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Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Home> Countries> Asia> Macau

Country Name

Macau, and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR).


China surrounds Macau along every border except in the southeast. From there, Macau shares a border with the Pacific Ocean.

Vietnam is to the southwest of Macau, and the island nation of Taiwan is situated to the east of Macau.

Reason for Naming

The first known written record of the name "Macau", translated as "Ya/A Ma Gang" ("亞/阿-媽/馬-港"), is found in a letter dated 20 November 1555.

The local inhabitants believed that the sea-goddess Mazu (alternatively called A-Ma) had blessed and protected the harbor and called the waters around A-Ma Temple using her name.

When Portuguese explorers first arrived in the area and asked for the place's name, the locals thought they were asking about the temple and told them it was "Ma Kok" (媽閣).

The earliest Portuguese spelling for this was Amaquão. Multiple variations were used until Amacão / Amacao and Macão / Macao became common during the 17th century.


The flag of Macau was adopted on 31 March 1999.

The flag is composed of a green background with a white lotus flower above the stylized Governador Nobre de Carvalho Bridge and water, and an arc of five golden pointed stars above the lotus flower: one large star in the center of the arc with two smaller stars on each side of the large star.

The lotus was chosen as the floral emblem of Macau.