George Town Travel Guide

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George Town is the capital of the state of Penang in Malaysia. Named after Britain's King George III, George Town is located on the north-east corner of Penang Island

George Town, Penang
George Town, Penang

Georgetown is the capital of the island and state of Penang, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It was listed by UNESCO in 2008 as a World Heritage Site, together with fellow former Straits Settlement, Melaka.

George Town, Penang
George Town, Penang

The inner city has a population of 720,202 and the metropolitan area known as George Town Conurbation which consists of Penang Island, Seberang Prai, Sungai Petani and Kulim has a combined population of 2,251,042, making it the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia.

George Town, Penang
George Town, Penang

Formerly a municipality and then a city in its own right, since 1976 George Town has been part of the Municipality of Penang Island, though the area formerly governed by the City Council of George Town is still commonly referred to as a city. George Town is also known as Tanjung ("The Cape") in Malay, (Georgetown) in Tamil. Its Malay name is derived from the older name of the town, Tanjung Penaga ("Cape Penaigre"). The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

George Town was founded on 11 August 1786 by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company, as base for the company in the Malay States. He obtained the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah and built Fort Cornwallis on the north-eastern corner of the island. The fort became the nexus of a growing trading post and the island's population reached 12,000 by 1804.

The town was built on swampy land that had to be cleared of vegetation, levelled and filled. The original commercial town was laid out between Light Street, Beach Street (then running close to the seashore), Malabar Street (subsequently called Chulia Street) and Pitt Street (now called Masjid Kapitan Keling Street).

George Town, Penang
George Town, Penang

The warehouses and godowns extended from Beach Street to the sea. By the 1880s, there were ghauts leading from Beach Street to the wharf and jetties as Beach Street receded inland due to land reclamation. A new waterfront was created at Weld Quay, where commercial buildings sprang up.

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