Penang Before Francis Light (as the English saw it in 1905)

By Ooi Kee Beng

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The following short passage is taken from the beginning of The Early History of Penang 1592-1827, a book written by E.G. Cullin and W.F. Zehnder and published in 1905 by The Criterion Press based in Penang. The text had first been published in the local newspaper, The Straits Echo.The book also intriguingly states that when Francis Light in 1786 settled in Penang, an island thought by the Europeans to be uninhabited, “he found 58 men, women and children near the foot of...

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Ooi Kee Beng

is the Executive Director of Penang Institute. His recent books include The Eurasian Core and its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (ISEAS 2016). Homepage: