Hong Kong, one of the most strategically important colonies, was occupied by the British on January 20, 1841, a direct consequence of the First Opium War (1839-1842). In the early 19th century, the British recognized the commercial and strategic importance of Hong Kong, which was then a small fishing village. When the British East India Company multiplied the illicit import of opium into China, the Chinese government took decisive measures to prevent the smuggling of opium into the country. The destruction of 20,000 crates of opium worth £ 4m was destroyed by the United Kingdom as a pretext for armed intervention against China.
After the Chinese defeat, Hong Kong was initially handed over to the British provisional administration as part of a ceasefire agreement between Captain Charles Elliot and Governor Qishan, but the deal was never formally approved due to disagreements between senior officials from both governments. Despite this, Commodore James Bremer announced the formal occupation of the island on behalf of the British Queen Victoria as early as January 26th. The place where the ceremony took place today is called Possession Point, and is located on the northwest side of Hong Kong Island.
It was not until 29 August 1842, by treaty in Nanking, that the island was formally surrendered to the permanent authority of Great Britain, and in 1843 it became a British crown colony. In 1860 (after the Second Opium War) the colony of Kowloon was annexed to the colony, and in 1898 the so-called. New Territories, hired for 99 years. After years of Chinese-British negotiations, in 1984 it was agreed that Hong Kong, following the end of British rule (July 1, 1997), would become a special administrative area of China, with the Chinese guarantee that it would retain its capitalist economic system for 50 years.