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Penang's modern history began in 1786, when Francis Light founded George Town as a trading post of the British East India Company.Penang formed part of the Straits Settlements in 1826, which became a British crown colony in 1867.Aside from the three main races, the Chinese, Malays and Indians, Penang is home to significant Eurasian, Siamese and expatriate communities.The name Penang may refer either to Penang Island or the State of Penang.The second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, and Perak to the south.George Town, in particular, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a thriving tourist destination.

With the negotiations successfully concluded, Light took formal possession of the island on 11 August 1786 "in the name of His Britannic Majesty, King George III and the Honourable East India Company".

These artifacts indicate that the earliest inhabitants in the area Seberang Perai were nomadic Melanesians.

The Cherok Tok Kun megalith in Bukit Mertajam, uncovered in 1845, contains Pali inscriptions, indicating that the Hindu-Buddhist Bujang Valley civilisation based in what is now Kedah had established control over parts of Seberang Perai by the 6th century.

The entirety of what is now Penang would later become part of the Sultanate of Kedah up to the late 18th century.

Meanwhile, the use of the term 'Penang Island' was first documented by Chinese sailors of the Ming dynasty in the 15th century.

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