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Hong Kong prior to the British

The Hong Kong area has been inhabited for thousands of years. Long before the British arrived on these shores. A 4,500 year-old burial ground has been unearthed on Lantau Island and numerous petroglyphs exist as well.

Hong Kong's early inhabitation can still be seen on journeys to outlying islands. There are ancient defensive walls, moats and gatehouses protecting the settlements from pre-colonial days . Many of these areas have subsequently become fishing villages.

About 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty, China claimed Hong Kong and the
surrounding area. The Cantonese, a group of Chinese people with their own distinct language, migrated here during the 14th Century. Interestingly, many people continue to pay rent to descendants of the dominant settler families, known as the "Five Great Clans."

By the 17th Century, the Hong Kong region was infamous for piracy. To solve the problem, the ruling Manchus evacuated the coastal area. During this period a new group of emigrants arrived from the north. Known as the Hakka or "guest" people, they farmed rice, pineapples, tea and incense .

To learn more about Hong Kong's over 4,000 years of pre-colonial history, visit the Hong Kong Museum of History.

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