The Malaysian Siamese, Siamese Malaysians or Thai Malaysians are people of full or partial Thai descent who were born in or immigrated to Malaysia. In 2014, there were nearly 70,000 people self-identifying as "Siamese" or "Thai" who hold Malaysian nationality; this number excludes those Thais living in Malaysia. Politically, Malaysian Siamese are recognised as Bumiputeras and are given similar status to the Malays. In 2000, the national statistics cited 50,211 individuals of Thai ethnicity in Malaysia. Among these, 38,353 hold Malaysian citizenship. Most Malaysian Siamese people lead a way of life similar to the Malays; this is evident among the Kelantanese Siamese. One could not differentiate a Siamese if they are not heard speaking their own language; the only distinctive mark among them is their language. Otherwise Malaysian Siamese are like Malays as they speak fluent local Malay dialects; the Malaysian Siamese get patronage from the state governments for their community well being. Temples are given generous fundings by the governments.
Their community are known for the making of traditional medicine. Malaysian Siamese people adhere to either Islam; the predominant form of Buddhism is Theravāda, centred on their place of worship called Wat. There exists a significant Muslim community. However, many Muslim Siamese have become assimilated into the Malay populace and no longer identify as Siamese. Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, V & XIVth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first prime minister Samransak Kram, Malaysian national footballer Manopsak Kram, Malaysian national footballer Hattaphon Bun An, Malaysian footballer Mohd Ridzuan Abdunloh, Malaysian footballer Janna Nick, Malaysian actress and singer Nelydia Senrose, Malaysian actress Richard Rivalee, Malaysian fashion designer Faezah Elai, Malaysian actress Bront Palarae, Malaysian actor Jupha Somnet, Malaysian national track cyclist Datuk Seri Boon Som Inong, former Malaysian senator and third Siamese Malaysian to hold the office. Santhawan Boonratana, Miss Grand Malaysia 2015 Siri Neng Buah, President of Malaysian Siamese Association.
Naresuan Rajawongse @ Azuan Aziz, Former Muay Thai Athlete & Captain in Malaysian Armed Forces Dato Seri Latt Shariman, Malaysia-Thailand Friendship Association. Mawar Rashid, Malaysian actress Thai Malays Robert W. Hefner; the Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia and Indonesia. University of Hawaii Press. Pp. 79–. ISBN 978-0-8248-2487-7. Irving Chan Johnson; the Buddha on Mecca’s Verandah: Encounters and Histories Along the Malaysian-Thai border. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-80441-5
Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha, or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. The Indian term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is sīla. Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, right conduct, moral discipline and precept. Sīla is an internal and intentional ethical behavior, according to one's commitment to the path of liberation, it is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word "morality". Sīla is one of the three practices foundational to Buddhism and the non-sectarian Vipassana movement — sīla, samādhi, paññā as well as the Theravadin foundations of sīla, Dāna, Bhavana, it is the second pāramitā. Sīla is wholehearted commitment to what is wholesome.
Two aspects of sīla are essential to the training: right "performance", right "avoidance". Honoring the precepts of sīla is considered a "great gift" to others, because it creates an atmosphere of trust and security, it means the practitioner poses no threat to another person's life, family, rights, or well-being. Moral instructions are handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures, the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics; the source for the ethics of Buddhists around the world are the Three Jewels of the Buddha and Sangha. The Buddha is seen as the discoverer of hence the foremost teacher; the Dharma is the truths of these teachings. The Sangha is the community of noble ones, who practice the Dhamma and have attained some knowledge and can thus provide guidance and preserve the teachings. Having proper understanding of the teachings is vital for proper ethical conduct.
The Buddha taught that right view was a necessary prerequisite for right conduct, sometimes referred to as right intention. A central foundation for Buddhist morality is the law of rebirth; the Buddha is recorded to have stated that right view consisted in believing that: "'there is fruit and ripening of deeds well done or ill done': what one does matters and has an effect on one’s future. Karma is a word which means "action" and is seen as a natural law of the universe which manifests as cause and effect. In the Buddhist conception, Karma is a certain type of moral action which has moral consequences on the actor; the core of karma is the mental intention, hence the Buddha stated ‘It is intention, O monks, that I call karma. Therefore, accidentally hurting someone is not bad Karma. Buddhist ethics sees these patterns of motives and actions as conditioning future actions and circumstances – the fruit of one's present actions, including the condition and place of the actor's future life circumstances.
