History on Penang

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A Brief History of Penang

Today, Penang bears the mark of its early history of successive foreign influences - from the early Hindu civilization in northern Malaya to that of the Portuguese, Dutch and later the British who came to this part of the world in search of spices and stayed to participate in the lucrative trade.

 

The history of modern Penang can be traced back to 1786 when Francis Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede “Pulau Pinang" (Betel Nut Island) to the British East India Company.

Light landed at the site of the present Esplanade and purportedly, fired gold coins into the surrounding jungle to induce his men to clear the area.

 

o     Originally named the Prince of Wales Island, the settlement that soon grew was named Georgetown after King George III. In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the channel, which Light named Province Wellesley after the then Governor of India. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Melaka and Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for the lucrative tea, spices, china and cloth trade.

 

o      For more than a hundred years, it remained under British Colonial rule until 1957 when it gained independence and became one of the states of the newly formed Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia in 1963.

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