from Sovereign Man:
Though few people have heard of Penang today, it once ranked among the most opulent destinations in the world.
Ceded to the British East India Company in 1786, Penang was a critical trading hub for European imperialists; it thrived as a free port along critical eastern trade routes and rivaled even Singapore’s importance.
By the early 20th century, cosmopolitan Penang was famed as a must-visit for the international elite– from silent film stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks to celebrated authors like Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad.
Fast forward 100 years and Penang’s reputation for glamour and intrigue has been supplanted by Hong Kong and Dubai. But it’s still an amazing place.
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