About the place
Founded by Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786, Penang Island, then named the Prince of Wales Island, was among the first British possessions in South-east Asia. Together with Singapore and Malacca, the island was governed under the Straits Settlements, which became a British crown colony in 1867. The island was subjugated by the Empire of Japan during World War II, before being recaptured by the British at war's end. Shortly before Malaya gained independence from the British in 1957, George Town was declared a city by Queen Elizabeth II, the first in the country's modern history. Penang Island has also developed into the 'Silicon Valley of the East' since the 1970s, and the entire island was granted city status in 2015.