George Town, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang, is located at the north-eastern tip of Penang Island. It is Malaysia's second largest city, with 708,127 inhabitants as of 2010, while Greater Penang is the nation's second biggest conurbation with a population of 2,412,616.
The historical core of George Town has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. Established as an entrepôt by Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786, George Town was the first British settlement in Southeast Asia. Together with Singapore and Malacca, George Town formed part of the Straits Settlements, which became a British crown colony in 1867. It was subjugated by Japan during World War II, before being recaptured by the British at war's end. Shortly before Malaya attained independence from the British in 1957, George Town was declared a city by Queen Elizabeth II, making it the first city in the country's modern history. Due to the intermingling of the various ethnicities and religions that arrived on its shores, George Town acquired a large eclectic assortment of colonial and Asian architectural styles. It also gained a reputation as Malaysia's gastronomic capital for its distinct and ubiquitous street food.