The Macanese Chronicles: A History of Luso-Asians in a Global Economy

Author: Roy Eric Xavier

Published:  2020


This is a historical account of Luso (Portuguese) Asians and their role in establishing and maintaining the first global economy connecting Europe and Asia.

Part 1 describes their early settlements across the Portuguese Overseas Empire, beginning with Goa in 1511, through migrations to Malacca, Indonesia, Siam, Macau, Hong Kong, and Shanghai up to the end of the Opium Wars in 1860.

Part 2 focuses on the largest group of Luso-Asians from Macau, the “Macanese”, who settled from 1842 in Hong Kong to work for the British colonial government, merchant houses, and international banks. Several stories of individuals, who were community activists, clerks, business owners, working class proprietors, and wartime refugees are offered to illustrate deteriorating relations with the government as World War II approached.

The conclusion then highlights recent efforts of expatriates to use technology to develop cultural and commercial exchanges with modern China, an attempt to recapture the traditional role of the Macanese as intermediaries and ambassadors of change.

“I read (The Macanese Community of Hong Kong) with detailed interest. …For years I had hoped someone as you would come to the fore to write on this topic, and you have now realized my expectation.”

Armando M. da Silva, Emeritus Professor, Towson University, Baltimore

“I have read (The Macanese at War) with great interest … The strong theme that comes through here is the “agency” of the Macanese under adversity.”

Geoffrey C. Gunn, Emeritus Professor, Nagasaki University

“Your article (on The Origins of Macau’s culture) is just wonderful. I have read your work several times. Please, continue. We need people like you.”

Lucio de Sousa, Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

“I found your meticulously researched article (on the Hongkong Printing Press) very inspiring.”

Calvin Wong, Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong

“The work you are doing is extremely important. Keep going with it.”

Marisa C Gaspar, Research Fellow, Universidade de Lisboa (ISCSP)

“You’ve certainly compiled a most important and valuable resource, one which I’ve used for my PhD and which I used for other projects a few years ago too.”

Amelia Allsop, Senior Researcher, Kadoorie Heritage Project, Hong Kong

About the Author
Dr. Roy Eric Xavier is the Director of the Portuguese and Macanese Studies Project, and a Visiting Scholar at U.C. Berkeley’s “Institute for the Study of Societal Issues”. His research is on the history of Luso-Asian and Macanese communities, and cultural and economic diversity in Macau and Hong Kong, Special Administrative Regions of China.

His articles have appeared in English, Portuguese, and Mandarin in the Macau Government’s “Review of Culture”, the Macau newspapers “Jornal Tribuna de Macau”, Ponto Final, and the “Macau Post Daily”, the University of Hong Kong’s “Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society”, and in Geoffrey Gunn’s anthology: “Wartime Macau” published through Columbia University. Dr. Xavier was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Macau (Hengqin campus) in 2015. He often previews ideas on his blog, Far East Currents (, then publishes papers on He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz.

In a former life, Dr. Xavier founded and managed KCRT Television and Media, a cable television station and internet streaming service, for 14 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also was the Associate Dean of Film and Television at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles for 3 years.