Straits Settlements was the name given to a series of British colonial possessions on the Malay Peninsula, with the oldest being Penang, founded in 1786, followed by Singapore in 1819. Their strategic position on the Straits of Malacca earned them the title 'Gibraltar of the East', and following a series of wars in the 1860s with local kingdoms, the territory was annexed and enlarged to become known as the 'Malay States' in 1905, with some of those semi-autonomous kingdoms issuing their own coinage during British rule. Japanese troops occupied the colony in mid-1942 following the fall of Singapore and the surrender of the garrison. The area was liberated in 1945, and following a communist insurrection in 1948, the territory was decolonized in 1962/3.
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