Monday, February 21, 2011

Raffles' Landing Site

This statue of Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles (1781 - 1826) marks that part of the Singapore river bank where he was said to have first landed on 29 January 1819.

Raffles an agent of the British East India Company, ventured to Singapore hoping to establish a free port and a halfway point for traders along the China-India trade routes. After signing the preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the official treaty with Sultan Hussein of Johore-Riau was signed on 6 February 1819, giving the British right to establish a trading port on the island.

The Dutch protested as Singapore was then part of the Dutch Johor-Riau Empire. The dispute was resolved with the signing of the 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty, where the British acquired Malacca, Penang and Singapore, while Dutch gained Bencoolen (present day Bengkulu) and the rest of Indonesia. In August 1824, another Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed, giving the British the governance of Singapore.

From the 19th Century, Singapore's success as the "Great Emporium of the East" owed much to its free port status and strategic location. The Singapore River became the main artery of the trade, where port, trading and warehouse facilities developed along the river banks.

In 1867, Singapore became a British Crown Colony after the transfer of The Straits Settlements from the British Administration in India to the Colonial Office in London. It remained so until 1959 when Singapore achieved self government.

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