Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Penang, more fully Pulo-Penang (" Island of betel-nut palm"), also called Prince of Wales Island, the most northerly of the Strait Settlements, is situated on the Strait of Malacca, 360 miles N.W. of Singapore. It is separated from the Malay Peninsula by a channel which varies in width from two to ten miles. The island is fifteen miles long, with an average breadth of eight miles, and an area of 106 square miles. It has belonged to England since 1785, and together with Province Wellesley on the opposite coast, which was annexed in 1798, forms a Crown colony. The surface is rugged and mountainous, rising to the height of 2,920 feet above the sea-level; but along the coast there is a low alluvial tract, the soil of which is very fertile. The whole island is well wooded, and rice, maize, sugar, and spices are largely cultivated. The temperature generally varies from about 70° to 95°. The capital, George Town, is a fortified place at the N.E. extremity of the island. About one-half the population are Chinese. Most of the commerce of the Malay Peninsula passes through Penang.