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The expansion of Penang under the East India company

Israt Ara, Aniba and Islam, Arshad (2021) The expansion of Penang under the East India company. Research in Economics and Management, 6 (3). pp. 31-46. ISSN 2470-4407 E-ISSN 2470-4393

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This study highlights that the British had long experiences in the Malay Peninsula before Francis Light’s acquisition and development of Penang, due to the central role of Malayan ports such as Kedah, Takuapa, Langkasuka, Terengganu, Palembang, Siak, and Malacca in global trade between China and India. Under the influence of Islam, Malacca (and, to a lesser extent, Kedah) became a Muslim Sultanate and reached its peak in this trading network, which attracted European traders (and subsequent colonialism), initially from Portugal and Spain, and later France, the Netherlands, and Britain. After the East India Company attained hegemony in India, it was strongly placed to extend its power from its presidencies in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. The EIC’s main focus was Bengal, where the Company founded the Fort William College as its headquarters in Calcutta. As trade with China became more important, the Malay Peninsula commensurately became a more attractive destination for investment due to its closer proximity to the Chinese sea lanes, and closer access to the Indo-Malay hinterlands and their products. In 1784, the EIC sent Kinloch to Aceh but he was unsuccessful in negotiating to establish a factory there. Nevertheless, they succeeded in establishing a foothold in Malaya with Francis Light’s embassy to Riau, Kedah, and Penang. Kedah also became prosperous under the Muslim Sultanates. Many Chinese and Indian merchants were settled there, benefitting from the trade in jungle products like camphor, betelnut, bird nests, situated near the Kedah River, was identified as a strategic location. Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin Muazzam Shah II of Kedah (r. 1710-1778) at that time was facing many internal as well as external conflicts. His son Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah (r. 1778-1797) also suffered the same fate. As a result of internal crisis and dynastic intrigues, he agreed to lease Penang to the EIC in exchange for military assistance in 1785. In July 1786, Francis Light sailed from Calcutta and reached Penang in August, and thus Penang became an EIC stronghold.

Item Type: Article (other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bengal, British colonialism, British East India Company, Francis Light, Malay Peninsula, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of History & Civilization
Depositing User: Dr. Arshad Islam
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 10:29
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 10:29
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/92016

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