Penang founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company is a cultural melting pot and the oldest British Straits Settlement. Its historic heart of Georgetown was where ships refuelled and served as a centre for the spice trade as well as tea and cotton from China and India. Penang, often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the most picturesque and romantic cities in all of Asia. On Penang Island sits the capital, Georgetown, a city steeped in history and tradition yet sparkling with progress and modern development. George Town, Penang, was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List on 7 July 2008. The islandís alluring beaches and old-world charm has made Penang a popular tourist destination.