Sunday, August 16, 2015

Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown is one of the cosmopolitan port city and the second largest city in Malaysia with more than one million populations, where commercial trading is still its major economic activity.

In 1786, Francis Light occupied Penang. He was a trader for the British East India Company, as a base for the company in the Malay States.

It was the commencement of the British forward movement in the area. It was expected to become a key port city in the island.

Light’s action was neither sanctioned by the East Indian Company nor acceded to by the Sultan of Kedah. When the sultan prepared his fleet in 1791 to take back Penang by force, Light moved first and defeated his adversary.

Light decided to clear jungle at the point of arrival and constructed central thoroughfares converging on Fort Cornwallis, namely Light Street, Beach Street, Chulia Street and Pitt Street.

Penang Ferry Service
The town was built on swampy land that had to be cleared of vegetation, leveled and filled. The British opened and established new tropical spice plantations in Penang to enhance the existing local spice trading activities with products such as cloves, pepper and nutmegs.

Immigrants from Southern China and Southern India were brought in to work as laborers, who later shifted to rubber and palm oil plantation and also to tin mining, as the former monetary economy was not so promising.

Most inhabitants concentrated in the central town, and various groups were segregated according to ethnic living quarters. Europeans resided mainly in the northern part of Penang, especially near Fort Cornwallis.

The majority of Chinese and Indians lived in the central business district, and most Malays lived in the southern part of the central business district.

To the Malays outside Penang and later the peranakan community as well, especially the non-English-educated, Georgetown was an alien term, so the town was called ‘Tanjung’.
Georgetown, Penang

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