The Portuguese defeated the Dutch forces on June 24, 1622, on the feast of St. John the Baptist
A commemorative postal stamp marking the 400th anniversary of the Portuguese victory against the Dutch in the Battle of Macau. (Photo: The Post and Telecommunications Bureau of Macau)
The authorities in Macau have released special postal stamps to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Portuguese victory against Dutch forces in the Battle of Macau.
The Post and Telecommunications Bureau of Macau has announced the release of the stamps on Aug. 9, saying the stamps will be available for sale from Aug. 15. A set of two stamps will cost 6.50 Macanese patacas (US$ 0.81).
The Bureau said that the initial plan to launch the stamps was June 24, the date when in 1622, following a three-day battle, the Portuguese defeated the Dutch forces armed with 13 warships that laid a siege on the island.
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Traditionally, the historic victory is celebrated in Macau as the “Festival of St. John,” as the victory came on the feast of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Macau.
The authorities in the Chinese-ruled territory also released a souvenir sheet, featuring the carnival activities during the "Festival of St. John" in the Xiexiang Alley, with colorful flags, food, Portuguese architecture, and musical performances.
The souvenir sheet uses the "Statue of St. John" in the Municipal Affairs Bureau as the main stamp image, along with the image of the city of Macau in 1622, and the "Victory of the Dutch Monument" in Victory Garden to express the origin of the festival in Macau.
In 2020, the festival was listed on the “Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Macau.”
Macau celebrates the feast as "Macau City Day" in remembrance of the miraculous providence and divine intervention that they believe saved the city.
On June 24, 1622, a fleet of 13 Dutch ships with around 800 soldiers decided to invade Macau when most residents of the Portuguese colony were in China to buy goods for the annual Japanese trade and the military personnel were fighting in the Manchu conquest of China.
Macau was left with only 50 musketeers and 100 residents able to operate firearms along with some cannons.
Church records say Jesuit priests in Macau guided the fighters as they fired shots and canons atop Monte’s hill against the Dutch, causing extensive damage to their fleet.
A Dutch military contingent attempted to enter Macau by climbing Guia’s Hill, but they were caught in an ambush. Most of them died by drowning as they tried to flee.
The Dutch army retreated after losing an estimated 500 men in the fierce battle.
Macau, a special administrative region of China, was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999.
The island, known as Asia’s gaming and gambling hub, is one of the world’s most densely populated cities with an estimated 700,000 in just 33 square kilometers. Macau has about 30,000 Catholics in nine parishes.
Catholicism came to Macau during Portuguese rule. Macau Diocese, created in 1576, is the first diocese in the Far East, covering vast territories in Asia including Japan, China and the Moluccas (Maluku) islands of Indonesia.
Since the 19th century, Macau has been a gateway for foreign missionaries entering mainland China. Over the past centuries, more than 100 dioceses have become independent from the Macau diocese.
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