Nei Lingding Island

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A view of Nei Lingding Island from Castle Peak, Hong Kong

Nei Lingding Island (Chinese: 内伶仃岛, Nei Lingding Dao, 'Inner Lingding Island') is an island in the Pearl River estuary in the southeastern Chinese province of Guangdong. Although it is located closer to the eastern (Hong Kong and Shenzhen) shore of the estuary, it was until 2009 administratively part of the prefecture-level city of Zhuhai, whose main administrative center is located on the west shore of the river. The jurisdiction of Nei Lingding Island was handed over to Shenzhen in 2009.[1]


A 19th-century German map shows "Lintin Island" in the middle of the Pearl River Estuary

When the Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares and Rafael Perestrello landed on Nei Lingding Island (known in early European sources as Lintin Island) in May 1513,[2] his was the first known arrival of a European-flagged ship to set anchor on the coast of China.[3]

Opiums ships at Lintin in 1824, by William John Huggins

As of 1814[4] Nei Lingding (Lintin) Island was called the "outer anchorage" for European ships traveling to Canton (Guangzhou). They would have to stop at the island, have their cargo inspected and measured by the Chinese customs officials stationed at the island, and pay customs duties. In 1821, when the Chinese government prohibited importation of opium into the country's ports, Lintin became a base for drug smugglers; old boats hulks, anchored near the island, served as warehouses and depots where imported opium would be reloaded to smaller boats to be smuggled into Guangzhou and other ports. Edmund Roberts visited the island in 1832, and noted that there were "seven to eight ships" smuggling opium, including American boats.[4] From the 1830s until the cession of Hong Kong in the 1840s, Lintin Island was the main base for British merchants in the Pearl River Delta area.[5][6] The island was a stopping point during monsoon season for ship repair. Ships would stay on the island upwards of six months.[4]


As of 1814, the population was approximated at less than 60. As of 1821, just under 2,000. When Edmund Roberts visited in 1832, he noted a population of approximately 5,000.[4]

Nature reserve[edit]

Since 1984,[7] a part of the island forms the "Neilingding Island and Futian (福田) Nature Reserve". The reserve covers 7.8 square kilometres (3.0 sq mi), including 4.5 square kilometres (1.7 sq mi) of land area and 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) of mangrove forest, and was created to protect some 300 rhesus macaques and other animals, such as pangolins and pythons.[8]

See also[edit]

  • Wai Lingding Island ('Outer Lingding Island') lies some 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the southeast, in the Wanshan Archipelago.


  1. ^ (Chinese) 内伶仃岛归属深圳市管辖,, 2009-09-26
  2. ^ [1], whose source is: Brage, J. M. (1956). China Landfall 1513, Jorge Alvares Voyage to China. Macau: Imprensa Nacional. OCLC 10673337. 
  3. ^ Construction of Lung Kwu Chau Jetty - Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment
  4. ^ a b c d Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 69. 
  5. ^ "Shameen: A Colonial Heritage", By Dr Howard M. Scott
  6. ^ China in Maps - A Library Special Collection
  7. ^ Neilingding Island-Futian National Nature Reserve of Guangdong

Coordinates: 22°24′46″N 113°48′13″E / 22.41278°N 113.80361°E / 22.41278; 113.80361