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The 9 Dragons

The 9 Dragons

February 2, 2024

New Territories, Hong Kong

50/50, 50 Miles, 50 Kilometres. Kids Race

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

- Winnie The Pooh


It begins with a boy Emperor...
A transliteration of the Chinese 九龍, gau lung, or “Nine Dragons”, Kowloon is named for the eight mountains which rear up behind the plateau—and one final dragon besides. ​

Nine Dragons 是九龍這兩個中文字的英文翻譯. 九龍這地名的命名來自於平原背後的八座山脈, 再加上最後的一條龍 – 皇帝.


Legend goes that Kowloon was named in the year 1278 by the boy Emperor Bing, of the Southern Song Dynasty. Noticing the eight hills of Kowloon (Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate's Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow's Nest), the emperor was pleased to name them the “Eight Dragons”—but a quick-witted courtier pointed out that the emperor was a dragon himself, making it nine dragons.

相傳九龍這地名起源於1278年, 宋朝的末代皇帝宋帝昺發現九龍北部的八條山脈, 包括(鴉巢山, 筆架山, 獅子山, 雞胸山, 慈雲山, 大老山, 東山, 飛鵝山), 本意命名八龍, 但有人提議皇帝自己也是龍, 所以改名為九龍.

What was Emperor Bing doing counting mountains at the southern tip of his empire? Well, he had nowhere else to go. For the whole of the 13th century the Mongols had swept down from the steppes, moving south through China and crushing the ruling Song Dynasty. First Genghis and then his grandson Kublai Khan stormed south, pushing the Song back, and back, and back.

宋帝昺在南方的山脈做什麼? 因他沒地方可逃. 在整個13世紀, 蒙古人從大草原掃蕩南下, 控制了當時統治的宋朝. 從第一代成吉思汗至他的孫兒忽必烈一路向南征, 把宋軍擊退.  

By 1278, Emperor Bing’s older brother, 10-year-old Emperor Duanzong of Song, had been pushed out of Fujian province and fled south to Guangdong. After Duanzong died from an illness contracted while running from the Mongols, the throne passed to 7-year-old Emperor Bing. The child was crowned at Silvermine Bay, on Lantau Island.

到1278年, 宋帝昺的10歲哥哥宋瑞宗被迫退出福建, 向南逃往廣東省. 宋瑞宗在逃避蒙古人的追捕時病逝, 傳位給只有7歲的宋帝昺. 小小的宋帝昺便在大嶼山的銀礦灣繼位.

But Bing’s reign was not to last. The Mongols pressed onwards and just one year after the emperor’s coronation, the Song Dynasty made its final stand against the invaders. At the naval Battle of Yamen on March 19, 1279, a Mongol navy of some 50 warships smashed the Song flotilla of more than 1,000 ships to pieces. There was nowhere left to run. Lu Xiufu, the emperor’s most loyal general and statesman, picked up the 8-year-old king and leaped into the sea, in search of an honorable death. Kublai Khan had unified China under his fist, and the sun dawned on the Yuan Dynasty.

可是宋帝昺的統治年代很快便結束. 在他繼位後一年便遭蒙古人入侵, 宋朝作出最後一次反抗. 在 1279年3月19日, 一隊由50艘軍艦組成的蒙古海軍搗毀了宋朝派出由1,000艘船組成的艦隊. 皇帝最忠誠的丞相陸秀夫背著當時剛滿8歲的宋帝昺跳海殉國. 忽必烈統一了中國, 元朝正式開始.

You can visit the “Terrace of the Song Kings,” in the Sung Wong Toi Garden park in Kowloon City. It’s home to a rock carving which commemorates the two-year reign of the Song kings in Hong Kong.

你可以參觀位於宋王臺公園的宋王臺紀念碑, 這是用來紀念宋朝皇帝在香港流亡兩年的歷史. 

But the legacy of the last emperor of the Song doesn't lie in a rock, but in those eight dragons: The boy emperor who named a city.

最後一代宋朝皇帝留給香港的並不是在於石碑, 而是在於八條龍: 這個小皇帝所命名的城市.

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