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The engineer Philo of Byzantium (fl. 146 BC) is said to have written the work entitled Peri ton hepta theamiton (Concerning the Seven Wonders of the World), although it may actually date from the Roman Empire. In his enumeration of the monuments the Pharos of Alexandria replaces the Walls of Babylon, which various later writers have listed together with the Hanging Gardens. Among other authors who described the seven wonders were Herodotus (5th century BC), Diodorus (1st century BC), and Strabo and Pliny the Elder (both 1st century AD.). The Pergamum Altar has also been included as one of the wonders. All those cited were visited during the Hellenistic Age (323-149 BC) and remained the most famous attractions of the Roman world. They can be reconstructed from archaeological evidence.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Guangdong is a province of southern China, on the South China Sea, west of the Taiwan Strait. The province has an area of 197,100 Ü (76,101 æ), excluding the island of Hainan, which became a separate province in 1988. The population is 68,680,000 (1996 est.). Guangzhou (Canton) is the chief city and capital; other major cities include Shantou (Shan-t'ou) and Shaoguan (Shao-kuan). The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao are enclaves surrounded by Guangdong.

The province is generally hilly and mountainous, although the Pearl River delta, the Luiqiao (Luichow) Peninsula, and several delta plains and inland basins are lowland areas. The climate is subtropical; yearly rainfall averages 1,600 mm (63 in). Two crops of rice can be harvested each year. Sweet potatoes are the leading crop for drier soils; sugarcane is also extensively grown, as well as about 300 species of fruit. Mineral resources, including tungsten, iron, and manganese, are considerable. Industries include steel, textiles, shipbuilding, canning, and sugar refining. Beginning in 1979, foreign investment led to spectacular economic development in Guangdong, particularly in the Special Economic Zones of Shenzhen (Shen-chen), near Hong Kong; Zhuhai (Chu-hai), near Macao; and Shantou (Shan-t'o), near Taiwan.

The population, about 98% ethnic Chinese, is divided into several language groups, constituting the largest group of non-Mandarin (official standard Chinese) speakers in the country. The Cantonese dialect is spoken by almost two-thirds of the population. (See Chinese language.)

Guangdong had earlier contacts with the West than did most other parts of China, and crowded conditions in the farming villages near Guangzhou led to the emigration of many Cantonese, especially to Southeast Asia and the United States. In recent times the province's prosperity has attracted migrants from poorer parts of China.

Hong Kong (hawng kawng)

The former British crown colony of Hong Kong (in Chinese, Xianggang) is a special administrative region of China situated on the southern coast of Guangdong (Kwangtung) province. Hong Kong Island was ceded by China in 1842 after its defeat in the first Opium War (see Opium Wars). In 1860, after the second Opium War, the peninsula of Kowloon on the mainland was added to the colony, and in 1898 a large area beyond Kowloon together with the surrounding islands, known as the New Territories, was leased to Great Britain for 99 years. This lease expired on July 1, 1997, when the whole of the colony was restored to Chinese sovereignty.


Most of Hong Kong, which has a total land area of 1,092 km6 (422 mi6), consists of low-lying hills. Only 8% of the land is suitable for crop production. The highest point is Tai Mo Shan, north of Kowloon, which rises to 957 m (3,140 ft). A plain in the northwestern part of the New Territories extends to the Shenzhen (Shen-chen) River, which forms the boundary between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. There are few natural springs or rivers, and 70% of the freshwater supply is piped in from the mainland; the rest comes from rainwater collected in huge reservoirs. Large areas have been reclaimed from the sea on the north shore of Hong Kong Island and around Kowloon to provide flat land for urban development. One of the world's largest-ever construction projects a new airport, town, and port on reclaimed land at Chek Lap Kok that includes bridges, tunnels, highways, and a rail line was partially completed at the time Hong Kong was returned to China. The Tsing-Ma suspension bridge, the world's longest road and rail link, opened in 1997; it led to the new airport, which was officially dedicated in July 1998.

Hong Kong lies just below the tropic of Cancer. The summer months (June to September) are hot and humid, with a mean temperature of 28¡ C (82¡ F). Typhoons sometimes occur during this season. The winter months are cooler, with a mean January temperature of 16¡ C (60¡ F). Rainfall totals 2,225 mm (87 in) annually, most of which falls in the summer.


