By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (December 20, 2023) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps reveals a history of casino gambling which is sure to surprise most.


Macau is a region on the southern coast of China, sitting across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. 

It was established as a Portuguese colony in the 1550s and remained under Portuguese rule until midnight on December 20, 1999 when it became an administrative region of China.

It was once a hub for the Silk Road trading routes, but today is noted for its casino and awe-inspiring architecture.

Macau was the first established European colony in Asia.  The Chinese leased it to Portugal in 1557 and it became a full colony in 1887.

The territory is just 13 square miles in area, but over 660,000 people live there.  That makes over 52,000 people per square mile and the winner of the world’s largest population density.

Macao is nicknamed “the Monte Carlo of the Orient” since over 50% of its GDP comes from gambling.  The casinos there generate revenue about 6 times what Las Vegas does.

EDITOR’s NOTE: Did you know gambling operations in Vegas have strong ties to Loveland, Ohio?  Stop in Loveland Museum Center and ask about gambling chips from a casino right here in Branch Hill.

Bellin’s map of Macau from 1749 is shared here.  

1749 chart of Macau (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.