuklos (now also widely called the Hoklos), and the Tankas.

The Puntis speak Cantonese and come from the Central Plain, the origin of Chinese civilisation. Their ancestors moved into Guangzhou during the Qin and Han Dynasties and to the New Territories during the Song Dynasty. The word punti means 'local people' because they have been in Hong Kong earlier than the other three groups. They are also known as the Cantonese. There are over forty Punti clans in Hong Kong. The five best-known ones, called collectively as the Five Great Clans, are the Tang, Man, Hau, Liu and Pang Clans.

The Hakkas speak Hakkannese. They also come from the Central Plain, in Shandong. Their ancestors, like the Puntis, entered Guangdong during the Qin and Han Dynasties, but they did not come to Hong Kong until the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. The name 'Hakka' means 'guests' because they were considered guests by the 'local' Puntis. However, some Hakkas later called themselves Puntis and the people who entered the city after them, Hakkas. More on this will be discussed later.

The Hoklos, speak Fujianese. They had been living in Hong Kong since the 11th century Song Dynasty. They are called the river people as the fished in rivers and lived in boats. The name later changed to Fuklo and Hoklo. Nowadays, most Fuklos in Hong Kong have moved to land and do not fish any more. They first migrated to Hong Kong because of war, infertile soil and other reasons. They fished because of the development of ship-building.

The Tankas speak both Cantonese and Fujianese and lived mostly in junks, although some used to live on land as well. Their ancestors were Yues. When Qin Shihuangdi defeated the Yues, some hid in the rivers and became the Tankas. At first, they did not listen to the Chinese government and did not pay tribute to them until the Tang Dynasty. During the Song Dynasty, the Tankas fished and hunted pearls along the Guangdong coast. Their totem was the snake.

The world[edit]