PENANG HISTORY AND THE STRAITS SETTLEMENT STATES
Penang History During The British Rule, 1786
Penang history was back dated to the 16th century when the island was
then under the rule of Kedah state rulers.
Penang continued to prosper under Francis Light's control until his death on 21st October, 1794. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Wellesley. In order to take full control of the trading activities in Penang harbour and the food supplies from the Malay mainland of Malaya, Sir George Leith, the new Lieutenant Governor of Prince Of Wales Island negotiated and secured a narrow strip of land across Penang island in Malaya mainland. This strip of land belonged to Penang until today and was named as Province Wellesley.
Penang was the capital (1804 -1935)of the British Straits Settlement states, which were made up of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. This explained why the architectural influences of European foreigners are seen in these3 Straits Settlement States today, particular in Penang.
Penang became a strategic port for import and export cargoes, with traders sailing from India, Indonesia, Singapore and Burma ports. Penang then flourished under British rule until World War II in 1942, when the Japanese
army troops invaded South-East Asia countries. The British fled when Penang was constantly bombed by the Japanese army. World War II sufferings and torture by the Japanese lasted until their surrender in 1945 when the Americans dropped 2 atomic bombs, one each in Hiroshima and Nagasaki city on 4th of September, Japan.
The British returned and regained their control of the Straits Settlement states after World War II. But then the Malay rulers began to realise that Malaya cannot continue to depend fully on the British for protection after seeing their weakness during Japanese invasion period.
The rulers of the 13 states in Malaya, including Penang and Singapore island, joined forces together and became united as 1 nation. The Chinese, Indians and Malays became more united under the guidance and leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman and Independence day for Malaysia was declared on 31st August, 1957. Tunku Abdul Rahman became the first Prime Minister of Malaysia . Georgetown, Penang was awarded 'city' status in the same year.