Hong Kong, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, and a true economic powerhouse, was once just a small fishing village on the edge of the South China
Various dynasties laid claim to the region throughout the early centuries, turning Hong Kong into a successful trading center and military outpost.
Everything changed in the mid-19th century when the British
arrived, turning this quiet, out-of-the-way village into a modern, vibrant and sparkling jewel of a city that still flourishes today.
Unfortunately, at the onset of World War II, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong, forcing the British
to completely surrender.
Food shortages were widespread, and nearly a million citizens had perished by the time the United Kingdom
regained control in 1945.
Hong Kong thrived following World War II, as industrialization rapidly increased, labour costs remained low, and the population grew.
No aspect of Hong Kong's economy was forgotten during the British
colonial era, and many of the new changes brought forth shaped the future for Hong Kong.
In July of 1997, the British
(via a long-standing agreement) officially returned control of Hong Kong to China
, and it became a Special Administrative Region (or SAR) of China
In the exchange, China
agreed that until 2047, Hong Kong (as is), will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters, except foreign and defense.
At the dawn of the new millennium a series of events faltered the once thriving nation. Not too enthusiastic with the change of hands, a number of citizens staged marches in different parts of Hong Kong.
Then, in 2003, a severe SARS outbreak crippled the region, infecting thousands.
As with anything that has attempted to defeat this small region, Hong Kong bounced back, and today is one of the world's leading international financial centers as well as a booming tourist destination.
Notable attractions include Victoria Harbour and Victoria Peak, which offers expansive views of the city and its harbors.