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Home Malaysia Georgetown, Penang ⇒ British Rule

Georgetown: Asia’s Melting Pot

2British Rule

The Island of Penang, or Pulau Pinang as it is known in Malay, was first offered to the British East India Company in 1771 by the Sultan of Kedah providing the British would help him quell a rebellion.

A townhouse doorway.
The entrance to a typical
Georgetown townhouse

The British then were looking for a port of call in the Malay Peninsular as a stop en route to China, but, not wishing to get involved in local military affairs, the offer was turned down. Thirteen years’ later the new Sultan of Kedah was becoming concernd about the ambitions of the Siamese who were demanding tribute and aid in one of their recurring wars against the Burmese. He again appealed to British who this time were becoming concerned about Dutch and French influence in the area and now felt the need to have a base to protect their interests. Captain Francis Light, who had been active in the area for years, was appointed superintendant by the British East India Company and on the 11th of August 1786 the British Flag was raised for the first time in Penang by hims.

Penang was the first Malay State to come under British administration and apart from five year’s of Japanese occupation during the Second World War, remained a British possession until Malaysian independence in 1957.

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