About this site
This site presents information on the history and cultue of Macau:
- Cultural and historical articles, for example:
- 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) of Macau, is preserved here, with audio of thousands of words and phrases
There is much more information in a restricted site to which access may be given to people with Macanese origins. That site contains genealogical (family tree) information with 60,000 names and over 1,000 photos. Each person there has an individual "Person Page". There are innumerable links from faces in photos and names in articles to these person pages.
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".
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 is in danger of being lost. Fortunately, several authors have written notable histories of Macau; references to these, and to other items of interest, are in the Library chapter.
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 /Macaísta , Nossa Gente ("our folk"), filo-Macau/filho-Macau from filhos de Macau ("sons of Macau ") and Balichão/Balichung (after their popular and unique condiment).