Postal Stamps Commemorate 400th Anniversary of the Battle of Macau

On June 24, 1622, the Portuguese Blocked the Invasion of Macau by Dutch Protestants.The Diocese of Macau,was instrumental in evangelizing vast territories,including Japan, China, and the Moluccan (Maluku) islands of Indonesia.


Newsroom (12/08/2022 16:48, Gaudium PressMacau authorities issued special postage stamps on August 9 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Portugal’s victory over Dutch forces in the Battle of Macau.

The initial plan for the stamps was June 24, the date when in 1622, after a three-day battle, the Portuguese defeated Dutch forces who were armed with 13 warships that besieged the island.

Divine Intervention

On June 24, 1622, a fleet of 13 Dutch ships with about 800 soldiers made the decision to invade Macau when most of the residents of the Portuguese colony were in China. They were in China to buy goods for the annual Japanese trade and the military was fighting the Manchu conquest of China.

Macau was left with only 50 musketeers and 100 residents able to operate firearms along with a few cannons.

The bells rang insistently, the ladies took refuge in the church and treasures were stored in the Seminary.

Church records say that Jesuit priests in Macau guided the fighters as they fired shots and cannons on the hilltop of Monte Guia against the Dutch, causing great damage to their fleet. A shot fired by the Jesuit Fr. Rho hit a powder wagon, stunning the invading forces.

A Dutch military contingent attempted to enter Macau by climbing up the Guia mountain, but were caught in an ambush. In a stampede, the Dutch were attacked by the local population.  In the final combat, the defeated Dutch threw themselves into the sea in an attempt to reach the boats.  Many drowned and one of the overcrowded boats sank. Portuguese records say that about 350 attackers died in battle or drowned.

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To unsuspecting Macau, the victory was considered a miracle. After the fighting, everyone went to the Cathedral for a solemn thanksgiving, and a vow was made to commemorate this day henceforth, the salvation of the city being attributed to Saint John the Baptist who, by his mantle, deflected the enemy’s shots.

Portuguese Colony

Macau, a special administrative region of China, was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999.

Catholicism came to Macau during Portuguese rule. The Diocese of Macau, established in 1576, is the first diocese in the Far East, covering vast territories in Asia, including Japan, China, and the Moluccan (Maluku) islands of Indonesia.

Since the 19th century, Macau has been a gateway for foreign missionaries entering mainland China.

With information from Ucanews.

Compiled by Florence MacDonald

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