Macau was under Chinese rule for centuries, and during this time, it was a hotbed for smugglers and pirates. China gave the city’s control to Portugal in the 16th century in exchange for their help in clearing out piracy from the city. Macau thus became the first Far East European settlement. In 1987, Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, ending 400 plus years of Portuguese administration. Macau, being the first country to be colonized by Europe, was also the last to obtain its freedom from colonial rule. While Macau is now a part of China, it maintains its own ruling systems, like the neighboring Hong Kong. Over the years, however, China has established a more or less strictly-benign rule over Macau that has seen to benefit Macau but hasn’t earned China any brownie points, since Macau is not a total democracy.