1557: the Portuguese are first Europeans to settle in this part of Asia, installing their trading post in Macao, at about 30 miles west of the inhabited archipelago that will become Hong Kong.
1796: opium trade, in which the British will become more and more active, is forbidden by the emperor of China.
1840: first opium war between the British and Chinese.
1841: the British naval forces take possession of Hong Kong Island in the name of the British Crown.
1842: end of the first opium war, Nankin treaty that gives away Hong Kong to Great Britain forever.
1843: the territory officially becomes a British possession.
1858-1860: second opium war, the Chinese are defeated once again, cession of Kowloon Peninsula to Great Britain.
1880: first ferry service in Hong Kong.
1898: Bejing convention, The New Territories sector is given away to Great Britain for a lease of 99 years.
1911: fall of the Chinese Empire.
1937: beginning of the Sino-Japanese war.
1941: Japanese invade Hong Kong territory.
1945: the Japanese capitulate.
1949: Mao takes over in China.
1967: riots in Hong Kong in response to the cultural revolution in China.
1982: beginning of negotiations between London and Bejing on the future of Hong Kong
1984: China and Great Britain sign an agreement in favour of China's plans for a future restitution of the territory
1989: Tian'anmen square events in Bejing have a strong impact in Hong Kong.
1997: Hong Kong is reinstated as part of China, Tung Chee Hwa takes office as the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong
2005: Tung Chee Hwa resigns, and Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration at the time, succeeds him as Chief Executive
January 1: New Year's Day
February 3 2011: Chinese New Year (the date varies every year, depending on the lunar calendar). The end of New Year's celebrations is followed by the Lantern Festival.
March: Festival of Hong Kong's cuisine
April (changes dates): Tin Hau Festival (celebration of the deity that protects fishermen).
April 5: Ching Ming Festival (Ancestor's Day)
April 22: Good Friday
April 25: Easter Monday
May 1: Labour Day.
May (changes dates): Cheung Chau Bun Festival (Cheung Chau Taoist festivities).
May 21: Lord Buddha's Birthday
June 6:Tuen Ng Day (dragon boats)
last Monday in August: Liberation Day (commemoration of Hong Kong's liberation from the Japanese occupation)
August-September: Month of ghosts (offerings to calm the spirits of the dead).
September 12: mid-autumn festival October 1: National Day October 5: Chung Yeung Festival
December 25: Christmas (this Christian holiday is celebrated essentially for its commercial aspect, gifts, outings, etc.).
December 26: Boxing Day.