One's past actions are said to mold one's consciousness and to leave seeds which ripen in the next life. The goal of Buddhist practice is to break the cycle, though one can work for rebirth in a better condition through good deeds; the root of one's intention is what conditions an action to be bad. There are three negative roots. Actions which produce good outcomes are termed "merit" and obtaining merit is an important goal of lay Buddhist practice; the early Buddhist texts mention three'bases for effecting karmic fruitfulness’: giving, moral virtue and meditation. One's state of mind; the Buddhist Sangha is seen as the most meritorious "field of merit". Negative actions accumulate bad karmic results, though one's regret and attempts to make up for it can ameliorate these results; the Four Noble Truths express one of the central Buddhist worldview which sees worldly existence as fundamentally unsatisfactory and stressful. Dukkha is seen to arise from craving, putting an end to craving can lead to liberation.
The way to put an end to craving is by following the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha, which includes the ethical elements of right speech, right action and right livelihood. From the point of view of the Four Noble Truths, an action is seen as ethical if it is conductive to the elimination of Dukkha. Understanding the truth of Dukkha in life allows one to analyze the factors for its arising, craving, allows us to feel compassion and sympathy for others. Comparing oneself with others and applying the Golden Rule is said to follow from this appreciation of Dukkha. From the Buddhist perspective, an act is moral if it promotes spiritual development by conforming to the Eightfold Path and leading to Nirvana. In Mahayana Buddhism, an emphasis is made on the liberation of all beings. Therefore, special beings called
Four Noble Truths
In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are "the truths of the Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". The truths are: dukkha is an innate characteristic of existence with each rebirth, they are traditionally identified as the first teaching given by the Buddha, considered one of the most important teachings in Buddhism. The four truths appear in many grammatical forms in the ancient Buddhist texts, they have both a symbolic and a propositional function. Symbolically, they represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, of the potential for his followers to reach the same religious experience as him; as propositions, the Four Truths are a conceptual framework that appear in the Pali canon and early Hybrid Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures. They are a part of the broader "network of teachings", they provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be understood or "experienced". As a proposition, the four truths defy an exact definition, but refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism: unguarded sensory contact gives rise to craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful.
This craving keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, the continued dukkha that comes with it. There is a way to end this cycle, namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and the accompanying dukkha will no longer arise again; this can be accomplished by following the eightfold path, confining our automatic responses to sensory contact by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline and wholesome states, practicing mindfulness and dhyana. The function of the four truths, their importance, developed over time and the Buddhist tradition recognized them as the Buddha's first teaching; this tradition was established when prajna, or "liberating insight", came to be regarded as liberating in itself, instead of or in addition to the practice of dhyana. This "liberating insight" gained a prominent place in the sutras, the four truths came to represent this liberating insight, as a part of the enlightenment story of the Buddha; the four truths grew to be of central importance in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism by about the 5th-century CE, which holds that the insight into the four truths is liberating in itself.
They are less prominent in the Mahayana tradition, which sees the higher aims of insight into sunyata and following the Bodhisattva path as central elements in their teachings and practice. The Mahayana tradition reinterpreted the four truths to explain how a liberated being can still be "pervasively operative in this world". Beginning with the exploration of Buddhism by western colonialists in the 19th century and the development of Buddhist modernism, they came to be presented in the west as the central teaching of Buddhism, sometimes with novel modernistic reinterpretations different from the historic Buddhist traditions in Asia; the four truths are best known from their presentation in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta text, which contains two sets of the four truths, while various other sets can be found in the Pali Canon, a collection of scriptures in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. The full set, most used in modern expositions, contains grammatical errors, pointing to multiple sources for this set and translation problems within the ancient Buddhist community.
