The island of Penang has been known at least since the 15th century, when Chinese visitors named the uninhibited island Pulo Pinang, meaning Betelnut Island. Ever since, its history has been multicultural, which makes it and its capital city of George Town fascinating city to explore.
How multicultural? The first westerner here was Captain James Lancaster, in 1593. Sumatra was the origin of Penang’s first immigrants, who arrived in the early 1700s. On behalf of the British East India Company, Captain Francis Light took possession of Penang in 1786. People from all over Asia — particularly China, India, and Indonesia — were attracted to Penang because of the availability of land (if they cleared the jungle), its duty-free port, and for the tolerant, open-minded way of life.
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