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Hong Kong is situated on the southeastern coast of China and spreads out over 1,100 square kilometres (425 square miles).
The main areas are Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. Hong Kong Island lies just south of Kowloon and the two are separated by Victoria Harbour. The New Territories lie north of Kowloon and run up to the boundary with mainland China.
As well as making up the bulk of Hong Kong's land mass, the New Territories also include more than 260 outlying islands.
Hong Kong was a collection of fishing villages when claimed as a crown colony by Britain in 1841. At that time it was described as a "barren rock", much to the amusement of today's property barons.
More than 70 per cent of Hong Kong's total area is rural, including about 40 per cent designated as protected country parks. This means Hong Kong has one of the world's highest ratios of designated parkland.