They were considered correct by the Pali tradition, which didn't correct them. According to the Buddhist tradition, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, "Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion", contains the first teachings that the Buddha gave after attaining full awakening, liberation from rebirth. According to L. S. Cousins, many scholars are of the view that "this discourse was identified as the first sermon of the Buddha only at a date," and according to professor of religion Carol S. Anderson the four truths may not have been part of this sutta, but were added in some versions. Within this discourse, the four noble truths are given as follows: Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering. Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there. Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path. According to this sutra, with the complete comprehension of these four truths release from samsara, the cycle of rebirth, was attain
The Tripiṭaka or Tipiṭaka, is the traditional term for the Buddhist scriptures. The version canonical to Theravada Buddhism is referred to in English as the Pali Canon. Mahayana Buddhism holds the Tripiṭaka to be authoritative but, unlike Theravadins, it includes in its canon various derivative literature and commentaries that were composed much later; the Tripiṭaka was composed between about 500 BCE to about the start of the common era written down for the first time in the 1st century BCE. The Dipavamsa states that during the reign of Valagamba of Anuradhapura the monks who had remembered the Tripiṭaka and its commentary orally now wrote them down in books, because of the threat posed by famine and war; the Mahavamsa refers to the writing down of the canon and the commentaries at this time. Each Buddhist sub-tradition had its own Tripiṭaka for its monasteries, written by its sangha, each set consisting of 32 books, in three parts or baskets of teachings: Vinaya Piṭaka, Sūtra Piṭaka, Abhidharma Piṭaka.
The structure, the code of conduct and moral virtues in the Vinaya basket have similarities to some of the surviving Dharmasutra texts of Hinduism. Much of the surviving Tripiṭaka literature is in Pali, with some in Sanskrit as well as other local Asian languages. Tripiṭaka or Tipiṭaka translates as'Three Baskets'. The'three baskets' were the receptacles of the palm-leaf manuscripts in which were preserved the Sutta Piṭaka, the Vinaya Piṭaka and the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, the three divisions that constitute the Pali Canon; these terms are spelled without diacritics as Tripiṭaka and Tipiṭaka in scholarly literature. The dating of the Tripiṭaka is unclear. Max Muller states that the current structure and contents of the Pali Canon took shape in the third century BCE after which it continued to be transmitted orally from generation to generation until being put into written form in the 1st century BCE. According to A. K. Warder, the Tibetan historian Bu-ston said that around or before the 1st century CE there were eighteen schools of Buddhism and their Tripiṭakas were written down by then.
However, except for one version that has survived in full and others, of which parts have survived, all of these texts are lost to history or yet to be found. The Tripiṭaka was compiled and put into writing for the first time during the reign of King Walagambahu of Sri Lanka. According to Sri Lankan sources more than 1000 monks who had attained Arahantship were involved in the task; the place where the project was undertaken was in Aluvihare, Sri Lanka. The resulting texts were translated into four related Indo-European languages of South Asia: Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit, sometime between 1st century BCE and 7th century CE. Portions of these were translated into a number of East Asian languages such as Chinese and Mongolian by ancient visiting scholars, which though extensive are incomplete. Wu and Chia state that emerging evidence, though uncertain, suggests that the earliest written Buddhist Tripiṭaka texts may have arrived in China from India by the 1st century BCE; the Tripiṭaka is composed of three main categories of texts that collectively constitute the Buddhist canon: the Sutta Piṭaka, the Vinaya Piṭaka, the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
The Sūtra Piṭaka is older than the Vinaya Piṭaka, the Abhidharma Piṭaka represents a tradition of scholastic analysis and systematization of the contents of the Sutta Piṭaka originating at least two centuries after the other two parts of the canon. The Vinaya Piṭaka appears to have grown as a commentary and justification of the monastic code, which presupposes a transition from a community of wandering mendicants to a more sedentary monastic community. Within the Sūtra Piṭaka it is possible to detect older and texts. Rules and regulations of monastic life that range from dress code and dietary rules to prohibitions of certain personal conducts; the Buddha delivered all his sermons in Magadhan, the local language of north-eastern India where the Buddha was born and educated. These sermons were rehearsed orally during the meeting of the First Buddhist council just after the Parinibbana of the Buddha; the teachings continued to be transmitted orally until they were written down in the first century BCE.
