Bukit Mertajam or dashanjiao (大山脚) in Mandarin1, is a myriad of things. It was once an agrarian village but presently it is a bustling town as well as a parliamentary constituency. However, despite its strategic significance to not only the state of Penang but also the entire Northern Malaya, the history of the town was never well studied. In Part I of this twopart series, we shall see how this village in Province Wellesley grew to become a population, economic and transport hub by the early 20th century.
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