Raffles, Sir Thomas Stamford


Raffles, Sir Thomas Stamford
(1781–1826)
   As a scholar, colonial administrator, and founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles played an important role in creating the British Empire in the Far East. While serving with the East India Company in Penang, Raffles came to the attention of Lord Minto, governor-general of India, owing to his expertise in local history, language and culture, and was asked to participate in an expedition to take Java from the Dutch in 1811. Raffles later served as lieutenant governor of Java from 1811–1816, where he concentrated on reforming local administration, taxes, and land tenure.
   In 1817, he was knighted and returned to Asia as lieutenant governor of Bencoolen, a small port in western Sumatra. The following year he convinced his superiors to authorize a new British settlement at the southeastern end of the Malacca Straits to ensure British access to vital trade routes. Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819, signed treaties with local rulers placing them under British protection, and over the next several years was instrumental in turning it into a major British port. Two years before his death, Raffles retired from colonial service and returned to England where he helped found the London Zoo and continued his career as an Asian scholar.
   FURTHER READING:
    Alatas, Syed Hussein. Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1781–1826: Schemer or Reformer? Singapore: Angus and Robinson, 1971;
    Collis, Maurice. Raffles. London: Century, 1988;
    Stewart, R.M.J. “Raffles of Singapore: The Man and the Legacy.” Asian Affairs 13 (1982): 16–27.
   KENNETH J. OROSZ

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Raffles,Sir Thomas Stamford — Raf·fles (răfʹəlz), Sir Thomas Stamford. 1781 1826. British colonial administrator who acquired Singapore for the East India Company (1819) and founded a settlement there. * * * …   Universalium

  • Raffles, Sir (Thomas) Stamford — born July 6, 1781, at sea off Port Morant, Jam. died July 5, 1826, London, Eng. Administrator in the British East India Company and founder of Singapore. He joined the British East India Company at age 14, and his hard work won him an appointment …   Universalium

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  • RAFFLES, SIR THOMAS STAMFORD —    English administrator, born in Jamaica; entered the East India Company s service, and rose in it; became Governor of Java, and wrote a history of it; held afterwards an important post in Sumatra, and formed a settlement at Singapore; returned… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Sir Thomas Raffles — noun British colonial administrator who founded Singapore (1781 1826) • Syn: ↑Raffles, ↑Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles • Instance Hypernyms: ↑administrator, ↑executive …   Useful english dictionary

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