Philosophical and psychological analysis and interpretation of Buddhist doctrine. Each of the Early Buddhist Schools had their own recensions of the Tripiṭaka. According to some sources, there were some Indian schools of Buddhism that had five or seven piṭakas; the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya was translated by Buddhabhadra and Faxian in 416 CE, is preserved in Chinese translation. The 6th century CE Indian monk Paramārtha wrote that 200 years after the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha, much of the Mahāsāṃghika school moved north of Rājagṛha, were divided over whether the Mahāyāna sūtras should be incorporated formally into their Tripiṭaka. According to this account, they split into three groups based upon the relative manner and degree to which they accepted the authority of these Mahāyāna texts. Paramārtha states that the Kukkuṭika sect did not accept the Mahāyāna sūtras as buddhavacana, while the Lokottaravāda sect and the Ekavyāvahārika sect did accept the Mahāyāna sūtras as buddhavacana. In the 6th century CE, Avalokitavrata writes of the Mahāsāṃghikas using
Kuala Lumpur the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, or known as KL, is the national capital and largest city in Malaysia. As the global city of Malaysia, it covers an area of 243 km2 and has an estimated population of 1.73 million as of 2016. Greater Kuala Lumpur known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.25 million people as of 2017. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia, in both population and economic development. Kuala Lumpur is the cultural and economic centre of Malaysia, it is home to the Parliament of Malaysia, the official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara. The city once held the headquarters of the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but these were relocated to Putrajaya in early 1999. However, some sections of the political bodies still remain in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is one of the three Federal Territories of Malaysia, enclaved within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Kuala Lumpur has undergone rapid development in recent decades, is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers, which have since become an iconic symbol of Malaysian development. Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road system supported by an extensive range of public transport networks, such as the Mass Rapid Transit, Light Metro, Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail, an airport rail link. Kuala Lumpur is one of the leading cities in the world for tourism and shopping, being the tenth most-visited city in the world in 2017; the city houses three of the world's ten largest shopping malls. Kuala Lumpur has been ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking at No. 70 in the world, No. 2 in Southeast Asia after Singapore. EIU's Safe Cities Index of 2017 rated Kuala Lumpur 31st out of 60 on its world's safest cities list, safer than Beijing or Shanghai.
Kuala Lumpur was named as one of the New7Wonders Cities, has been named as World Book Capital 2020 by UNESCO. Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence" in Malay. One suggestion is. Doubts however have been raised on such a derivation as Kuala Lumpur lies at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River, therefore should rightly be named Kuala Gombak as the point where one river joins a larger one or the sea is its kuala, it has been argued by some that Sungai Lumpur is in fact Gombak River, although Sungai Lumpur is said to be another river joining the Klang River a mile upstream from the Gombak confluence, or located to the north of the Batu Caves area. It has been proposed that Kuala Lumpur was named Pengkalan Lumpur in the same way that Klang was once called Pengkalan Batu, but became corrupted into Kuala Lumpur. Another suggestion is that it was a Cantonese word lam-pa meaning'flooded jungle' or'decayed jungle'. There is no firm contemporary evidence for these suggestions other than anecdotes.
It is possible that the name is a corrupted form of an earlier but now unidentifiable forgotten name. It is unknown who named the settlement called Kuala Lumpur. Chinese miners were involved in tin mining up the Selangor River in the 1840s about ten miles north of present-day Kuala Lumpur, Mandailing Sumatrans led by Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa were involved in tin mining and trade in the Ulu Klang region before 1860, Sumatrans may have settled in the upper reaches of Klang River in the first quarter of the 19th century earlier. Kuala Lumpur was a small hamlet of just a few houses and shops at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang before it grew into a town, it is accepted that Kuala Lumpur become established as a town circa 1857, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar, aided by his brother Raja Juma'at of Lukut, raised funds from Malaccan Chinese businessmen to hire some Chinese miners from Lukut to open new tin mines here. The miners landed at Kuala Lumpur and continued their journey on foot to Ampang where the first mine was opened.
