Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley) on the Malay Peninsula. The second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, and Perak to the south.Penang's population stood at nearly 1.767 million as of 2018, while its population density rose to 1,684/km2 (4,360/sq mi). It has among the nation's highest population densities and is one of the country's most urbanised states. George Town, Malaysia's second largest city, is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Penang's modern history began in 1786, upon the establishment of George Town by Francis Light. Penang formed part of the Straits Settlements in 1826, which became a British crown colony in 1867. Direct British rule was only briefly interrupted during World War II, when Japan occupied Penang; the British retook Penang in 1945. Penang was later merged with the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia), which gained independence from the British in 1957. Following the decline of its entrepôt trade towards the 1970s, Penang's economy was reoriented towards hi-tech manufacturing.Known as the Silicon Valley of the East for its industries, Penang is one of Malaysia's most vital economic powerhouses. Penang has the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita among all Malaysian states and is considered a high-income economy. In addition, Penang recorded the nation's second highest Human Development Index, after Kuala Lumpur. Correspondingly, the state has a relatively well-educated population, with a youth literacy rate of 99.5% as of 2014.Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and religion. Aside from the three main races, the Chinese, Malays and Indians, Penang is home to significant Eurasian, Siamese and expatriate communities. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite or Penang Lâng (in Penang Hokkien).
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