A brief history of Singapore

Last Edited: 11 Mar 2021

The history of Singapore dates to the 11th century. The island rose in importance during the 14th century under the rule of Malay Prince Parameswara, also known as Iskandar Shah or Sri Majara. It became an important port until it was destroyed by Acehnese raiders in 1613.

The modern history of Singapore began in 1819 when Englishman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles established a British port on the island. Raffles established schools and churches in the native languages. He allowed missionaries and local businesses to flourish. Early immigrants to Singapore were attracted by Raffles’ free trade and open-door policies.

Singapore Eurasians

Under British colonial rule, Singapore grew in importance as a centre for both the India-China trade and the entrepôt trade in Southeast Asia, rapidly becoming a major port city.

By the 1870s, Singapore businessmen had considerable interest in the rubber, tin, gambier, and other products and resources of the Malay Peninsula. Conditions in the peninsula were highly unstable, marked by fighting between immigrants and traditional Malay authorities and rivalry among various Chinese secret societies. Singapore served as an entrepôt for the resources of the Malay Peninsula and, at the same time, the port of debarcation for thousands of immigrant Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, and Malays bound for the tin mines and rubber plantations to the north.

The booming economy in the British Colony provided the right opportunities for the young Ludovico Cordeiro to find a job. He changed his citizenship to become a British citizen and with the help of the Eurasian community, quickly established himself. This is ascertained by numerous references to him in books and newspaper articles, some of which can be found under Articles and Recollections.

The history of this cultural group is preserved and represented at the Eurasian Association Singapore (formed in 1919) and an exhibition of the contributions by the Eurasians is available as a virtual tour. Further information about the Eurasians in Singapore is also available in the following informative article titled The Singapore Eurasians - The Inheritors of Western and Asian Cultures by Lam Pin Foo.


Wikipedia History of Singapore
Wikipedia Stamford Raffles
Country Studies, Federal Research Div, Library of Congress, US
The Singapore Eurasians - The Inheritors of Western and Asian Cultures