Kuala Lumpur was the furthest point up the Klang River to which supplies could conveniently be brought by boat. Although the early miners suffered a high death toll due to the malarial conditions of the jungle, the Ampang mines were successful, the first tin from these mines was exported in 1859. At that time Sutan Puasa was trading near Ampang, two traders from Lukut, Hiu Siew and Yap Ah Sze arrived in Kuala Lumpur where they set up shops to sell provisions to miners in exchange for tin; the town, spurred on by tin-mining, started to develop centred on Old Market Square, with roads radiating out towards Ampang as well as Pudu and Batu where miners started to settled in, Petaling and Damansara. The miners formed gangs among themselves. Leaders of the Chinese community were conferred the title of Kapitan Ci
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor
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, Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula; the second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, Perak to the south. Penang is home to Southeast Asia's Longest bridge connecting the island to mainland. Penang's population stood at nearly 1.767 million as of 2018, while its population density rose to 1,684/km2. 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 home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Penang's modern history began 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 interrupted during World War II, when Japan occupied Penang.
Penang was merged with the Federation of Malaya, 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 well-educated population, with a youth literacy rate of 99.5% as of 2014. Its heterogeneous population is diverse in ethnicity, culture and religion. Aside from the three main races, the Chinese and Indians, Penang is home to significant Eurasian and expatriate communities. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penang Lâng; the name, comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means The Island of the Areca Nut Palm.
The State of Penang is referred to as the Pearl of the Orient and Pulau Pinang Pulau Mutiara. Penang Island was known by native seafarers as Pulau Ka-Satu, meaning The First Island, because it was the largest island encountered on the trading sea-route between Lingga and Kedah; the Siamese the overlord of Kedah, referred to the island as Koh Maak. In the 15th century, Penang Island was referred to as Bīnláng Yù in the navigational drawings used by Admiral Zheng He of Ming China. Emanuel Godinho de Eredia, a 16th-century Portuguese historian referred to the island as Pulo Pinaom in the Description of Malacca. Human remains, dating back to about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, have been uncovered in Seberang Perai, along with seashells and hunting tools; these artifacts indicate that the earliest inhabitants of Penang were nomadic Melanesians during the Neolithic era. The Cherok Tok Kun megalith in Bukit Mertajam, uncovered in 1845, contains Pali inscriptions, indicating that the Hindu-Buddhist Bujang Valley civilisation based in what is now Kedah had established control over parts of Seberang Perai by the 6th century.
The entirety of what is now Penang would become part of the Sultanate of Kedah up to the late 18th century. However, the modern history of Penang only began in the late 18th century. In the 1770s, Francis Light was instructed by the British East India Company to form trade relations in the Malay Peninsula. Light subsequently landed in Kedah, by a Siamese vassal state. Aware that the Sultanate was under external and internal threats, he promised British military protection to the Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, it was only in 1786 when the British East India Company ordered Light to obtain the island from Kedah. Light negotiated with the new Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah, regarding the cession of the island to the British East India Company in exchange for British military aid. After an agreement between Light and the Sultan was ratified and his entourage sailed on to Penang Island, where they arrived on 17 July 1786. Light took formal possession of the island on 11 August "in the name of His Britannic Majesty, King George III and the Honourable East India Company".
Penang Island was renamed the Prince of Wales Island after the heir to the British throne, while the new settlement of George Town was established in honour of King George III. Unbeknownst to Sultan Abdullah, Light had been acting without the authority or the consent of his superiors in India; when Light reneged on his promise of military protection, the Kedah Sultan launched an attempt to recapture the Prince of Wales Island in 1791. In 1800, Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Leith secured a strip of hinterland across the Penang Strait and named it Province Wellesley. Province Wellesley was gradually expanded up to its present-day boundaries in 1874. In exchange for the acquisition, the annual payment to the Sultan of Kedah was increased to 10,000 Spanish dollars per annum. To this day, the Malaysian federal government still pays Kedah, on behalf of Penang, RM 10,000 annually as a symbolic gesture. Light founded George Town as a free port to entice traders away from nearby Dutch trading posts. Spices were harvested on the island, turning it into a regional centre fo