[back cover blurb]
Filling a major gap in historiography, Marcus Langdon offers a meticulous reconstruction of the formative period of Penang’s development. A little over two centuries ago Penang had the distinction of being elevated as the fourth most important settlement – a presidency – of the British East India Company’s Indian territories. This significant decision emerged from powerful historical forces that were reshaping the modern world: the expansion of international trade networks linking Europe with India and China; the intensification of new patterns of migration in Southeast Asia; and growing rivalries between European powers and their impact on local states. Developments in Penang would also profoundly influence the future growth of British Malaya.
Drawing on unrivalled access to original correspondence, reports, newspapers and contemporary accounts, Penang: The Fourth Presidency of India presents an in-depth and compelling narrative of a fascinating story. The second of a four-volume series*, the focus here is on the development of major structures and institutions: Fort Cornwallis, St George's Church, the Penang Free School, the Public Library and the Spice and Botanic Gardens, and the forces of nature which conspired to thwart the settlement: fire and erosion of the seafront. These intermeshed stories continue the groundwork established in Volume One, highlighting the struggles, successes and failures of the early settlement. Beautifully illustrated with paintings, sketches, engravings and maps – many previously unpublished – this and the accompanying volumes will be the authoritative reference for historians and general readers for generations to come.
Praise for Volume One
'This major study of the history of early Penang...is unquestionably one of the most professionally conceived and well-written works published in an area of Malaysian history'. (Dr John Bastin, Reader Emeritus in the Modern History of South-East Asia in the University of London)
'A magnificently rich tome...Langdon has accomplished a book that any person interested in Penang's past cannot do without. It is finely produced with an impressive array of illustrations, and is clearly one of the finest books on the first decades of the island's history'. (Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Deputy Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore).
*Volume One was published in 2013, Volume 3 is scheduled for 2017 & Volume 4 for 2019.