quinta-feira, 28 de maio de 2009

Macau at war

According to the 1940 census Macau (Colónia Portuguesa de Macau) had a population of 340,260 inhabitants, of which 4,322 were Portuguese and 335,938 were members of other nationalities, of which by far the most numerous were Chinese. The Portuguese Governor and Commander-in-Chief in Macau in 1941 was Navy Commander Gabriel Mauricio Teixeira. In 1936-1937 the Portuguese military colonial garrison in Macau numbered exactly 497 men: 22 Portuguese officers, 35 Portuguese NCO's and 440 soldiers, including 224 native soldiers, assembled in 1 European infantry company, 1 European artillery company, 1 heavy machine-gun company, 2 native companies and 1 depot section.
The Portuguese military garrison in Macau consisted during the war (1941-1945) from the following units: Commander: Navy Commander Gabriel Mauricio Teixeira (Comandante)Headquarters, Chief of Staff: Major Carlos da Silva Carvalho (Chefe de Estado-Maior), two native light rifle companies, recruited in Mozambique (companhias indígenas de caçadores), one machine-gun company (companhia de metralhadoras), one artillery company (companhia de artilharia), military detachment at Taipa (Destacamento militar na Taipa), military detachment at Ilha Verde (Destacamento militar na Ilha Verde) and supposedly there were 4 Hawker Osprey seaplanes in Macao in 1940.
Following the surrender of Hong Kong in December 1941, the Japanese decided not to formally occupy Macao. One reason may have been that the Japanese wished to respect Portuguese neutrality. The fact remains that Japanese troops went in and out of Macao at will with little protest from Portuguese authorities. However, in spite of this situation, the Allied flags (USA, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France) were allowed to be displayed in Macao at their respective embassies.
After August 1943, Japanese influence in Macao increased after they attacked and captured a British cargo ship, the Sian (or X'ian), off the coast of Macao after killing 20 of its crew. Perhaps it was carrying contraband war supplies for Nationalist Chinese Forces. It was after this incident that Japan ordered the government of Macao to accept Japanese "Advisors" as an alternative to complete military occupation. Later, Japan became even more aggressive in ordering the Governor of Macao, Commander Gabriel Mauricio Teixeira, to recognize Japanese authority in South China. Furthermore, Japanese authorities ordered Portuguese troops to leave their barracks on Lappa Island, an island adjacent to Macao and occupied by the Portuguese troops. The Japanese also were given the authority to conduct house-to-house searches in Macao.
Macau remained almost isolated from the outside world but was never occupied by the Japanese forces during World War II. It remained neutral during the war, but was essentially out of contact with the government in Lisboa (Portugal), isolated and out of touch. This prevented either reinforcement or withdrawal. Apparently the biggest problems were caused by Chinese civilians taking refuge from the Japanese. However, the Portuguese gunboat at Macau (river gunboat Macau??) was seized by the Japanese and renamed Maiko. This event happened shortly after Portugal made the Azores available to Allied aircraft. At the end of World War II, after the Japonese surrender, Macau returned to his normal situation.
Editado a partir da História do Exército Português, 1910-1945, Volume III

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