The island of Hong Kong (Xianggang) was ceded to Britain in 1842, and the Kowloon area in 1860 (after the ﬁrst and second opium wars respectively); in 1898 the New Territories were acquired on a lease running to 1997. The colony’s population, which was only 700,000 after the 1941-5 Japanese occupation, rose to 2.5 million by 1955, largely because of a ﬂood of refugees from China. By 2006, swollen by further immigration, it was 7 million (and 95% Chinese). Income per head was far above the level on the mainland and among the highest in the world. Manufacturing, trading and ﬁnancial activity had turned Hong Kong into one of East Asia’s prosperous ‘little dragons’.