Hong Kong Island


Hong Kong Island

Infobox Islands
name = Hong Kong



image caption =
image size =
locator
Location map|China|lat=22.255|long=114.195
map_custom = yes
native name = 港島
native name link = Chinese language
nickname =
location = Hong Kong
coordinates = coord|22.255|N|114.195|E|display=inline,title
archipelago =
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|80.4|km2|sqmi|abbr=on
highest mount = Victoria Peak
elevation = convert|552|m|ft|abbr=on
country = People's Republic of China
country admin divisions title = Special administrative region
country admin divisions = flag|Hong Kong
population = 1,268,112
population as of = 2006
density = 15,915
ethnic groups =
additional info =

Hong Kong Island (zh-t|t=香港島) is an island in the southern part of Hong Kong, China. It has a population of 1,268,112 and its population density is 15,915/km², as of 2006. The island had a population of 3,000 inhabitants scattered in a dozen fishing villages when it was occupied by the United Kingdom in the First Opium War in 1842, and the City of Victoria was then established on the island by the British Force in honor of Queen Victoria. The Central area on the island is the historical, political and economic centre of Hong Kong. The northern coast of the island forms the southern shore of the Victoria Harbour, which is largely responsible for the development of Hong Kong due to its deep waters favoured by large trade ships.

The island is home to many of the most famous sights in Hong Kong, such as "The Peak", Ocean Park, many historical sites and various large shopping centres. The mountain ranges across the island are also famous for hiking.The northern part of Hong Kong Island together with Kowloon forms the core urban area of Hong Kong. Their combined area is approximately 88.3 km2 (34.5 sq. mi.) and their combined population (that of the northern part of the island and of Kowloon) is approximately 3,156,500, reflecting a population density of 35,700/km² (91,500/sq. mi.).

The island is also sometimes referred to locally as "Island side". This style was formerly applied to many locations (eg 'China-side' or even 'Kowloon Walled City-side') but is now only heard in this form and 'Kowloon side', suggesting the two sides of the harbour. [Booth, Martin. "Gweilo: A memoir of a Hong Kong childhood", Bantam Books, 2005. ISBN 0553816721, pp108, 173]

Administration

Districts located on the island:
* Central and Western District
* Eastern District
* Southern District
* Wan Chai District

"Note:" Hong Kong Island is not part of the Islands District.

History

Hong Kong Island was first occupied militarily by Captain Charles Elliot, British Royal Navy, on 20 January 1841. It was known as the "barren rock". The Royal Navy landed at Possession Point.

The Treaty of Nanking officially ceded the Island "in perpetuity" to Great Britain in 1842. Hong Kong developed into a prosperous, if somewhat sleepy, colonial outpost, and a convenient port from which the British Empire could extract material wealth from the decaying Qing Empire. The territory of Hong Kong was further expanded in 1898 with the acquisition of Kowloon and the New Territories in a 99-year lease. The prosperity of Hong Kong came to a sudden end with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and the subsequent Japanese invasion in 1941.

The Second World War was a dark period for Hong Kong. Britons, Canadians, Indians and the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Forces resisted the Japanese invasion commanded by Sakai Takashi which started on December 8, 1941, eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. However the Japanese were able to take control of the Hong Kong skies on the first day of attack, outnumbering the defensive forces. The Britons and the Indians retreated from the Gin Drinker's Line and consequently from Kowloon under heavy aerial bombardment and artillery barrage. Fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island between the Japanese and Canadians, the result of which was the loss of the only reservoir in Hong Kong. The Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers fought at the crucial point of Wong Nai Chong Gap and successfully secured the passage between Central and the secluded southern parts of the island. However, their victory did not last long.

Hong Kong fell on December 25, 1941, which thereafter was often called "Black Christmas" by locals. The Governor of Hong Kong, Mark Young, surrendered in person at the temporary Japanese headquarters, on the third floor of the Peninsula Hotel. Isogai Rensuke became the first Japanese governor of Hong Kong. Hyper-inflation and food rationing followed; and the Japanese declared Hong Kong Dollars illegal. Furthermore, 10,000 women were raped in the first few days after Hong Kong's capture and a large number of suspected dissidents were executed. The Japanese cut rations for civilians to conserve food for soldiers, usually to starvation levels. Many people were forcibly moved to famine- and disease-ridden areas of the mainland. When the Japanese surrendered to the United States on August 14, 1945, the population of Hong Kong had shrunk to 600,000, less than half of the pre-war population of 1.6 million.

Geography

Hong Kong Island is the second-largest island of the territory, the largest being Lantau Island. Its area is 80.4 km², including 6.98 km² of land reclaimed since 1887 and some smaller scale ones since 1851. It makes up approximately 7% of the total territory. It is separated from the mainland (Kowloon Peninsula and New Territories) by Victoria Harbour.

Demographics

Its population as of 2000 is 1,367,900, which makes up approximately 19% of that of Hong Kong. Its population density is higher than for the whole of Hong Kong, ca. 18,000 per km². However, the population is heavily concentrated along the northern shore. The combined population of Central and Western, Wan Chai, and Eastern is 1,085,500, giving this urbanised part of the island a density of around 26,000 per km², or 67,000 per mi², in its approximately 41.3 km², or 16.1 mi². Together with Kowloon, these urban areas contain 47% of the total population.

Transport

The Island Line of the MTR underground railway network runs exclusively on Hong Kong Island, from West to East, along the northern coastline of the island. However, the western part of the island is not yet served by the railway. The government and MTR have planned to extend the Island Line to Kennedy Town, the western tip of the island. The extension is expected to start construction in 2008 and open in 2012.

Hong Kong Tramways and the Peak Tram run exclusively on Hong Kong Island, which run from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan, with a branch links from Causeway Bay to Happy Valley and the Central District to Victoria Peak respectively.

Hong Kong Island is connected to the Kowloon Peninsula on the mainland by two road-only tunnels (the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Western Harbour Tunnel), two MTR railway tunnels (Tsuen Wan Line and Tung Chung Line) and one combined road and MTR rail link tunnel (Eastern Harbour Tunnel, containing the Tseung Kwan O Line and road traffic in separate conduits running side by side). A fourth rail link (Shatin to Central Link from Causeway Bay to Hung Hom) and a fourth harbour-crossing tunnel are being planned in order to solve the congested traffic of the current tunnels in peak hours. There is no bridge between the island and the mainland. A bridge connects Ap Lei Chau and Wong Chuk Hang of Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. It was opened in 1983 with two lanes and was expanded to four in 1994.

ee also

* Hong Kong
* List of areas of Hong Kong
* List of streets and roads in Hong Kong
* Islands and peninsulas of Hong Kong
* Country parks and conservation in Hong Kong
* Queen's Road
* Des Voeux Road
* Connaught Road

External links

* [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Hong+Kong&ll=22.254148,114.197044&spn=0.163609,0.328766&t=k&hl=en Satellite image of Hong Kong Island by Google Maps]
* [http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/doc/internet/cht/cnt_highlight.html Map of Hong Kong in 1844]

References


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