Colonized by the
Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first
European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by
China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special
Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. In this
agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems"
formula, China's socialist economic system would not be practiced in
Macau, and that Macau would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all
matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years. Its
languages are: Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other
Chinese dialects 3.1%, and other 3%.