Hong Kong has one of the highest population densities in the world more than 6,400 persons per km6 (nearly 16,600 per mi6). About 98% of the population of 6,900,000 (2001 est.) are Chinese, most of whom have their family origins in Guangdong province. A 1999 ruling by Hong Kong's highest court (later overturned by the Chinese legislature) that legalized the immigration of tens of thousands of children of Hong Kong residents from the Chinese mainland raised concerns about a new influx of people into already overcrowded Hong Kong. There are also significant numbers of Europeans and Americans, Filipinos (mostly domestic servants), and Indians and Pakistanis. About 60,000 Hong Kong residents emigrate each year, mostly to North America or Australia, seeking better economic opportunities or fearful of their future under Chinese Communist rule. This outflow is more than counterbalanced by legal and illegal immigration from China.

The leading religious affiliations among the Chinese are Buddhism, Daoism (Taoism), and traditional sects, followed by Christianity and Islam. English and Chinese are the languages of government. The Cantonese dialect is the usual medium of communication, although Mandarin has been promoted since the reversion to Chinese sovereignty.

In 1996 more than 92% of Hong Kong's adult population were literate. The first nine years of education are free, universal, and compulsory, and almost all students complete two further years of secondary education. In 1995 there were six universities and several other postsecondary institutions.


Hong Kong was originally acquired by Britain because of its magnificent natural harbor (Victoria Harbour). From the late 19th century, along with Shanghai, it was one of the main entrep™ts for Western commerce with China. After 1949, when the traditional entrep™t trade with China declined, Shanghaiese businessmen fleeing from the Communists, local entrepreneurs, and the old British trading houses set up many new industries, making use of the cheap labor of the mass of refugees. Hong Kong's success in exporting manufactures to Europe and North America attracted substantial investment by American and Japanese firms. Leading exports now include clothing and textiles, yarn and fabric, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, and toys. Imports include foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, machinery, and transportation equipment. One-third of China's imports and exports pass through the port.

In recent years many production processes have been relocated to adjacent areas of Guangdong and Shenzhen to take advantage of cheaper labor there. Hong Kong firms employ more than twice as many people on the mainland as they do in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has become the largest banking center in the Pacific region after Tokyo. China's investment in Hong Kong's real estate, service industries, and financial sector since the late 1980s has been substantial. Trade, finance, insurance, tourism, shipping, and other services accounted for more than 85% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997. That year, manufacturing employed more than 13% of the labor force but generated only about 6% of the GDP. The important tourist sector, which declined along with many Asian economies in 1997 and 1998, began to recover by 1999, when 10.7 million tourists visited Hong Kong. That year, it was announced that the third Disney theme park outside of the United States was to be constructed in Hong Kong. In 2000 the Hong Kong government signed an agreement for the construction of Cyberport, an information technology center that would include research facilities and housing, in an effort to attract more multinational companies specializing in computing and information technology. Agriculture and fishing account for about 0.1% of the GDP, and most food must be imported.

After Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, it retained its separate currency linked to the U.S. dollar, its own passports, and its individual membership in such international organizations as the World Trade Organization. Hong Kong residents also did not have to pay Chinese taxes. Whether Hong Kong's free-wheeling economy and society would continue to flourish unimpeded by Chinese interference was considered one of the key tests facing China's leaders following the death of Deng Xiaoping in February 1997. Unlike its neighbors, Hong Kong did not devalue its currency when its stock market fell steeply in October due to a regional currency crisis. By 1998 it was experiencing an economic contraction for the first time in 13 years due to the economic downturn that had engulfed much of Asia. By mid-year unemployment had reached a 15-year high and property values had declined dramatically. In the third quarter of 1998 the economy actually contracted by 7% under the impact of declining retail sales, exports, tourism, and domestic consumption its worst performance in decades. The recession continued into 1999, and property values declined by about 50% between 1997 and 2000. In 2000, Hong Kong had the fastest-growing economy in Asia, expanding at more than 10% during that year. The number of workers unemployed or underemployed remained very high, however, and the economy grew by only about 1% in 2001.

Hong Kong's current woes stem from a variety of factors the economic difficulties affecting many of its major trading partners; a steep decline in property values that has devastated middle-class property owners; the declining importance of Hong Kong as an intermediary for trade with and investment in southern China; and a growing lack of faith in the government's ability to deal with the situation. Although China continued to administer Hong Kong under the promised "one nation, two systems" model, its economy and that of the mainland were clearly intricately linked, and critics charged that its government was far too willing to surrender its autonomy to Beijing.


