Crown Colony of Penang

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Pulau Pinang (Malay)
Location of Penang
Location of Penang
StatusBritish Crown Colony
State of the Federation of Malaya
CapitalGeorge Town, Penang
Common languagesEnglish, Malay, Chinese and Indian languages
GovernmentBritish Crown colony
• 1946–1952
George VI
• 1952–1957
Elizabeth II
• 1946–1948
Sydney Noel King
Historical eraPost-war · Cold War
• Dissolution of the Straits Settlements
1 April 1946
• Independence as part of the Federation of Malaya
31 August 1957
CurrencyMalayan dollar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Straits Settlements
Federation of Malaya
Today part of Malaysia

Penang was a British Crown colony from 1946 to 1957. It came under British sovereignty after being ceded by the Sultanate of Kedah in 1786, and had been part of the Straits Settlements in 1946.[1] Together with Singapore, it became a Crown colony under the direct control of the British Colonial Office in London until it was incorporated into the Malayan Union.[2]

The British East India Company gained Penang in 1786 and established a trading post.[3] It was ceded by the Sultan of Kedah to ensure the former's protection against the threat posed by its Siamese and Burmese neighbors.[4] It was transformed into a Crown Colony, substituting state for company control through the Straits Settlement 1867.[3] During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945.

After the post-war dissolution of the Straits Settlements Penang and Malacca become crown colonies in the Federation of Malaya, while Singapore became a standalone crown colony, separate from Malaya.[5] In 1955, Tunku Abdul Rahman held a meeting with the British to discuss the end of British rule in Penang with a merger with Malayan Union (which was then replaced by Federation of Malaya). On 31 August 1957, when Malaya achieved its independence from the United Kingdom, Penang was integrated as part of the federation, which later known as Malaysia when it merged with another territories in British Borneo.[6]


  1. ^ A. GUTHRIE (of the Straits Settlements, and OTHERS.) (1861). The British Possessions in the Straits of Malacca. [An Address to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Signed by A. Guthrie and Others, and Dated April 20th, 1861, in Reference to the Transfer of the Administration of the British Possessions in the Straits of Malacca to the Colonial Office.]. pp. 1–.
  2. ^ Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 1049. ISBN 1576077705.
  3. ^ a b Kratoska, Paul H. (2001). South East Asia, Colonial History: Imperial decline: nationalism and the Japanese challenge (1920s-1940s), Volume 4. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 89. ISBN 0415215439.
  4. ^ Graham, Penny F. (1 March 2015). Whatever Remains: A true story of secret lives and hidden families. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781925275032.
  5. ^ "The Straits Settlements is Dissolved". National Library Board, Singapore. 1 April 1946. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  6. ^ Cheah Boon Kheng (June 2009). "The Communist Insurgency in Malaysia, 1948–90: Contesting the Nation-State and Social Change" (PDF). National University of Singapore. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies. p. 133/2. Retrieved 18 October 2015.