Portuguese Macau refers to Macau's history as a Portuguese trading post in China from the mid-16th century to a colonial territory until 1999. Macau was both the first and last European holding in China.
Macau's history under Portugal can be broadly divided into three distinct political periods. The first was the establishment of the Portuguese settlement in 1557 until 1849. There was a system of mixed jurisdiction; the Portuguese had jurisdiction over the Portuguese community and certain aspects of the territory's administration but had no real sovereignty. The second was the colonial period, which scholars generally place from 1849 to 1974. As Macau's importance among other territories grew within the Portuguese Empire, Portuguese sovereignty over Macau was strengthened and it became a constitutional part of Portuguese territory. Chinese sovereignty during this era was mainly nominal. Finally, the third was the transition period or post-colonial period, which occurred after the 1974 revolution in Portugal until 1999.
The 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration called Macau a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration". Full sovereignty was transferred in a ceremony on 20 December 1999.