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Georgetown, the island’s capital, is a creation of British imperialism, founded by a swashbuckling English colonialist, Captain Francis Light, who took possession of the island for the British East India Company in 1786 and launched it on its way to becoming one of the jewels in Britain’s colonial crown. Georgetown became a dazzlingly cosmopolitan melting-pot, and Hindus, Muslims, Chinese and Europeans have all left their mark on one of Malaysia’s most colourful cities. A large number of its people are Peranakans, people of Chinese (mainly Hokkien) descent whose ancestors emigrated under British rule. Others are the descendants of Indian Muslim sepoys, who served in the East India Company’s army, and Tamils from southern India or Bumiputra Malaysians from the mainland.