Hong Kong


Hong Kong British colony

Hong Kong
British colony

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China

Hong Kong
SAR China





Quick reference

General issues: British colony 1862-1941, British colony 1945-1997, Special administrative region China 1997-Present

Country name on general issues: Hong Kong

Special issues: Japanese occupation 1941-1945

Currency: 1 (Hong Kong) Dollar = 100 Cent 1862-Present

Population: 809 000 in 1900, 7 188 000 in 2013

Political history Hong Kong

Postal history Hong Kong

Please click on the image to enlarge

Hong Kong is located in China in eastern Asia. Trade through Hong Kong has existed since the early 19th century. After the First Opium War – fought between Great Britain and China to open up China for diplomatic and trade relations – the island of Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain, to become a British colony in 1842. After the Second Opium War – fought roughly for the same reasons – China, in 1860, also ceded part of the Kowloon peninsula to Great Britain. Further territory was acquired in 1898 when the remainder of Kowloon and the New Territories were leased to the British for a period of 100 years. Under British rule, Hong Kong developed into one of the major centers of international trade and commerce in the world. During WWII, Hong Kong was occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945. In 1997, when the British lease ended, all of Hong Kong was returned to China. Currently, Hong Kong is a special administrative region in the Peoples Republic of China. As such, it enjoys a certain amount of self government in domestic policy – in particular economic policy, Hong Kong being a capitalist enclave in a communist country.

Postal history Hong Kong

Postal history Hong Kong

1997 – Establishment of the Special Administrative Region

The first stamps used in Hong Kong are those of Great Britain, from 1842, that can be recognized by the cancel. The first stamps for Hong Kong are issued in 1862, a portrait of queen Victoria with Hong Kong inscribed in Chinese and Latin characters. Hong Kong being the most important British foothold in Eastern Asia, several offices abroad in Eastern and Southeastern Asia were run from Hong Kong, using stamps of Hong Kong. Thus, offices using stamps of Hong Kong existed – some only for a short time – in:

  • China 1862-1917: Treaty ports and Weihaiwei. In China, Hong Kong issues overprinted ‘China’ were used from 1917 .
  • Formosa 1889-1892: Anping
  • Japan 1859-1879: Kobe, Nagasaki and Yokohama
  • Labuan 1864
  • Macau 1863-1884
  • Philippines 1865-1877: Manilla
  • Thailand 1885: Bangkok
  • Tonkin: Haiphong and Hanoi.

During the occupation by Japan in WWII, Japanese stamps were used from 1941. An issue for Hong Kong appeared in 1945, overprinted stamps of Japan.

Having become a special administrative region in China in 1997, Hong Kong has continued to issue stamps until today.

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