CAPTAIN FRANCIS LIGHT - THE BRITISH FOUNDER OF PENANG



the founder of penang island is captain francis light Captain Francis Light, the British man associated to the history of Penang, was born in the ancient town of Woodbridge at Suffolk, England. His grandfather, Colonel F. Light, was closely associated with King George, and this could be the political link which had helped him in his career achievements as the founder and transformation of Penang.

He started his education in his hometown Seckord's Grammar School and joined the navy upon completion. Captain Francis Light's joined as midshipman on board 'HMS CAPTAIN' and subsequently served on board 'HMS Dragon' and 'HMS Arrogant' navy. His navy career here runs from 1759 to 1763.

Thereafter, he was posted in Madras port in India to fully handle and control the British trading activities over there. In Madras, he successfully took command of a merchant ship owned by 'Jourdain Sullivan Desouza' owned by the merchants.


His success in Madras led him to new explorations in South-East Asia and was then posted to Kedah in Malaya to take charge of the trading region there. Penang was scarcely inhabited during the 16the century and it was Captain Francis Light's foresight and initiatives which helped transform the from an uninhabitable island into a flourishing port of call for the East India traders dealing in spices, tin, rubber, silk and all other tropical products found available in South-East Asia.

The rulers of Kedah state, being constantly harassed and attacked by enemies in the northern territories, signed a treaty with the British to seek protection in return whereby Captain Francis Light was granted full control over Penang's trading activities.

Captain Francis Light met and married his Eurasian wife during one of his trade mission in Phuket island, and
started his family growth in Penang with 3 daughters and 2 sons. His eldest son was William Light and was as successful as his father. He became the first Surveyor General of South Australia as well as the founder of Adelaide city.

Unfortunately this great British man in the history of Penang died after a brief attack of malaria sickness, on
21st October 1794, and was cremated and buried at Penang's Protestant Christian Cemetery.

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