Britain seized Hong Kong to secure a base for the opium traders expelled from Guangzhou (Canton). It was then a barren rock occupied by a few communities of fishermen. Commercial development soon attracted thousands of migrants from the mainland. This influx continued, particularly when China was convulsed by war or internal disorder.

In 1940 the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. They occupied it until the end of World War II, when British colonial rule was restored. Communist armies reached the frontier in 1949 after their victory in the Chinese civil war but made no attempt to invade, although the Chinese government repeatedly declared that the treaties governing Hong Kong had been imposed by force and were not binding. There were serious riots in 1967, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in China, but apart from this the Chinese government left the colony undisturbed, probably because up to 40% of China's foreign exchange earnings were derived from trade and commercial transactions with it. In 1982 negotiations began on Hong Kong's future, and in 1984, China and Britain signed a joint declaration under which China would resume sovereignty over the whole colony in 1997 and promised to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, allowing capitalism and the inhabitants' lifestyle to continue undisturbed for 50 years. In 1990, China promulgated a Basic Law (constitution) for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region after 1997. It provided that one-third of the members of the legislature would be directly elected and that the chief executive (to be appointed by Beijing) would have greater powers than the British governor.

Unlike other British colonies, Hong Kong's system of government did not develop into a parliamentary democracy. Until 1985 the Legislative Council consisted of civil servants and members appointed by the governor. From 1985 some members were indirectly elected, and in 1994 under the last British governor, Chris Patten the electorate was expanded. Prodemocracy candidates won a potential majority in 1995, when all council members were directly or indirectly elected. The British extension of democracy created tensions with China, which in March 1996 rejected the elected legislature. In December a Chinese-appointed selection committee chose shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa to become Hong Kong's new chief executive and a provisional legislature to take over on July 1, 1997, when Hong Kong officially reverted to China. The transition ceremony took place smoothly at midnight on June 30, amid some anxieties concerning the continuation of political and economic freedoms. Tung announced that limitations on the rights of public protest and free association would be imposed under Chinese control. Elections were held in May 1998 to replace the appointed provisional legislature with a permanent legislature chosen by proportional voting and limited constituencies under a system designed to limit popular government. Prodemocracy candidates won more than 60% of the popular vote, but they held less than one-third of the seats in the new legislative council. On July 1, China's President Jiang Zemin visited Hong Kong and took part in ceremonies marking the first anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty. That same month, Bill Clinton became the first incumbent U.S. president ever to visit Hong Kong. Controversy developed in 1999 when a decision by the Hong Kong high court expanding rights of residency was overturned by the Chinese legislature; the Hong Kong court finally ruled in December that the Chinese legislature had final authority in interpreting Hong Kong's constitution in such cases. Critics charged that these actions compromised Hong Kong's legal autonomy. A legal challenge to the reinterpretation of the immigration law, launched in May 2000 by more than 5,000 Chinese immigrants living illegally in Hong Kong, was defeated in the high court in January 2002. Thus, once again, Hong Kong's courts supported the Chinese government's efforts to restrict immigration from the mainland.

In the 2000 legislative elections, prodemocracy candidates retained the same number of seats they had previously held, but their share of the popular vote declined. Anson Chan, the first woman and the first Chinese person to head the civil service in Hong Kong, stepped down from that post in January 2001; her resignation severed the last major government link to the colonial era and fueled concerns about whether Hong Kong would be able to retain the unique qualities that contributed to its prosperity if faced with pressure from the Chinese government. In July 2001 the Hong Kong legislature approved a controversial bill that will apparently allow China to dismiss Hong Kong's chief executive. In February 2002, Hong Kong's election committee selected Tung for a second term without opposition, despite his domestic unpopularity.

The fortress of Sacsahuaman

The fortress of Sacsahuaman was built by the Inca in the 15th century on a hill northwest of their capital at Cuzco, in Peru. The fortress takes the form of a series of zigzag retaining walls built of huge stones, some weighing several tons. Such fortresses, called pucaras, were frequently built above population centers in the Andes to serve as refuges for the populace in case of attack. Spanish sources suggest that Sacsahuaman was also an important storage center, and it may have had religious significance as well. Construction is usually attributed to the ruler Pachacuti, but it is unlikely that the huge fortress was completed in a single reign.