It is an event that neither Hong Kong, China nor Britain are likely to be celebrating. Nevertheless, on this day – January 26 – in 1841, the British flag was first unfurled at Possession Point by Royal Navy sailors.
At the time, Hong Kong was a sleepy backwater – home to around 7,450 Tanka and Hakka people. However, it would prove to be a handy trading outpost.
“Albert is so amused at my having got the island of Hong Kong”, wrote Queen Victoria in 1841.
The Convention of Chuenpee ceded the island to the British after the First Opium War, in which 600 Chinese soldiers died.
Within five months, British officials began selling land in Hong Kong and the territory formally became a British possession a year later.
Possession Point was originally named Tai Hang Hau, or “Big Puddle”. The area was redeveloped into a Chinese-style garden which is today known as Hollywood Road park.