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Notes on the Geography of Malaysia: George Town: Photo 1

world pictures Malaysia: George Town

Named for George III, George Town was established in 1786 by Francis Light, an employee of the East India Company. He chose the site at the northeastern corner of what he called Prince of Wales Island. That name did not stick, and the island continued to be known as "Penang," a name derived from Tamil pinang, the areca nut that for centuries had brought Indian traders here. Light built a fort named Fort Cornwallis for the Company's governor-general. A few years later, Penang was designated as an Indian penal colony, and in 1793 Light had convicts rebuild the fort's walls in brick. They remain today, though the enclosed space is little used. The coastline has changed since Light's time, mostly with reclamation projects creating commercial ground, and the sea is now a block or so to the north, or left.

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