is the founder of the British Settlement of Prince of Wales Island, the name given by him for Penang. He is the kind of man that spells high sea adventure. I previously wrote that Francis Light was the illegitimate son of an English nobleman by the name of William Negus. However, according to Noël Francis Light Purdon, the 6-times great-grandson of Francis Light (see comment below), he was not the illigitimate son of Negus, rather Negus was paid to look after him and be his guardian through his schooling.
According to Purdon, Dallinghoo records state that Light was the son of one Mary Light while his father prefer to remain Incognito. He was born on 15 December, 1740 in Dallinghoo, Suffolk, England. While in the Royal Navy, he got acquainted with one James Scott
was like him was also a midshipman.
Francis Light's Tomb, Protestant Cemetery, Penang
(23 February, 2009)
When he was in his twenties, he arrived in Madras where he became the master of the ship Speedwell. He worked for the firm of Jourdain Sulivan & De Souza, and traded between India, Aceh and the Malay peninsula. In 1765 he was instructed by his company to establish trading relations with the rulers of this part of the world.
Francis Light set up a trading base in Kedah, and had a working relationship with the Sultan of Kedah. Kedah was then under constant threat from Siam. In 1771, the Sultan of Kedah offered Penang to Francis Light in return for British Protection of Kedah. Light wrote to his superiors informing them of the Sultan's offer, but his letter was largely ignored.
A bitter Francis Light withdrew to Phuket in 1772, where he set up a trading business with his long time friend, James Scott. There he met a Portuguese Eurasian lady by the name of Martina Rozells. (According to Purdon, see below, there is no evidence that Martina was half Portuguese. Also, she and Light married according to local custom.) Together, they set up a trading post in Kuala Kedah. The Sultan of Kedah has given Light the permission to trade in Kuala Kedah, and all along the coast of the Sultanate of Kedah.
In 1785, Francis Light found out that the Burmese was about to Phuket. His warning helped the islanders successfully defend themselves.
Another view of Francis Light's Tomb
(23 February, 2009)
In February of 1786, Francis Light wrote to the Governor-General of India, telling him about Penang. He had learned that the British was looking for a trading post. He proposed two possible options: Phuket (also called Junk Ceylon at that time) and Penang. This time, he got the attention of the Sir John MacPherson, the Governor-General, who authorised him to negotiate with the Sultan of Kedah. By then, the young Sultan Abdullah had taken over the reign. Francis Light landed in Penang on 11
August 1786 and became the first Superintendent of the island, which he renamed Prince of Wales Island. To avoid a conflict of interest, Light let his business partner James Scott take care of his business.
He brought Martina, whom he never legally married, and their two illegitimate children seven-year-old Sarah and infant William to Penang, where he would father another two children, Lanoon and Lukey. His eldest son William was born in Kuala Kedah on 27 April of the same year, 1786. He was to become Colonel William Light, the founder of the city of Adelaide exactly fifty years after the founding of Penang.
Francis Light succumbed to malaria on 21 October, 1794, just eight years after the founding of Penang. He was buried at the Protestant Cemetery
in Northam Road
. The cemetery also holds the remains of his business partner James Scott.
Biography of Captain Francis Light
Francis Light Statue
Francis Light Memorial
Explore Malaysia with Penang Travel Tips
Penang Travel Tips is not just about Penang. You can get lots of useful information to explore the rest of Malaysia right here!
Penang Travel Tips puts the Whole Wide World at Your Fingertips!
Penang Travel Tips is not just about Penang, nor just about Malaysia - it's about the world wide world. It's my own treasure trove of travel information, for the benefit of anybody who might need it.
Quick Links for the Busy Traveler
- Book Long Distance Bus Tickets in Malaysia and Singapore
- Find A Hotel Room
- Having a computer issue? Get a technician sent to your home or hotel, if you are anywhere in Penang.
Advertise on this website
Yes, you can advertise your business on this website. You can put an ad on a specific page or across all the pages, so that readers of this website will discover your business. contact me here. for details.
All About Me
Let me take a moment to thank you for visiting my website, Penang Travel Tips. Since I started it in 2003, it has grown to become the
online encyclopedia of Penang. My name is Timothy Tye
, and I am one of the few full-time web authors. This website Penang Travel Tips
describes not just Penang, but all the places I am curious about. You can find information on all the major cities in Malaysia
, all the countries in Asia
, the Americas
, indeed the whole the world
As a Christian, I hope that through this website, I am able to deliver God's Good News
to every corner of the world so that it reaches every person who needs. To get in touch with me, simply submit the contact form
. Thanks for visiting and don't forget to follow me on Facebook
My Social Media Presence
To interact with me, LIKE ME on Facebook, or LIKE any of my Facebook pages: Penang Travel Tips FB Page and Places To Go FB Page, and join any/all of my Facebook Pages and Groups including Penang Travel Tips FB Group, Exploring Malaysia, Big World Out There, My Little Bookshelf, Learn Penang Hokkien, Penang Street Art, Penang Hawker Food, Penang Restaurant Food, Masa Masak, Penang Residential Properties and Armchair Traveler.
Copyright © 2003-2017 Timothy Tye
. All Rights Reserved.