Captain Francis Light

As the founder of Penang, Captain Francis Light marks the start of an important milestone that transformed this tiny island into a place with growing prosperity. It was the magnificent journey of one man that makes Penang well known not only for its beauty & heritage but also economic powerhouse.

Born in an Ancient Town Woodbridge at County Suffolk England, the actual birth date of "Light" was unknown but his Baptism date was recorded at 15 Dec 1740. He stays with his mother Mary Light & father William Negus when he was young. His grandfather, Colonel F. Light is respected & reputable man and was once a drinking companion of King George.

*Photos courtesy of Asia Explorer -

He was educated in Seckford's Grammer School, Woodbridge under Reverend Thomas Ray and entered Navy soon after finished his education. On 1759, Light board HMS Captain as midshipman and subsequently transferred to HMS Dragon and HMS Arrogant in 1761. His tenure in Navy ended on 1763.

He later sailed to Madras, India to take control of trade for the British. There, he secure command of a "Country Ship" (owned in India and engaged in trade in Eastern waters) belonging to Madras firm of merchants, Jourdain, Sullivan & Desouza.

Captain Light was later posted to Kedah to overlook the trade at the region. In 1786,
Francis Light take possession of Penang after he promise Kedah that he will supply forces to defend them from their enemies.

Light married Martina Rozells, by whom he had 3 daughters and 2 sons. He met his Eurasian wife during his trade mission in Phuket. His eldest son, William Light, became the first Surveyor General of Southern Australia and founder of the city of Adelaide.

Francis Light died from malaria attack on 21 October 1794 and was cremated at Penang's Protestant Cemetery. More in-depth story can be found at Fort Cornwallis & Penang Museum. Do give this place a visit.

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