(1841) Hong Kong Island signed over to BritainA South China deep-water harbor, and island of about 3,000 residents, is ceded to the United Kingdom after its victory in the First Opium War. China will regain sovereignty in 1997.British Hong Kong was the period during which Hong Kong was under British Crown rule from 1841 to 1997. It was established as a Crown colony and later designated a British Dependent Territory in 1981. Hong Kong Island was ceded to the United Kingdom by the Qing dynasty of China after the First Opium War. The Kowloon Peninsula was added to the colony after the Second Opium War. Finally, in 1898, the New Territories were added under a 99-year lease. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were ceded to Britain in perpetuity, the New Territories – which comprised over 90 per cent of Hong Kong’s land – had such a vital role in the economy that the British government agreed to transfer sovereignty of the entirety of Hong Kong to China upon the expiration of the lease in 1997. The transfer has been credited by some as marking the end of the British Empire.
Founded: Jan 20, 1841 Dissolved: 1997 Population: 6.30 million (1995)