Kedah (قدح) also known by its honorific, Darul Aman (دار الامن), or “Abode of Peace” is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of 3,640 square miles (9,427 km²), and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice. Langkawi is an archipelago of islands, most of which are uninhabited. Kedah was called Kadaram (காடாரம் in Tamil) by ancient and medieval Tamil people and Sai Buri (ไทรบุรี in Thai) by the Siamese when it was under their influence. To the north, Kedah borders the state of Perlis and shares an international boundary with the Songkhla and Yala provinces of Thailand. It borders the states of Perak to the south and Penang to the southwest. The state’s capital is Alor Setar and the royal seat is in Anak Bukit. Other major towns include Sungai Petani, and Kulim on the mainland, and Kuah on Langkawi.
Archaeological evidence found in Bujang Valley reveals that a Hindu–Buddhist kingdom ruled ancient Kedah possibly as early as 110 A.D. The discovery of temples, jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and clay brick monuments dating back to 110 A.D shows that a maritime trading route with south Indian Tamil kingdoms was already established since that time. The discoveries in Bujang Valley also made the ancient Kedah as the oldest civilization of Southeast Asia.
Reference to ancient Kedah was first mentioned in a Tamil poem Paṭṭiṉappālai written at the end of the second century A.D. It described goods from Kadaram “heaped together in the broad streets” of Chola capital. The famous Tang dynasty Buddhist monk, Yi Jing who visited Malay archipelago between 688–695, mentioned a kingdom known as Ka-Cha in the northern part of Malay peninsular, which according to him was 30 days sail from Bogha (Palembang), the capital of Sribogha (Srivijaya). According to Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or the Kedah Annals, Kedah was founded by a Hindu king named Merong Mahawangsa. According to the text, the Sultanate of Kedah started in 1136 when King Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and adopted the name Sultan Mudzafar Shah.
In the seventh and eighth centuries, Kedah was under the loose control of Srivijaya. In 1025, the city was conquered by Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, who occupied it for some time. A second invasion was led by Virarajendra Chola of the Chola dynasty who conquered Kedah in the late eleventh century. During the reign of Kulothunga Chola I Chola overlordship was established over the Sri Vijaya province Kedah in the late eleventh century.
It was later under Siam, until it was conquered by the Malay sultanate of Malacca in the fifteenth century. In the seventeenth century, Kedah was attacked by the Portuguese after their conquest of Malacca, and by Aceh. In the hope that Great Britain would protect what remained of Kedah from Siam, the sultan handed over Penang and then Province Wellesley to the British at the end of the eighteenth century. The Siamese nevertheless invaded Kedah in 1821, and it remained under Siamese control under the name of Sai Buri. In 1896, Kedah along with Perlis and Satun was combined into the Siamese province of Monthon Sai Buri which lasted until transferred to the British by the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.
In World War II, Kedah (along with Kelantan) was the first part of Malaya to be invaded by Japan. The Japanese returned Kedah to their Thai allies who had it renamed Sai Buri, but it returned to British rule after the end of the war. Kedah was a reluctant addition to the Federation of Malaya in 1948.
Since 1958, the hereditary Sultan of Kedah has been Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah. The Kedah Sultanate began when the 9th Kedah Maharaja Derbar Raja or Phra Ong Mahawangsa, converted to Islam and changed his name to Sultan Mudzafar Shah I. Since then there have been 27 Sultans who have ruled Kedah.
Kedah is considered the “rice bowl” (Jelapang Padi) of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia’s total production of rice. In 2008, the state government banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry. Tourism, particularly on the island of Langkawi is of growing importance. More recently, Kedah has forged its economy towards the automotive and aerospace industries with Modenas and Asian Composites setting up bases here. One of the main advantages is the low labor costs and the infrastructure in place with the North-South Expressway and the Penang International Airport close by. In 1996, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP) was officially opened as the first high technology industrial park in Malaysia. The Park comprises a total land area of approximately 5.6 square miles (14.5 square kilometers).
According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, this economic area is part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER). The Northern Corridor Economic Region is one of three development regions formed in Peninsular Malaysia; other development regions being the Iskandar Malaysia (or South Johor Economic Region) and the East Coast Development Region.
Kedah’s postal history began in 1887 when Siamese stamps and postal cards were sent to Penang. The earliest known Kedah postmark was on a Siamese postal card dated October 27, 1887. At the time that Kedah was ceded to British protection by Siam in 1909, there were four post offices; Alor Star (postmarked KEDAH), Kuala Muda, Kulim and Langkawi which can be found with their Siamese postmark on Federated Malay State stamps. The first Kedah stamps were issued in 1912
Alor Star was an airmail transfer point for both Imperial Airways and KLM between 1942 and 1948. The first commemorative stamps were issued in 1948 as part of the Silver Wedding omnibus. From 1957, stamps for the Malayan Federation were used concurrently with those of Kedah. In September 1963, Kedah became part of the new Federation of Malayasia, since when only low values have been issued by Kedah itself.
.Scott #5 was released in 1919, part of the initial series of definitives that began to be issued on July 1, 1912. The 3-cent dark violet stamp, engraved and perforated 14, portrays a sheaf of rice.