- a former Portuguese dependency on the SE coast of China, on the west side of the Pearl River estuary opposite Hong Kong; population 433,700 (est. 2006); official languages, Portuguese and Cantonese; capital, Macao City. Portuguese name Macau.
The area comprises the Macao peninsula and two nearby islands. Macao was developed by the Portuguese as a trading post, becoming in the 18th century the chief centre of trade between Europe and China. Under the terms of a 1987 agreement sovereignty passed to China in 1999