William Heine "Jesuit Convent, Facade of St. Paul's Church", 1854
MIT Visualising Cultures HK Museum of Art
"Facade du Grand Temple de Macao". Drawn from nature by Aug. BORGET,
lithography by Eug. CICERI The Square Outside the Ma Kok Temple, 1838
"Portuguese Monastery", 8-8-1842
Pencil on paper by George Chinnery, M9765-45
Theodore de Bry: "Amacao" c 1598
MIT Visualizing Cultures HK Museum of Art
Forts of Heang-shani, 1839 & 1842
MIT Visualising Cultures
George Chinnery: Paisagem com sampana-habitação. Ao Longe a Ilha da Lapa"
Reproduzido em selo
Johan Nieuhof: "View of Macau with Dutch Ships", c. 1665
MIT Visualising Cultures HK Museum of Art cwM_1665_AH6727
"View of Two Bays", c. 1830
MIT Visualising Cultures Peabody Essex Museum
William Heine: "Chinese Temple, Macao", 1853
MIT Visualising Cultures cwM_1853

About this site

This site presents information on the history and cultue of Macau:

  • Cultural and historical articles, for example:
    the autobiography of Fr Zinho Gosano, who was a prisoner-of-war in Japan during World War II
    an article on the Dutch attack on Macau in 1622
  • A list of the hundreds of Macanese who have received high honours from many nations
  • More than 200 recipes of the dishes that graced the tables of Macanese.
  • The old language (patuá) Loudspeaker of Macau, is preserved here, with audio of thousands of words and phrases.


St Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier, the great saint of the Orient

The Portuguese established a base in Macau in the 16th Century for trade and for the spread of Christianity. This settlement endured for four and a half centuries until 1999 when the colony was handed back to China.

The Portuguese families there, a tight-knit community, developed their own unique culture, patois (patuá) and fusion cuisine and called themselves "Macaense" or in English "Macanese".

The unit of currency in Macau is the pataca which is roughly equivalent to the Hong Kong dollar.

In time, Macau became overshadowed in trade by Hong Kong and many Macanese moved further afield to find employment, but they always had their roots in Macau.

After World War II, the migration became a flood – the so-called diaspora. Today Macanese families are dispersed all over the globe and their history and culture are in danger of being lost.

Fortunately, there are many individuals devoted to preservation of the Macanese culture and a number of organisations supporting and encouraging communities all over the world; prominent among these is the IIM International Institute of Macau.

There are 100 avos in each pataca.
Click to see full picture

Our objectives for this website are:

  • to engender a sense of pride in Macanese heritage,
  • to foster interest in family roots among the newer generations of Macanese,
  • to create a permanent repository for the preservation of cultural and historical records,
  • to have the work continue indefinitely into the future.

Credit is due to the team who have collaborated long and hard to make this site and appreciation and gratitude to the approximately 800 people who contributed information.



Originally, the word "Macanese" (Macaense in Portuguese) was used to denote people of Portuguese descent, who were born in Macau or who had an ancestor born there. Today its usage has broadened and it is sometimes used to denote persons of any ethnicity who live in Macau. However, in this website we use the word in its original sense. Read some interesting views on the diaspora and the Macanese in an article by David Brookshaw and the academic study by B. Koo.

Macanese also call themselves Maquista Loudspeaker/Macaísta Loudspeaker, Nossa Gente ("our folk"), filo-Macau/filho-Macau from filhos de Macau ("sons of Macau ") and Balichão/Balichung Loudspeaker (after their popular and unique condiment).

Let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations. In their descendants there remains a rich inheritance born of them. Their offspring will last for ever, and their glory will not fade. Their bodies have been buried in peace, and their name lives on for all generations.
Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 10, 11, 13, 14
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