Hong Kong


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The name of the territory was first spelled as "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780, and originally referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. The source of the romanised name is not known, but it is generally believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng. The name translates to "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour". "Fragrance" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's fresh water influx from the Pearl River or to the aroma from incense factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before Victoria Harbour developed. Sir John Davis, the second colonial Governor, offered an alternative origin, claiming that the name was derived from "Hoong-keang" (meaning "red torrent"), reflecting the colour of soil through which a waterfall on the island flowed.